Apple iPhone 5S vs. Apple iPhone 5
13th Sep 2013 | 00:00
Must-have upgrade or will you decide to wait for the iPhone 6?
Apple's commitment to iterative product development suggests so. The question is: where is the 5S better? Screen? Processor? You'll find the answers in the comparison review below...
Apple iPhone 5S vs. Apple iPhone 5 - Build
At first glance, the 5S looks identical to the old iPhone 5 and, sure enough, a quick read of the spec sheet reveals that their dimensions and weight are identical - 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm and 112g.
The only physical differences are the redesigned Home button, which incorporates the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor and is surrounded by a thin stainless steel ring; and the dual LED flash (one white light, one amber light) around the back.
Where the iPhone 5 was available in two color choices - black or white, the new 5S has silver/white, 'space grey'/black and gold/white options. The gold version is either snazzy or ridiculous, depending on your point of view.
Apple iPhone 5S vs. Apple iPhone 5 - Display
The iPhone 5S and the now discontinued iPhone 5 both feature the same 4-inch Retina display with the same 640 x 1136 pixel resolution.
We've seen bigger and better - the Samsung Galaxy S4 has a 5-inch 1080 x 1920 display, while the HTC One has a 4.7-inch 1080 x 1920 screen.
But the iPhone 5S/iPhone 5 panel is still good enough for gaming, video-watching and flicking through those Jonny Ive-produced iOS 7 menus.
Apple iPhone 5S vs. Apple iPhone 5 - Camera
While both phones feature an 8 Megapixel camera on the back and a 1.2 Megapixel lens on the front, that doesn't tell the whole story.
Apple has made some improvements to the iPhone 5's camera, including adding image stabilisation, live photo filters and a new Burst mode that takes 10 shots per second and automatically suggests the best one.
Where the iPhone 5 had a bog-standard LED flash, the iPhone 5S has a dual LED (True Tone) flash to reduce the intensity of the light and help you take better photos.
Apple has also improved the image sensor, lens cover and f/2.4 aperture - the iPhone 5S camera has a 15 per cent larger sensor and an improved f/2.2 aperture to let in more light for brighter results.
Finally, the iPhone 5S can take better 1080p video too. The main 8MP camera now has a slow-motion video feature plus video stabilisation to reduce unwanted camera wobble.
The front-mounted iSight camera also features an improved backside illumination sensor (BIS) for better performance when FaceTiming in the gloom.
Apple iPhone 5S vs. Apple iPhone 5 - Connectivity
With the iPhone 5S heading for China Mobile and NTT Docomo, plus a range of different countries around the world, it supports more LTE bands than the iPhone 5.
It's the only real difference between the 5S and its predecessor. Both include 3G/HSDPA and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO support, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
There's also a version that supports the TD-LTE technology that's beginning to pop up around the world.
No NFC this time. Perhaps Apple is saving that for the iPhone 6...
Apple iPhone 5S vs. Apple iPhone 5 - Processor
New iPhones, especially flagship models, typically get a speed boost and the iPhone 5S is no different.
Where the iPhone 5 has an A6 processor, the 5S debuts Apple's 64-bit A7 chip - the first 64-bit processor to appear in a smartphone.
With over one billion transistors (twice as many as the A6), Apple claims that the A7 is twice as fast as the A6 and 40 times more powerful than the original iPhone.
The A7 also includes an M7 co-processor designed to monitor the data from the phone's accelerometer, compass and gyroscope.
This data will help future fitness apps more accurately track your movements. But in the short-term there are other benefits - the Maps app can switch to walking directions if it detects you aren't driving, while the M7 can reduce network activity if the sensor data tells it that your phone hasn't moved for some time.
Apple iPhone 5S vs. Apple iPhone 5 - Software
While the iPhone 5S comes with iOS 7 pre-installed, iPhone 5 owners can sleep safe in the knowledge that they can upgrade their phones to match.
What they won't get is the Touch ID app, which offers fingerprint security and works with the fingerprint sensor built into the iPhone 5S Home button.
Apple iPhone 5S vs. Apple iPhone 5 - Storage
The iPhone 5S takes its capacity cues from the iPhone 5, offering the same three storage options - 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.
Apple iPhone 5S vs. Apple iPhone 5 - Battery Life
In terms of battery life, the spec sheets tell us that the iPhone 5S just edges out the old iPhone 5. It's rated at 10 hours of talk time on 3G, while the iPhone 5 can only muster 8 hours.
Standby time is calculated to be 250 hours for the 5S and 225 hours for the iPhone 5. Average usage is much the same - 10 hours on LTE, up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi, up to 10 hours of video playback and up to 40 hours of audio playback.
That doesn't sound impressive until you consider that, thanks to the A7 processor, the iPhone 5S is twice as fast.
Apple iPhone 5S vs. Apple iPhone 5 - Early verdict
If you crave a new iPhone, then the 64-bit iPhone 5S is a decent upgrade.
It may not have a better screen or more storage, nor does it have a significantly superior camera or vastly improved connectivity.
But since the announcement of the iPhone 5S and the lower-spec iPhone 5C, the original iPhone 5 has disappeared from the Apple Store, never to return.
The 5S is pricey though - on a two year contract, the 16GB model will cost $199, the 32GB model $299 and the 64GB 5S $399. Ouch.