Apple iPhone 5S full review

The iPhone 5s is Apple's 2013 flagship smartphone, and as we near the launch of the iPhone 6 we thought it would be fun to put last year's Apple iPhone to the test slugging it out against a mid-range Android phone that launched in summer 2014. The Androids may be cheaper, but as the iPhone 6 hoves into view the iPhone 5s still more than holds its own. See also: iPhone 6 preview.

HTC One mini 2 vs iPhone 5s comparison: price

The HTC One mini 2 is available for a middle of the road £359 which we think is a good price for what you get. On the face of it, a much better price than that of the iPhone 5s. Apple's flagship 2013 phone starts from a comparatively huge £549 – with 16 GB of storage. But a good deal is not just about paying the lowest price. So let's consider how these two handsets shape up. (For more visit Macworld UK's iPhone and iPad spotlight, and read our Apple iOS 7 review.)

HTC One mini 2 vs iPhone 5s comparison: display

The HTC One mini 2 has a smaller screen than the flagship M8 upon which it is based, but it is still noticably bigger than is the iPhone's. It's 4.5in display compared to the Apple phone's 4in. Whether 4.5in is 'mini' enough for you is the heart of the matter here. The trend of bigger screens continues so we're now at a point where mini versions of flagship Androids are the kind of size that flagship devices used to be. If you want a smaller screen then you really need an iPhone. And plenty of people do. Although a big screen offers a better experience watching movies or sport, a smaller display such as that of the iPhone 5s' allows you to operate your phone with one hand.

It's no surprise that the HTC One mini 2's resolution is 720p HD rather than Full HD and although the screen looks good with a 326 ppi pixel density (matching that of the iPhone 5s), you can get this on the best budget phones now, but neither the HTC nor the iPhone is that. They both have fine-looking screens. We prefer the HTC's, but that is because we like a bigger display. Your opinion may differ. (See also: iPhone 5 vs iPhone 5S comparison review)

Read our comparison review of iOS 8 and Android Lollipop

HTC One mini 2

HTC One mini 2 vs iPhone 5s comparison: build and design

The HTC One mini 2 measures 137 x 65 x 10.6mm and weighs in at 137g. This is enough to make it a more manageable phone than the current crop of big-screen Android flagships. Indeed we found it quite easy to use with one hand, and 137 g is a nice weight for a smartphone. However, it is a little thicker than we would like at 10.6 mm, and the HTC One mini is a little taller than other phones with the same screen size with front-facing stereo speakers.

The svelte iPhone 5s is much smaller, and slimmer, of course. It's 7.6 mm thick and weighs 112 g. Made from aluminium and glass, the iPhone 5S is also more fragile than is the HTC One mini 2 and demands some kind of protective case. But it also more aesthetically pleasing. It is an iPhone, after all.

Dimensions aside, the HTC One mini 2 retains the design and style of the stylish-for-an-Android HTC One M8, but in a smaller package. It has a premium brushed metal rear cover which looks and feels great. The cover doesn't run right round to the front of the phone however, instead there is a plastic band running around the edge.

For a relatively low price phone HTC has done a great job of keeping that high-end feel. But it doesn't feel as high end as an iPhone. Both these phones are available in three metallic colours. Neither is dust- nor waterproof. The key differences are that the One mini 2 is less susceptible to bumps and scrapes, and doesn't require a case. The iPhone 5s is much better looking and has a more premium feel, but you'd be bonkers not to put it in a protective cover.

Incidentally, the iPhone 6 is expected to have a bigger screen, and there may even be an iPhablet launched alongside it with a 5.5in display. Find out more in our rumour iPhone 6 rumour round-up and iPhablet rumour round-up. You'll also find Nexus 6 speculation here.

HTC One mini 2 vs iPhone 5s comparison: specs and performance

Under the hood of the HTC One mini 2 is a 1.2GHz dual-core processor – a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 – with 1GB of RAM. The HTC One mini 2 scored 1153 in GeekBench 3 - a very respectable score.

It fell marginally behind in the GFXBench 3 T-Rex and Manhattan tests where it managed only 11- and 4fps respectively. In the web browsing SunSpider test we recorded a fairly average time of 1504 ms.

However, it's no slouch and in everyday use, Android is buttery smooth. Apps are quick to load as are web pages. Scrolling around web pages and maps isn't a chore: it's all nice and responsive. Only on one occasion did we see a hesitation when returning to the home screen.

the HTC One mini 2 is good, then, but the iPhone 5s is better. It sports Apple's A7 chip which is the first 64-bit processor to be put into a smartphone. It also has the M7 motion coprocessor. This makes for impressive performance, as witnessed by the iPhone's benchmark results. In SunSpider 1.0, the 5S completed the test in just 417ms. In Geekbench 3 the iPhone 5S managing a very healthy score of 2561. Running GLBenchmark 2.7 (Egypt HD), the iPhone 5S managed 53fps. These are great results.

In real-world use the iPhone 5s is noticably fast and more than capable of running the tasks asked of it. Pure speed is not a good reason to choose the iPhone over the One mini 2, as both of these phones are plenty fast enough. But the iPhone 5s is categorically better than the HTC One mini 2 in this respect.

iPhone 5s

HTC One mini 2 vs iPhone 5s comparison: storage

There's only a 16GB model of the HTC One mini 2 so the only difference between models is the colour. It's a standard capacity now but we're pleased to report that the handset has a microSD card slot which wasn't on the first HTC One mini. You can add a whopping 128GB via the card slot so it's happy days here.

The iPhone 5s comes in varied onboard storage capacities, but there is no expansion slot. So if you want 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage, you can get it - but at a price premium.

On the face of it then we'd give this section to the HTC. But there are a couple of things to point out. For one thing that 128GB SD card will cost you, so it is not quite a straight win for HTC. And for another there is a potential loss of performance depending on the quality of the expansion storage. That's why Apple will never allow it.

We think that it is still a win for HTC, on balance.

HTC One mini 2 vs iPhone 5s comparison: software

Android 4.4 KitKat vs iOS 7 is a conundrum. Android isn't like it used to be: if you are new to the smartphone game there's no obvious winner. These are the two most popular and best mobile operating systems around so it's about picking which one is right for you.

Android 4.4 KitKat brings some great features such as a full screen mode and many improvements across calling, messaging, search, audio playback and more. iOS 7 has the handy Control Center, better multi-tasking and an overhaul in terms of look and feel. It's also more responsive on the same hardware - although that is taken into account in our performance section above.

In essence, if you are a long-term iOS user you are probably best off sticking with what you know. You have after all almost certainly spent a lot of cash on apps that you'll have to spend again in Android. But it is worth considering that your iTunes music files will work in Android, and Android offers the opportunity of shopping around for music, movies, books and TV shows.

It's also worth taking note that Android is set to get an update soon. Apple unveiled iOS 8 with many new and exciting features in June, while Google showed off Android L during its Google I/O event later the same month. Find out more about each in our Android L article and our iOS 8 preview.

HTC One mini 2 vs iPhone 5s comparison: camera

This is a big win for the iPhone. The One mini 2's main camera has a 13Mp sensor and is capable of 1080p video recording. It's all a bit underwhelming when you zoom in and look at the details (or lack thereof), but they're fine for sharing snaps on Facebook.

In good light, photos are good enough, but they simply don't exhibit the sort of sharp detail you'd expect at this high resolution.

Videos are disappointing. Again, there's a noticeable lack of sharp detail. Heavy handed compression means textures tend to turn into smudgy messes – bricks, foliage etc. There's also no stabilisation, so footage is shaky even if you have steady hands.

The iPhone 5S offers a 'True Tone' flash and backside illumination (BSI) sensor. It shoots video at 1080p and even has a Slo-mo mode. It's an 8Mp camera with 1.5µ pixels and an ƒ/2.2 aperture. Around the front is a FaceTime Camera taking 1.2MP photos, with 720p HD video recording. As a camera, the iPhone 5s is simply better than the HTC One mini 2. Find out more about the iPhone's camera features here.

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