Slow motion video
New gold colour
APPLE iPhone 5s Review
The wait is over - again - and this time we are treated to two new iPhones, the colourful iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5 replacement that this review is dedicated to, the iPhone 5s. Let's take a look at Apple's latest flagship
Introduced September 2013
by Mike Leader
You might be wondering (again) if there is any real improvement over the previous iPhone, the iPhone 5. The size and weight are identical and the screen size still sits at 4 inches which may seem a little small these days when compared with the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 or Sony Xperia Z1, though the 1136x640 Retina display is still up there with the best of the rest.
The immediately obvious addition to the iPhone 5s is fingerprint recognition, with the processor and camera also being ramped up.
Touch ID fingerprint recognition
Starting with the fingerprint recognition technology, which Apple have called TouchID. This is a big step forward and though not unique - several laptops already use a similar feature and it's not the first phone to sport this method of unlocking - it will be seen as useful by many of you and is easier than typing in a password.
It uses a bit pattern stored in an area of the memory that is not used by any other application and works solely to unlock your iPhone.
You can use TouchID for iTunes purchases too but we will have to wait for other applications to make use of the feature such as credit card purchases. You simply hold your finger or thumb on the home button - which is of course now a fingerprint sensor - to unlock the phone.
You will instantly note that the home button/fingerprint sensor now loses the round-cornered square icon and is replaced with a silver ring surrounding the button. This is fact isn't just for show, it actually senses your finger and activates the sensor. It is also now flat, the concave design of every previous iPhone home button - a feature we loved - has now gone, possibly forever!
The only other evident difference from the iPhone 5 are the new colours - white and silver remain, the black iPhone now shows off a silver-grey rear cover (and for some odd reason Apple have chosen to name it Space Grey) but the real talking point is the new champagne gold colour which does look classy rather than blingy, but ultimately it will be a matter of taste and we still prefer the white/silver option. The point of the new colours, apparently, are that they are said to be more scratch resistant.
You can choose from 5 bright pastel colours of blue, green, pink, yellow and white and the background wallpaper is colour-matched. You can change the wallpaper of course if it all proves to be too colourful for you. They are all black from the front view by the way, the part you will normally be looking at.
Very quick 64-bit processor
The new A7 processor is also notable This is the first iPhone to use a 64-bit chip which means the phone is very fast - up to twice as fast is claimed by Apple for everything including graphics processing which makes it perfect for game-playing.
You know we don't baffle you here with in-depth technical jargon at 1st Mobile UK. What you need to know is that the new iPhone is without a doubt incredibly quick and noticeably far quicker than anything Apple have produced previously.
This is also enhanced with a secondary chip called the M7 which includes an array of motion sensors, taking pressure off the main processor and improving battery consumption. There are also some interesting new visual effects and animations.
The new iSight camera is another upgrade to try to keep pace with some of the latest Android and Windows offerings. It is still an 8 megapixel snapper but now with a larger pixel size and a larger aperture, up from f/2.4 to f/2.2 which to you and me means better pictures in low light.
Apple continue their tradition of keeping it simple with no options to control white balance or exposure for example but there are downloadable apps that give you more functionality should you feel you need it.
Apple also include a dual flash for the first time, which they refer to as True Tone. One white and one amber LED flash are designed to reproduce natural light more accurately for improved indoor shots. In practice we are happy to report that it does cut the glare that is normally associated with a white LED flash but the camera's strengths still lie in outdoor photography
Burst Shot takes 10 photos in under a second
The feature we found to be the most amazing though is the Burst Shot feature which takes 10 photos in under a second - faster than many professional digital cameras - and then calculates which is the best photo though you can choose from any of the ten.
The image stabilisation function works in a similar way, choosing the best features from four shots to make up one perfect picture.
Slow motion HD video recording
We're not done there. A video Slo-Mo feature records 720p HD video at 120 frames per second and allows you to play it back at an adjustable speed up to a quarter speed.
It is an interesting attribute which works well in practice, perhaps a little gimmicky for some people though. Apple's FaceTime videocalling camera has also been upgraded to 2 megapixels and is now worthy of the job it was designed to do.
Ever impressive battery life
Despite the raft of improvements and processing power, battery life is again improved and the phone will easily get you through a full days' normal use with plenty to spare.
It's not our brief to tell you which is the best smartphone; you people will no doubt be mostly divided into two camps - you either like the iPhone or you don't.
But you can be assured Apple have again produced a winning package here with the iPhone 5s. It is expensive and it is no longer the unique world beater it used to be with the raft of top notch android devices available today such as the Sony Xperia Z1 and the HTC One M8, but it is definitely still one of the best smartphones you can buy without a shadow of a doubt.
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