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iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5 head to head review

Wed Oct 30 2013, 09:15

Software and apps
The iPhone 5S ships with Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 7, but iPhone 5 owners can also upgrade to the latest OS for free. This update has been heralded by many as a flat design due to the lack of texture on app icons, the bare-bones fonts and the minimalistic menus.


While there have been many criticisms and complaints about iOS 7, the latest mobile operating system does bring a few handy additions, such as the new Control Center, which can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen to get quick access to basic functions, including turning WiFi on and off or setting the phone to Do Not Disturb. There's also a new Airdrop feature for easy sharing of content with other iOS 7 users.

But while all the above are available on the latest and older handsets, Apple has thrown in an extra exclusive to iPhone 5S owners. The firm is offering its five core productivity and multimedia apps free with the iPhone 5S, which means a saving of £26.95. These include document app Pages, spreadsheet app Numbers and presentation app Keynote, all normally priced at £6.99, and video production app iMovie and photography app iPhoto, which normally cost £2.99 each.

The free iWork and multimedia bundle gives another advantage with the iPhone 5S for business users, as the apps store content in iCloud, meaning workers can access their spreadsheets or presentations across any Apple desktop or mobile device.

Winner: Draw (the iPhone 5S would nudge it for the free iWork bundle, but the iPhone 5 gets a mark up for those who hate iOS 7 and are still using iOS 6 on their older handset)

Battery and storage
Apple quotes up to 10 hours of talk time over 3G, online use over WiFi or video playback for the iPhone 5S, compared with eight hours of talk time or browsing over a mobile network, and up to 10 hours of video playback for the iPhone 5, both on unspecified batteries.

With both devices at full charge and set to full brightness, we downloaded a 725MB two-hour long programme from BBC iPlayer. This process took nine percent of the iPhone 5's battery compared to five percent from the iPhone 5S' capacity. We managed to play the video on a loop for 4.5 hours on the iPhone 5 before it ran out of juice; at this point, the iPhone 5S still had 14 percent of battery left. While there's a definite improvement with the latest model, you'll still find yourself needing to recharge each evening with medium to heavy use.

Both models come in 16GB/32GB/64GB storage options, but you'll be paying more for that extra battery on the iPhone 5S. The cheapest iPhone 5S is priced at £549, while the iPhone 5 was available at £529. The 64GB version will set you back £709 SIM-free, compared with £699 for the same size iPhone 5. However, as Apple no longer sells the iPhone 5, the pricing here won't be relevant as you'll be choosing whether to upgrade from your iPhone 5 to the iPhone 5S, rather than deciding which of the two to purchase.

For those wanting to upgrade, we hope you're not in a major hurry to get your hands on one of these premium models, as Apple is currently quoting a shipping time of two to three weeks.

Winner: iPhone 5S

Overall winner: iPhone 5S

While the iPhone 5S isn't radically different than the iPhone 5, it's a definite improvement regarding the camera, security and battery life. So for those using your iPhone for work purposes and as a camera replacement, we'd say it's worth an upgrade as early as possible. For anyone else, the updates aren't vital enough to merit rushing to upgrade and we'd instead suggest waiting until the next iPhone is out as this will likely offer a broader range of improvements. µ


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