Apple’s best yet: iPhone 5S reviewed

Apple’s improvement to the iOS operating system is another pivotal part of the package, and it’s really in iOS 7 that we’re seeing the look and feel of Apple change to something more modern.

Gone are the touches that make it like you’re using an older piece of tech, graphical touches that emulate the imagery of older devices in a field called skeuomorphism.

Rather, everything in iOS 7 is large, easy to read, with a feeling that this is the future and we’re glad to have you a part of it.

Big and clear: the look of apps in iOS 7.

Coming from an Android background, it’s easy to see why people are making connections with what Android OS and Apple’s iOS 7 are doing, but it feels also like this is the way mobile operating systems are evolving.

For instance, elements like the task manager both use swipe gestures to close currently running apps, while the drop-down notification bar and swipe-up power control are things Android has had for years.

The flatness and bold colours are also things both Android and Windows Phone 7 and 8 each have, and with iOS joining these operating systems, it’s suggestive that the designers aren’t so much borrowing, but realising that this is the way forward.

Overall, iOS 7 greets the iPhone 5S with an uncluttered look that is easy on the eyes, and because it feels more like a reinvention of the platform, also helps to make the iPhone 5S just that much better.

One area on the iPhone 5S that has many hoping for an improvement on its predecessor is that of the battery.

We’re delighted to say that this phone manages a full day of life for us plus a little more, and that was while listening to music, downloading files, surfing the web, making phone calls, playing the odd game, social networking, and doing a little mapping.

Power users might have to take a recharge in the day, but generally, a full day should be possible from this phone.

That’s not the best performance on a 4G phone, mind you, but with a 4 inch screen, we know there isn’t a massive battery here, and that’s part of why the battery can’t be as impressive as the HTC One or Galaxy S4.

Still though, a day of life isn’t bad for an iPhone on LTE, especially when so many people complained about its predecessor barely pulling in that.

You might look at that result and see it as a negative, but really it’s not, and there aren’t many negatives about the iPhone 5S.

The Apple iPhone 5S against the Apple iPhone 5C. Similar, and yet different.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Apple tends to be a perfectionist, making sure everything is spot on, iron clad, and brilliant before it makes its way to a tightly constructed box with immaculate printing.

As such, the only things that are bad about the iPhone 5S are the things that Apple seems to have missed or excluded when designing this handset.

Features like Near-Field Communication aren’t here, so there will be no quick and easy device pairing for you, and you’ll have to put those headphones, speakers, and other NFC-capable gadgets into Bluetooth pairing mode before you can link the iPhone 5 to them.

Support for wireless 802.11ac is also missing in action, even though Apple has already started using it in other products, including those released in the MacBook Air range and the just updated iMac all-in-one desktops.

And while the 4G LTE connectivity on the iPhone 5 pretty much runs the gamut of what’s required, it still lacks support for Category 4 connections.

There’s nothing wrong with Category 3 LTE at all, mind you, and we managed speeds as high as 75Mbps with the iPhone 5S, but given that this device is supposed to last people one or two years, we would have liked to see Apple push into this new area ahead of everyone else and offer 150Mbps speeds.

The Apple iPhone 5S against the Samsung Galaxy S4. The S4 has 802.11ac.

The omission of these parts doesn’t dampen the iPhone 5S, mind you, and it’s still a brilliant piece of technology, and easily one of the best smartphones out there.

But for a product that calls itself (at least in the marketing copy) “the most forward thinking smartphone,” you have to wonder why features that are present in other top tier competitors – 802.11ac in the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, and Cat4 in Huawei’s Ascend P2, among others coming shortly – aren’t in this “forward thinking” device.


While it’s not the upgrade that many wanted or expected, the iPhone 5S is the best iPhone Apple has made yet, evolving the platform just enough to keep it a leading device with solid features.

Beautiful screen, excellent design, fantastic speeds and performance; these are the primary things we look for in a smartphone, and they’re all here in this device, as well as a couple of new features that will truly show their worth in the coming months.

It won’t please everyone, mind you, and anyone who desires a big screen or support for more wireless protocols will want to look elsewhere, and that’s totally fine as there are plenty of excellent choices.

But if you live and breathe an iLife, Apple’s iPhone 5S is the best phone for you.


Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Still the same lovely design as before; Performs very well; Fingerprint scanner is great for unlocking the phone and buying apps; 4G connection is very fast; Feels great in the hand;
No NFC; No 802.11ac; True Tone flash is versatile, but doesn't dampen flash colour as much you expect;