iPhone 5S Review

In the past my reviews have ranged depending the time I had with the object; my iPad Mini review was taken 1 week after I had received the product and therefore it was not the best representation of my opinions. However I have come to the conclusion that about 2-3 weeks is the sweet spot for a usage period. I have had my iPhone since October 1st (so about 1 month now) and I must say I am in love with this elegant yet powerful device!


Design

The iPhone 5S is gorgeous! In fact every iPhone starting with the iPhone 4 have been amazing devices that lead the industry in design. What hit me first was the metal finish with the chamfered edges. There is no doubt about it, whether you have silver, gold, or space grey (like myself) you have a gorgeous device. The next thing that I noticed is how small the device is; Apple only has a 4inch screen, which I am fine with, but while having a display that is a full inch thinner than it's competitors the iPhone still manages to stay thin and light. The phone feels great in the hand, even with a case. However the design is not perfect; Apple continuously sacrifices build integrity for build quality. I was really disappointed that I had to protect this phone in a case instead of looking at it in all of its beauty. The iPhone 5S may look absolutely beautiful, but it no can see it from under my case.


Features


Processor

First lets talk about the most important tech spec for this phone, the new A7 64-bit processor! The A7 is a powerhouse and it is so powerful that it is also inside the new "iPad Air" and "iPad Mini With Retina Display." I must say that there is not an app in existence that is complicated enough to even make this phone stutter. I am coming from an A5 so its a big jump, and I must say it creates a great experience for the user to know that they have the power to use any app available, at an incredible speed. Next is the M7 coprocessor, the M7 is basically a super underpowered little chip that is used for simple motion monitoring tasks that do not require a lot of battery; thus saving you battery life! I do not use a lot of fitness apps but one that I would like to highlight is Pedometer++, it takes full advantage of the M7 processor to track my steps all the time. Many more apps use the M7, which is also prevalent in the new iPads, among them is Nike's fuelband companion. 


Camera

Now I want to discuss the camera, the 8mp iSight camera is updated on the iPhone 5S. iPhones have always had great cameras and even though the 5S only has an 8mp camera it is still one of the best. The pixels are bigger and capture more light so that low light performance is great. The aperture has also been improved to a f 2.4 rather than 2.0; this gives your a pictures a better depth of field and makes you pictures look a little more professional  I never worry about taking a video or picture with my iPhone. The camera is not only fast, its spot on and has generally great performance. Some of the new features added to the camera in addition to the new sensor include burst shot and slow motion video. Burst shot takes pictures at 10 images a second, so if you have a moving target you can get the perfect shot. Amazingly no quality is lost in these images and the only draw back is that you can not use HDR in burst shot. I have found it to be great for getting pictures of my dog. The other amazing addition to the iPhone is 720p slow motion video. I love this feature and it is my favorite addition to the 5S if not my favorite iOS feature of all time. This has to be one of the most fun parts of the iPhone 5S, I have taken quite a few slow motion shots and they are to the right. There is no doubt about it, the camera is the showcase feature for the iPhone 5S.



Touch ID

The other feature that will stand out to you is the fingerprint scanner. No, it is not
a necessary addition, but it is convenient. Personally I use it for iTunes purchases to save me the time of typing in my long password, and to unlock my device when my other hand is holding things. I would love to see Apple do more with the sensor, as of right now you can only use the fingerprint sensor to unlock straight to the home screen. It would be nice if you could unlock to a certain app if you get a notification or possibly open passbook when it would be useful.

The Screen

The iPhone 5 featured a new retina display that was not only bigger than the past model it was also brighter and had better color reproduction. With 326ppi there is nothing new about the screen in the iPhone 5S, but I will say that the retina display is as great as ever. With such a high ppi I am able to keep the phone on 50% brightness while still being satisfied with the light levels. The screen is the most important part of any tech gadget and the iPhone's is perfect!

Speakers

If you look at my past reviews you know that I do not ask for much in a speaker, I don't need Dolby surround sound just a exceptionally loud speaker without that cracking static noise. I have had four Apple products with speakers to date (not including this phone) and only two devices have had speakers that were good enough for me to enjoy them. Those devices are the iPad Mini, which featured two loud stereo speaker grills, and the iPod touch 5th generation, which had one large and powerful speaker grill. Luckily the iPhone 5S will be the third device to pass the speaker test! The iPhone 5S has two speaker grills on the bottom (the right side is larger than the left), however it is not stereo sound. In fact the speaker is actually located on the right and the left side just gives the speaker more room to push out sound, so if you cover the right side you really cripple the sound. Nevertheless the speaker is loud, has exceptional sound reproduction, and does not have the annoying clicking noise I hate in my MacBook Air.


Battery Life

This has to be one of the most controversial aspects of the iPhone is it's battery life. I have my auto brightness off, my display on 50%, LTE and Wifi on, bluetooth off, and I multitask all day yet I still get a full day out of this phone on average-heavy usage. Obviously this amount of battery life is very dependent on many factors including how long I have had the product. It is no secret that an iOS device's battery life deteriorates a little after about 2-3 year and after about 5 or 6 years it is almost impossible to hold a charge all day. However, at the current time and in the foreseeable future my iPhone has battery life that is just fine.


Cellular Data

Finally there are the new LTE bands. One of the features I was not expecting on my iPhone 5S is great cellular data. With 13 LTE bands I have LTE almost anywhere I go on Verizon's network and its really convenient. What really surprised me was the consumption of data, it seems like the iPhone 5S is not only good at receiving signals it is also great at conserving the amount of data used. I have been able to do a lot more with my 1GB of data than what I could do with my Galaxy Nexus.

Software

The iPhone 5S runs iOS 7, as expected, and I am a little disappointed by the feedback from the public for this OS. iOS 7 is an incredibly functional software release with some great design changes as well. I understand the design is not everyone's favorite but I highly encourage anyone to update if only for the functional use of the OS. So rather than getting into a debate over the best phone OS and outline all the features of iOS 7 I would like to talk about iOS 7's integration with my iPhone. I love the lack of bloats are from Verizon. The only changes you will really see from the austintacious cellular company are the Verizon name in the top left of the status bar and the cellular/voice/texting settings, which are well hidden away. The last topic I want to talk about relating to software is the feature integration; whether you agree with Apple's platform or not you must admit that the fact that Apple makes both hardware and software creates a seamless experience for the user. The iPhone 5S has a lot of new features such as a slow motion camera and a 64 bit processor, and iOS 7 supports all of it!


The Apps

The most important parts of any OS is the app market associated with it. Apple's app store is not necessarily the cheapest but it is definitely the largest depository of amazing apps. My first smartphone like device was an iPod Touch so I was invested in the App Store since my first device and in my opinion no other app store is nearly as good! I have tons of games, media consumption, and even media creation tools on this phone and iOS is the only place where I can find all of the apps I am looking for!

Conclusion

I love my iPhone, make no doubt about it. It was no surprise that the iPhone 5S was going to be the best iPhone yet so I was expecting nothing less than an amazing device. I feel that iOS 7 is a great operating system with the apps I need to get me through the day. Apple does an amazing job with hardware that just makes you want to buy their products and the 5S is no exception. The iPhone looks great, performs beyond expectations, and is almost future proofed for a couple of years. My only complaint is that the iPhone 5S is so fragile so I will probably be keeping it in my case for the foreseeable future.

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