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iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c: Quick Reviews

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I wanted to do full reviews of the new iPhones from Apple but in reality, there are no radical changes in the new models that full reviews would seem like exercises in futility.  Furthermore, several blogs have already extensively covered the new iPhones so there would be a lot of materials to read if you’re really interested in these new devices.

iPhone 5c

Let’s start with the iPhone 5c.  This is cheaper than the iPhone 5s, but not by much.  In reality, the iPhone 5c is just the iPhone 5, with a new casing and a new, colorful attitude.  The iPhone 5c performs like the iPhone 5, and this is really what I expected.  It is still fast and smooth and iOS 7 is greatly complemented by the colorful enclosures.

iPhone_5c

The only thing worth commenting on, really, is the new plastic enclosure of the iPhone 5c.  What is surprising about the plastic enclosure is that it is like nothing I have touched before.   It is plastic, yes, but it is too smooth and shiny it still feels premium and expensive.  The phone also has a significant heft to it that makes it compact and solid.  The weight is actually reassuring and gives the impression that even if you drop the iPhone 5c, it will withstand the fall.  The iPhone 5c actually feels more solid than the iPhone 5, or the iPhone 5s for that matter.

iPhone 5s

The iPhone 5s is feels like the iPhone 5.  It is light, it has the same dimensions and it has the same finish.  In other words, just like the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5s still feels fragile. If you get the iPhone 5s, make sure you immediately buy a case.  As an update to the iPhone 5, the only visible change in the iPhone 5s is the new home button which now has a fingerprint scanner.  The circular button has a silver outline and the surface in the middle is flat and recessed.  The iPhone 5, in comparison, has a convex button. Because of this change, the home button on the iPhone 5s feels bigger and the clicks are more noticeable.

iPhone_5s

Setting up the fingerprint scanner is quick and easy and it works like magic after you set it up successfully.  The scanner opens the phone immediately and this is one step fewer compared to the old way of opening an iPhone.  Apple claims that in time, the fingerprint scanner becomes more accurate, which is good for users.

The other new features in the iPhone 5s are the faster A7 processor and a new M7 Motion Coprocessor.  The new processors are expected to double the performance speed.   In actual use, I wasn’t able to distinguish the performance of the iPhone 5s from the iPhone 5, or the iPhone 5c.  This means that whatever was gained in speed by using the new processors, it is not immediately evident to the user.  Speeds could matter when heavy apps are running but for most users, the improvement in performance is actually not felt.

This is also the case with the improved camera on the iPhone 5s.  The new camera has a bigger f/2.2 aperture and a new, larger sensor with 1.5μ pixels.  This should translate to better sensitivity and low-light performance.  Again, for most users, the shots will appear similar to those taken with the iPhone 5, which is already saying too much since the iPhone 5 is the best camera for me. The improved camera on the iPhone 5s will be seen when shots are transferred to the desktop but for mobile use, the improvements are negligible.

Conclusion

Based on the short times I spent playing with the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s, I can say that Apple was able to do enough to make its phones relevant in a world dominated by Android.  The improvements on iOS 7 make the OS feel new and fresh and some important features have been added that make users feel like iOS is not so much behind Android.  When it comes to hardware, the fingerprint scanner is the only real thing the iPhone 5s can offer that other phones at this point cannot.  The 64-bit A7 processor is something new, but in terms of performance, the improvement is not that huge.

If you are an iPhone 4 or 4S user, an upgrade to the new iPhones is an easy decision.  If you’re currently using an iPhone 5, I believe that you don’t need to upgrade to the new iPhones.

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