iPhone 5s full review
Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were unveiled during a special event on 9 September, meaning the iPhone 5s got a significant price cut. Potential iPhone buyers will be considering whether to opt for the cheaper iPhone 5s or the newer iPhone 6, and current iPhone 5S owners will be wondering whether it's worth upgrading. Here, we put the two iPhones head-to-head in our iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6 comparison review to help you decide.
iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: Price & availability
The iPhone 5s was released back in September 2013, so has been available to buy from Apple for about a year. At launch, it would set you back from £549, but the iPhone 5s price in the UK now starts at £459.
The iPhone 6, on the other hand, was released by Apple on 19 September. It costs £539 for a 16GB model, £619 for a 64GB model or £699 for a 128GB model.
So you'll save at least £80 if you buy the iPhone 5s, which could make all the difference. If money is your biggest concern, this is definitely an important factor to consider.
Apple seems to be struggling to meet iPhone 6 demand, though. It's believed to be the most popular of the two new smartphones, with some reports suggesting that the iPhone 6 could be selling up to six times as well as the iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has acknowledged supply-demand difficulties, stating in late October: "As of today - and certainly as of the end of the quarter, where you're looking at the data - we're not nearly balanced. We're not close. We're not on the same planet." Oops.
Data published in December highlights that the iPhone 5S is still selling well, though, and is surprisingly close to the iPhone 6 models when it comes to sales figures.
You can also read our full first look review of the Apple Watch, and our Apple Watch Release Date story, including UK pricing for the Apple Watch.
iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: Design
One of the first things you'll notice about the iPhone 6 is that it has a brand-new design. It's more rounded than the iPhone 5S, it has new and repositioned physical buttons (the lock button is now on the side of the iPhone), it's thinner and – most obviously – it's bigger.
The iPhone 5s is thin, at 7.6mm, but Apple has managed to make the iPhone 6 even slimmer, at just 6.9mm. The screen is now 4.7in compared with 4in, so that's made the iPhone 6 heavier than the iPhone 5s, at 129g compared with 112g.
Colour options for both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 are Space Grey, Silver and Gold.
There's no doubt that the iPhone 6's design is stunning. It's more sleek and smooth than the iPhone 5S with its rounded edges and full aluminium chassis, but for those who prefer a lighter, smaller smartphone the iPhone 5S is still a great-looking device with a lot going for it.
iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: Display
That aforementioned 4.7in display on the iPhone 6 offers the same 326ppi pixel density as the 4in display on the iPhone 5s, so Apple has added more pixels rather than simply stretching them to fill the bigger screen.
The iPhone 6 also has a higher contrast ratio, and dual-domain pixels that it says will help improve the viewing angles of the display.
The display and in turn the size of these two smartphones is, in our opinion, the biggest differenciator between them, and therefore is going to be the most important thing to consider when choosing which iPhone is for you. Many people still prefer the 4in display size as it means a smaller device overall. However, with rivals such as Samsung, LG, HTC, Google and Sony seeing success with their 5in+ smartphones, it's no doubt that Apple has realised that the bigger screen size is popular too.
That 4.7in display offers a better experience when playing games, watching movies and viewing photographs, of course, but some users have found it difficult to use with one hand, despite the reachability feature introduced by Apple to help with the issue. Find out more about reachability below.
iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: Processor, performance
Apple's iPhone 6 improves upon the processor and performance of the iPhone 5S. The 5S sports a 64-bit A7 chip, but an A8 chip is found in the iPhone 6. The iPhone 5s is already so powerful that a boost won't be obvious to the general iPhone user, but the iPhone 6 scored remarkably well in our benchmark tests.
The A8 processor is 13 per cent smaller than the A7, and is designed to be 50 per cent more power efficient to help with battery life. The two processors are running at a similar clock speed of around 1.2GHz, and are both paired with 1GB memory.
The iPhone 5S scored 2549 in the GeekBench 3 test compared with the better score of 2794 achieved by the iPhone 6.
The co-processor in the iPhone 6 has been given an upgrade too. The iPhone 5s has an M7 co-processor, while the iPhone 6 has an M8 co-processor that can determine whether you're walking, cycling or running, for example, and can also estimate distance and elevation.
When it comes to connectivity, both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 have 4G LTE support, though Apple has added extra support for 20 LTE bands rather than the 13 supported by the iPhone 5S.
There's also a new feature in the iPhone 6 called VoLTE (voice over LTE), which should help you make better quality calls, but you'll only get that feature on EE in the UK.
Other new connectivity features in the iPhone 6 that aren't present in the iPhone 5s include 802.11ac WiFi and NFC, which will work together with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to help Apple introduce a new Apple Pay mobile payments system that's coming to Europe next year.
iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: Storage
Then there's the matter of storage. The iPhone 5s is now only available in 16GB and 32GB options, but a 64GB model was available before the arrival of the iPhone 6.
In a bit of a strange twist on things, Apple has decided to only offer the iPhone 6 in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB models, so the addition of the 128GB model has meant the end of the 32GB option rather than the 16GB model that we expected would get ditched.
iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: Battery life
We haven't yet had a chance to test the battery life of the iPhone 6, but Apple claims that the talk time has improved from 10 hours to 14 hours for the iPhone 6. Internet use has apparently increased to 10 hours compared with 8 hours for the iPhone 5s, and there's an extra hour of video playback and an extra 10 hours of audio playback.
iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: Camera
On to the camera now, which is a tricky one because both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 have an 8Mp rear-facing iSight camera with an f/2.2 aperture and 1.5 micron pixels, though the iPhone 6 does have some tweaks and improvements.
Apple has added new 'focus pixels' to the iPhone 6, for example, which means you'll get much better autofocus. There's also digital image stabilisation and slo-mo recording.
The front-facing camera on the iPhone 6 has a better aperture: f/2.2 like the rear-facing camera. It's also designed to be better at capturing photos in low-light, and has Burst mode as well as improved face detection for those ever-popular selfies.
The improvements to the camera on the iPhone 6 aren't as impressive as we'd hoped, but it's still a stunning camera nonetheless.
iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: Software
The iPhone 5s runs iOS 8, which is the same operating system that the iPhone 6 ships with.
On the iPhone 6, though, Apple has added 'Reachability,' which helps users reach the entire screen with one hand by tapping twice on the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. This will bring whatever's on your display down to be within reach.
You can find out more about iOS 8 in our iOS 8 review
iPhone 5s: Specs
- 4.0-inch (1360 x 640-pixel, 326 ppi) capacitive multitouch IPS display
- 1.3 GHz Apple A7 dual-core 64-bit ARM SoC
- M7 motion coprocessor
- 1 GB RAM
- 16, 32 or 64 GB NAND flash storage
- dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
- accelerometer, gyroscope, compass
- Touch ID fingerprint sensor Home button
- 8Mp rear iSight camera, 1920 x 1080-pixel video, dual-LED flash
- 1.2Mp front FaceTime HD webcam
- A1457 UK model: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
- GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
- LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20)
- Lightning port
- 3x microphones
- 3.5 mm headset jack
- mono speaker
- EarPod earphones
- USB Lightning cable
- USB mains charger
- 5.92 Wh lithium-polymer non-removable battery
- 124 x 59 x 7.6 mm
- 112 g