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Review roundup: iPhone 5s with iOS 7 best smartphone available, 5c offers well-built alternative

post #1 of 109
Thread Starter 
With Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c scheduled to hit the market on Friday, reviews for the two devices are being published to the Web by all major news outlets and the initial impressions are largely positive.

iphone-5s-features-20130910.jpg


AnandTech



AnandTech's Anand Shimpi offered perhaps the most in-depth look at both handsets. In his usual meticulous style, Shimpi describes the iPhone 5s as "quite possibly the biggest S-update we've ever seen from Apple." His take on the A7 SoC is especially telling, as it breaks down performance stats as well as an explanation of the architecture in minute detail.

The handset's camera is more of an "evolutionary" change from the unit on the iPhone 5, though there are marked enhancements in low light performance and an "excellent auto mode."

Touch ID was well implemented and Shimpi found he missed the feature when moving to the iPhone 5c.

As for the plastic-backed iPhone, Shimpi found the unit to be the "perfect replacement" for the iPhone 5, offering performance on par with the last-generation handset in a solidly constructed package. Interestingly, the 5c's display performed better in some tests than the iPhone 5s, with good contrast and color fidelity.

AllThingsD



Walt Mossberg gives a condensed summary of his time with the iPhone 5s, touting the Touch ID fingerprint sensor as one of the phone's highlights.

"It sounds like a gimmick, but it?s a real advance, the biggest step ever in biometric authentication for everyday devices," Mossberg said.

He went on to say that iOS 7 is a "big improvement" over iOS 6, with too many new features to list. The Siri virtual assistant is more accurate and useful than before, with new voices and hooks into assets like Bing.

Mossberg's biggest complaint was the lack of change to the keyboard, as well as Apple's reluctance to allow the installation of third-party solutions as does Android.

For the iPhone 5c, Lauren Goode calls the unit a solid, premium phone. She notes the internals are largely carried over from the iPhone 5, with added improvements to LTE capabilities and minor hardware buffs like a larger front-facing camera sensor.

Goode also points out colors on the 5c's display are slightly warmer than the 5s.

While Apple has not yet disclosed the handset's battery capacity, the publication found that it lasted a bit longer under normal use when compared to similar tests on the iPhone 5.

Engadget



Engadget was one of the first to put up their review of the top-end iPhone 5s once the embargo lifted on Tuesday. The publication found the handset's hardware, or more specifically the A7 SoC and camera, to be top notch. With its 64-bit architecture, the A7 may prove to be a game changer if developers get on board with software that takes advantage of the chip.

For the iPhone 5c, the publication found the handset to be "more than just the sum of its parts," noting high build quality that pairs well with the carried over equipment from the iPhone 5. The real player here is iOS 7, which delivers a great experience when combined with the colorful 5c hardware. Because no major changes were made to the phone's camera, it was found somewhat lacking. Also a bone of contention was the size of the display, which remains unchanged from the iPhone 5.

TechCrunch



Darrell Etherington from TechCrunch said in his review that with the iPhone 5s, "Apple once again wins the right to claim the title of best smartphone available." The looks may not be different from the iPhone 5, but the internal components have a dramatic impact on day-to-day activities normal for a smartphone user. Of note, Etherington goes into detail regarding the 5s' various camera modes and improved hardware spec sheet. Touch ID is also a seamless experience that is well implemented. The A7 processor is designed for future applications, and should reach full potential down the road.

The 5c's greatest asset is arguably its new design, Etherington said. Apple's engineering gives the handset a premium feel, though not much has changed internally. Overall, the unit is a slight improvement on the iPhone 5, which Etherington believes would be the best smartphone around if Apple hadn't announced the 5s.

The Loop



Jim Dalrymple took a look at both models in his writeup, saying the 5s is for those who need to have the latest and greatest, while the 5c is targeted to Android switchers and budget-minded buyers. Once again, the Touch ID feature of the iPhone 5s wowed, removing the burden of having to type in a passcode every time the phone is unlocked.

"The fingerprint sensor took all of that pain away. I still have the security I was looking for, but none of the frustration," Dalrymple writes.

Further commentary was provided on the camera upgrades, which were found to be good for every day users. Especially impressive was iOS 7's Camera app, which adds new levels of functionality with slow motion video and burst mode still image capture, among other features. Also mentioned was the A7 SoC architecture, which gives a speed boost to daily operations.

For the 5c, Dalrymple notes good build quality as one of the most outstanding features of the phone. He was impressed with Apple's ability to not only bring a lower end iPhone to market without sacrificing functionality, but actually adding features for less money.

Other notable reviews



CNET gave the iPhone 5s four out of five stars.

The New York Times' David Pogue found the new iPhones to be light on hardware advancements aside from the standout Touch ID fingerprint sensor and update camera in the 5s, but noted iOS 7 is a dramatic change for the better.

Both the iPhone 5s and 5c will be available to purchase on Friday, with the polycarbonate model already up for preorders on Apple's website, as well as those of partner carriers.
post #2 of 109
Siri is definitely improved, I agree with Mossberg. I have the leaked GM copy on my ipad and Siri has had no delays, and she/it handles tasks and requests with ease. Siri may become my favorite feature of ios 7...and this coming from someone who had given up on Siri!
post #3 of 109
So which review said the 5S was the best smartphone available? I'm curious to know who wrote that. Seems like overall both phones are getting good reviews. No surprise that some of the pro android sites are complaining about the display size. 1rolleyes.gif
post #4 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

 No surprise that some of the pro android sites are complaining about the display size. 1rolleyes.gif

Those poor people cannot afford ipad mini or regular ipad! What can we do about those whiners :lol:

post #5 of 109

I agree with AnandTech in describing 'the iPhone 5s as "quite possibly the biggest S-update we've ever seen from Apple."' In previous years, the new phone would have been worthy of a new model number. However, with analysts inane obsession with bigger screens, appearance and lower prices, Apple was this year severely constrained. The upgrade to the camera system will prove significant, the fingerprint sensor, if reliable, revolutionary and the A7/M7 duo enormously enabling, as witnessed in the camera's new capabilities. This phone could have been the iPhone 6.

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post #6 of 109
5s is a game changer that's for sure. I can't wait to get mine, but I'm hoping there will at least be enough in stock at my local Apple store Friday.
post #7 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post

5s is a game changer that's for sure. I can't wait to get mine, but I'm hoping there will at least be enough in stock at my local Apple store Friday.

 

Let us know about your experience. :)

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post #8 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by IQatEdo View Post

Let us know about your experience. 1smile.gif

I'm going to stand in line Thursday night into Friday.

I plan on getting a space gray model! I'll post pics IF I can get one before they sell out!
post #9 of 109

Anandtech's review was great.

 

It kinda brings a smile to my face knowing that all over the world fandroids are crying that Apple has the fastest mobile processor in the world by a wide margin. Amazing that a dual core 1.3GHz processor can hold up to (and often beat) a quad core 2.2GHz processor.

 

Even more so since benchmarks have now shown there is a significant performance boost running in 64bit. I wonder where all the naysayers are going to hide now that it's proven the 64bit "marketing gimmick" has actual real-world benefits you get right now, without 4GB of RAM?

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post #10 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

For the iPhone 5c, Lauren Goode calls the unit a solid, premium phone. She notes the internals are largely carried over from the iPhone 5, with added improvements to LTE capabilities and minor hardware buffs like a larger front-facing camera sensor.
 

 

"but but but huge downgrade from iphone 5"

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post #11 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

"but but but huge downgrade from iphone 5"

As much as I dislike plastic I'm excited to touch and feel the 5c after reading these reviews.

Multiple reviews described the material of the 5c's back panel to feel ceramic and not like plastic at all. That sounds rather unique and exciting.
post #12 of 109
Quote:
The New York Times' David Pogue found the new iPhones to be light on hardware advancements aside from the standout Touch ID fingerprint sensor and update camera in the 5s

WTF?
post #13 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by IQatEdo View Post

I agree with AnandTech in describing 'the iPhone 5s as "quite possibly the biggest S-update we've ever seen from Apple."' In previous years, the new phone would have been worthy of a new model number. However, with analysts inane obsession with bigger screens, appearance and lower prices, Apple was this year severely constrained. The upgrade to the camera system will prove significant, the fingerprint sensor, if reliable, revolutionary and the A7/M7 duo enormously enabling, as witnessed in the camera's new capabilities. This phone could have been the iPhone 6.
I still can't believe some people think the 4>4S was bigger and better upgrade than the 5>5S.
post #14 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

I still can't believe some people think the 4>4S was bigger and better upgrade than the 5>5S.

Siri was definitely a flashier more talked about feature especially with consumers than Touch ID is now.
post #15 of 109
post #16 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

TechCrunch



Darrell Etherington from TechCrunch said in his review that with the iPhone 5s, "Apple once again wins the right to claim the title of best smartphone available." The looks may not be different from the iPhone 5, but the internal components have a dramatic impact on day-to-day activities normal for a smartphone user. Of note, Etherington goes into detail regarding the 5s' various camera modes and improved hardware spec sheet. Touch ID is also a seamless experience that is well implemented. The A7 processor is designed for future applications, and should reach full potential down the road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

So which review said the 5S was the best smartphone available? I'm curious to know who wrote that. Seems like overall both phones are getting good reviews. No surprise that some of the pro android sites are complaining about the display size. 1rolleyes.gif

should be TechCrunch which i quoted above...
post #17 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

So which review said the 5S was the best smartphone available? I'm curious to know who wrote that. Seems like overall both phones are getting good reviews. No surprise that some of the pro android sites are complaining about the display size. 1rolleyes.gif

 

Mossberg, last sentence: "Overall, however, the new iPhone 5s is a delight. Its hardware and software make it the best smartphone on the market."

 

Ed Baig, headline: "The iPhone 5s makes the best smartphone even better."

 

Techcrunch: "With the iPhone 5s, Apple once again wins the right to claim the title of best smartphone available."

 

all the rest praise the 5s too. everyone lauds the convenience of Touch ID and already miss not having it otherwise. all agree the camera takes really good low light pix with Dual LED, the slow mo is fun and the burst mode (10 second 999 pix max i learned) is very impressive. they all observe that the 64 bit A7 chip and M7 chip have tremendous potential for important new apps in the future. they all note that battery life is improved too. they all like the many improvements in iOS 7.

 

most called the 5s future-ready, with the full potential of these major technical - dare i say? - "innovations" yet to be fully realized.

 

on the other hand, most wish the screen was bigger even while acknowledging the smaller size is easier to handle. otherwise there is a wide range of nit-picks and pet peeves.

 

none of the reviews are negative. all 4-5 stars.

 

then the comments of course are filled with android fan people calling the reviewers whores, idiots, paid off, sheep, etc etc. ah, i love the smell of desperate fear in the evening.

post #18 of 109
Bigger screen would be nice but I wasn't expecting it this year. For me a phablet is not about eliminating the need to upgrade my iPads, it's about an all in 1 away from home device
post #19 of 109
No mention of NFC? Bwasaaaa.

Is anyone really surprised by the reviews? Apple doesn't release crap hardware.
post #20 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Everett Ruess View Post

Bigger screen would be nice but I wasn't expecting it this year. For me a phablet is not about eliminating the need to upgrade my iPads, it's about an all in 1 away from home device

 

exactly. for a smartphone/camera, i want small and handy. for surfing and laid back stuff, i'll get the retina Mini when it is released, next month i hope. it's about having two right tools for two different jobs, not one compromise tool in between both.

post #21 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post


As much as I dislike plastic I'm excited to touch and feel the 5c after reading these reviews.

Multiple reviews described the material of the 5c's back panel to feel ceramic and not like plastic at all. That sounds rather unique and exciting.

 

Sure it may be plastic, but I think where Apple really improved on the "cheap plastic" dogma was the addition of the steel frame/antenna design that really gives the phone strength and rigidity that none of the plastic android junk has been able to do.


I guess we'll know how Samsung is going to design its next plastic phone.
post #22 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

Mossberg, last sentence: "Overall, however, the new iPhone 5s is a delight. Its hardware and software make it the best smartphone on the market."

Ed Baig, headline: "The iPhone 5s makes the best smartphone even better."

Techcrunch: "
With the iPhone 5s, Apple once again wins the right to claim the title of best smartphone available."
all the rest praise the 5s too. everyone lauds the convenience of Touch ID and already miss not having it otherwise. all agree the camera takes really good low light pix with Dual LED, the slow mo is fun and the burst mode (10 second 999 pix max i learned) is very impressive. they all observe that the 64 bit A7 chip and M7 chip have tremendous potential for important new apps in the future. they all note that battery life is improved too. they all like the many improvements in iOS 7.
most called the 5s future-ready, with the full potential of these major technical - dare i say? - "innovations" yet to be fully realized.
on the other hand, most wish the screen was bigger even while acknowledging the smaller size is easier to handle. otherwise there is a wide range of nit-picks and pet peeves.
none of the reviews are negative. all 4-5 stars.
then the comments of course are filled with android fan people calling the reviewers whores, idiots, paid off, sheep, etc etc. ah, i love the smell of desperate fear in the evening.
To be honest I didn't expect anything less than a 4. But some of the 5's surprise me, if only because the media seems to be so anti-Apple these days. Obviously iOS 7 isn't the disaster some were predicting because if it was the phones wouldn't be getting such positive reviews.
post #23 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

No mention of NFC? Bwasaaaa.

Is anyone really surprised by the reviews? Apple doesn't release crap hardware.
I'm not due for a new iPhone but these reviews are making me super excited about the 5th gen iPad. Can't wait to get my hands on that sucker. My 3rd gen is starting to feel a bit sluggish.
post #24 of 109
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post
Siri was definitely a… …more talked about feature

 

Well… yeah. ;)

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #25 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

No mention of NFC? Bwasaaaa.

Is anyone really surprised by the reviews? Apple doesn't release crap hardware.

 

a few mention NFC as an aside. but i think everyone is finally realizing it's a dead end, while Apple is on the right track with iBeacon, Touch ID, and Pass Book. you know Apple will make sure they all work together seamlessly too. meanwhile Google is flopping around like a fish out of water trying to get Google Wallet into the mainstream. even the telcos are sabotaging them.

post #26 of 109

I like how everyone is still swallowing the kool-aid (even Dalrymple) and parroting all this stuff about the 5c being "low end" or "budget" or "cheap" etc. when it's simply not at all.  It's as if they are saying all the things they were prepared to say when they thought it was going to be a mid-range device, even though it's turned out to be the same price as their previous "sell last year's phone" strategy.  

 

The iPhone 5c is last years phone in a new dress and it's still over $500.  It's not cheap, it's not even "mid-range."  It's the second best smartphone available and it's the second most expensive one available also.  I think it's a great device and it will drive more sales for Apple in the upper middle classes of the rich countries of the world, but to refer to it as a "budget" or cheap device is just wrong and stupid IMO.  Let's be real about what it is at least. 

post #27 of 109
post #28 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

a few mention NFC as an aside. but i think everyone is finally realizing it's a dead end, while Apple is on the right track with iBeacon, Touch ID, and Pass Book. you know Apple will make sure they all work together seamlessly too. meanwhile Google is flopping around like a fish out of water trying to get Google Wallet into the mainstream. even the telcos are sabotaging them.

and also with the recent news of Google getting Bump app... looks like NFC will not flourish as many Android fans thought so...
post #29 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Leave to Businessweek to spoil the fun. 1rolleyes.gif

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-09-17/meet-the-new-iphones-same-as-the-old-iphones-rich-jaroslovsky

 

gol, what a weasel this guy is.

 

on the one hand he writes: "With its ease of use, enormous wealth of high-quality apps and content and well-integrated online services, the iPhone still provides the best overall user experience of any smartphone." and goes on to note the very good new features. but then he wraps up: "There’s nothing wrong with either phone. But there’s not much that’s pulse-quickening about them either."

 

go figure.

post #30 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

No mention of NFC? Bwasaaaa.

Is anyone really surprised by the reviews? Apple doesn't release crap hardware.

 

NFC? It's one of the those many stray arrows stuck on the wall. Way off in the corner. Waaaay off.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #31 of 109

ok, looking at the reviews i can see already the dog lovers of the world love the new 5s slow mo. and you know the unbearably cute kittens can't be far behind. get ready for an eternal avalanche of 10 second pet clips in your inbox. thank god babies already move slow.

post #32 of 109
I absolutely LOVE how everyone seems to be surprised by and praising - of all things - the 5c *build quality*.

Even though it's secretly a craptastic, cheap plastic, race-to-the-bottom, C-stands-for-Cheap, super high margin, C-stands-for-Con designed for Sheeple, racially-stereotyped/color-crazed Chinese hipsters and preteen girls who prefer shiny colors over quality. /s

Guess maybe assuming plastic means low quality was jumping the gun just a little...?
post #33 of 109

I just saw an ad for the Moto X in different color cases, or something... jeez, they didn't even wait for the paint to dry. Sure, Apple didn't invent colors, but still.

 

These are great phones, and I believe the 5s upgrade is much more substantial than most 's' upgrades. Can't wait to see what a 6 looks like.

 

I look forward to seeing how everything sells. In the mean time, doesn't iOS7 come out tomorrow? 

post #34 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

thank god babies already move slow.

Most hilarious iPhone-related comment of the day.
post #35 of 109
I am absolutely positively certain that Larry and The L Team, Microsoft, and all others have purchased a number of 5C and 5S, sitting in their rooms, looking at it wondering what the heck happened!

Of course, some with screwdrivers busy trying to open it up and see what's inside! Am I right, Samsung? ROFLMAO

....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

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....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

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post #36 of 109
The best review for me is Anandtech.com's, exhaustive benchmarks and tech insight, like the "benefits of 64bit" question, (its also exhausting to read, a lot of techie details).
post #37 of 109

What Dan Riccio (Apple senior VP hardware engineering) said:  "The technology within Touch ID is some of the most advanced hardware and software we've put in any device."

 

What Dan Riccio was thinking: "Daaah da-da-dum.  Da-dum.  Da-dum.  U can't touch this!  Break it down now!"

 

 

 

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post #38 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post

I'm going to stand in line Thursday night into Friday.

I plan on getting a space gray model! I'll post pics IF I can get one before they sell out!

I wish you good luck and will be looking forward to your comments once you got yours!
post #39 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

I like how everyone is still swallowing the kool-aid (even Dalrymple) and parroting all this stuff about the 5c being "low end" or "budget" or "cheap" etc. when it's simply not at all.  It's as if they are saying all the things they were prepared to say when they thought it was going to be a mid-range device, even though it's turned out to be the same price as their previous "sell last year's phone" strategy.  

The iPhone 5c is last years phone in a new dress and it's still over $500.  It's not cheap, it's not even "mid-range."  It's the second best smartphone available and it's the second most expensive one available also.  I think it's a great device and it will drive more sales for Apple in the upper middle classes of the rich countries of the world, but to refer to it as a "budget" or cheap device is just wrong and stupid IMO.  Let's be real about what it is at least. 
Apple has NOT ONCE said the 5C is a budget phone . EVER!
post #40 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinkerTenor View Post

I absolutely LOVE how everyone seems to be surprised by and praising - of all things - the 5c *build quality*.

Even though it's secretly a craptastic, cheap plastic, race-to-the-bottom, C-stands-for-Cheap, super high margin, C-stands-for-Con designed for Sheeple, racially-stereotyped/color-crazed Chinese hipsters and preteen girls who prefer shiny colors over quality. /s

Guess maybe assuming plastic means low quality was jumping the gun just a little...?

Well the plastic on the 5c doesn't feel cheap like the light, flimsy Samsung plastic. I held both and you instantly feel the difference
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