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printed April 20, 2014
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Review: Apple iPhone 5s

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The iPhone 5s is a worthy successor to last year's device, though it is by no means perfect. Apple was a bit lazy in recycling the iPhone 5's design, but at least the company changed up the colors and added the Touch ID sensor to set it apart. The quality of the hardware is top notch, and the Retina display, though small, still looks fantastic.

iOS 7 runs particularly well on the iPhone 5s, even if it is slightly buggy. The 5s outpaces the iPhone 5 when it comes to browsing speeds, photo/video manipulation, Siri, and mapping tasks. The A7 processor inside is an excellent engine. The fully revised operating system is a breath of fresh air, but not confined to the iPhone 5s (it's also available to the iPhone 5, 4S, and 4.)

Despite these performance improvements, the iPhone 5s is only average when it comes to some essential tasks. Specifically, call quality was just OK, and battery life barely made it through a full day. Battery life is one area in particular where Apple needs to make major advances. Further, the camera produces very good results that are on par with - but do not necessarily surpass - the competition.

Would I recommend the Apple iPhone 5s? Anyone with an iPhone 4 or 4S should upgrade right away. If you're using an iPhone 5, there's less reason to run to the Apple store since many of the features are baked into iOS 7. The Apple iPhone 5s is an excellent device, as long as you're OK with the limitations of Apple's hardware and software.

Our Ratings

4
Overall
4
Reception
3
Battery Life
4.5
Hardware Usability
5
Hardware Quality
3.5
Display
4
Interface Speed
4
Audio Volume
4
Camera
 

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