When Apple came out with its iphone 4s in late 2011, it sparked a furor of sorts owing to the almost unchanged design and form factor and just a handful of changes overall. Many didn’t see the point in tweaking around with an existing model, leaving it all but unchanged, suffixing an S and rebranding it as an entirely new, highly priced Smartphone. Nevertheless, for most part, that is what has been done with the new iphone 5S. The form of the phone is practically the same as that of the iphone 5 albeit for a few miniscule changes. It even weighs the same 112 grams! The mentionable improvements, namely the fingerprint scanner, better processor and camera are all on the inside and definitely warrant commendation or at least, a looking into.
The first difference from its predecessors that one is likely to notice in this phone is the absence of the traditional “home button”. Over the years, these have become an iconic part of the iphone canon and are often cited as being “revolutionary” and “unique”. In the 5s, the home screen button dispenses with its square shape and assumes a more rounded form with a ring on the exterior: this is to accommodate the new Touch ID technology, more on which will be detailed subsequently. On the con side, the handset feels a little pointy whilst making calls, thanks to the sharper edges. There are two new colors on offer: champagne and space grey; this is a welcome addition as the constant chipping and visual deterioration of the edges was quite a concern among the users of the 4s and 5. All in all, maintaining their track record of assembling visual spectacles, Apple has, in 5s, created a phone that is stunning to behold and comfortable to hold.
The most revolutionary piece of technology in this device is the “Touch ID” fingerprint scanning system. While fingerprint scanners are generally looked down upon with a certain level of disdain owing to their usually cumbersome blockiness, it is safe to say that Apple has created an amazingly functional and future-proof feature here. As previously mentioned, the fingerprint scanner is located in the home button and stores its data directly in the processor (therefore, one needn’t worry about one’s access prints being made public). The functioning is smooth and effectively overrides the need to enter one’s password a million times a day, in order to maintain security. The feature is an absolute joy to use and augurs as a very potent sign for Apple’s future products.
The 5s houses the fastest and most powerful processor seen in an iphone yet: it comes with an A7, 64 bit chip: what this means is that, in any benchmark test, it scores just about twice as much as the 4s or the 5. While the 1 GB ram means that this break-neck performance won’t translate to much for the average user, it does mean faster running of graphic/data heavy applications and the camera for instance. Also, it enables the effortless running of the Touch ID feature. The performance of this handset is definitely phenomenal and is a point the device’s favor.
The display is one area where the 5s is bound to disappoint. Not to say that the 4 inch screen is sub standard: It comes with the brilliant retina display (1136 * 640) which is still amazingly shard at 326 DPI but as many are to notice/complain, this isn’t an upgrade from the previous models. The screen while more than adequate for any demanding function, still falls short of some of the other leading models in the market (most notably, the LG G2 and HTC One). Whilst this is bound to be viewed as a shortcoming for some, it is inevitable that some will look past it.
The 5s comes with a major improvement in terms of the camera. While most phones either tend to come with cameras that are stuffed to the brim with megapixels but not of a large size, which leads to poor low-light performance or the opposite with just 4-5 MP but brilliant range of pictures in challenging light conditions (HTC One). This handset neatly manages to pack a camera which combines the best of both the worlds. Its 8MP camera offers crisp shots but a pixel size that is 75% the size of the market leader’s ensures that it offers amazing performance in the dark as well. The camera is a major plus in this device.
This phone comes with the new IOS 7 which while isn’t path breaking, definitely offers a less crowded, more intuitive experience to the user. Marked improvements are made to the Safari browser and the “drag-down” control center (which is an android staple). The color palette is very extensive and the display is fine tuned to a large extent to accommodate this.
In conclusion, the iphone 5s is an extremely capable, and visually snazzy high-end Smartphone that is definitely the best yet from Apple. Nevertheless, the question arises as to how much does it score over its immediate android competitors: This has never been a concern for Apple in the past, when the quality of any other phone in the same category left much to be desired but in today’s market, where the other 3 top smart phones of the same segment pretty much offer a well-rounded package of similar quality at a much lower price, the new 5s, retaining its old shell and much else of the 5 doesn’t seem to justify its exorbitant price tag, at about 48,000 INR.