Feb 11, 2014 11:33 AM EST

Apple iPhone 5S vs. Apple iPhone 5: Comparison Review of Specs, Features, Performance & More!

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Apple iPhone 5S and Apple iPhone 5 may seem like completely identical phones in terms of design, specs and performance at first but these two devices have a lot more differences if we take a closer look. In 2013, Apple release not just one but three new refreshed versions of its iPhone - with iPhone 5 coming up first early in the year, following by iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. The two latter phones are extremely similar so today we're here to see how Apple iPhone 5S fares against its predecessor, Apple iPhone 5.

Both Apple iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S come from the same company, are loaded with amazing specs and are two of the most popular phones today but how which Apple device reigns supreme over the other? Check out the results in the comparison review below.

Design

Apple iPhone 5S and iPhone 5 are almost identical in terms of design. Beautiful industrial design and superb build quality is matched with a phone that feels almost impossibly thin and light if you’re upgrading from an older, chunkier phone. Both Apple iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S are just 7.6mm thick, and weigh 112g, which is thinner and lighter compared to all of the big-name Android rivals.

Most of the rear of Apple iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S are made of lightly textured aluminium, and there are black/white glass cut-outs on the top and bottom at that help to avoid the sort of signal issues you can get with all-metal gadgets.

One of the best hardware elements of an iPhone is that the phones are so easy to use. We’re not talking about the software here, but the hardware – where many Android phones are a bit too large to use comfortably in one hand, the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5 fit in even small hands perfectly.

There’s just one significant visual difference in the construction of the Apple's iPhone 5S and iPhone 5. The Home button of the 5S is outlined by a metallic ring – it’s part of the Touch ID sensor fingerprint scanner, which you don’t get on an iPhone 5.

Display

At first glance, the Apple iPhone 5S looks like iPhone 5's twin, sure enough, a quick read of the spec sheet reveals that their dimensions and weight are identical - 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm and 112g.

The only physical differences between iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S are the redesigned Home button, which incorporates the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor and is surrounded by a thin stainless steel ring; and the dual LED flash (one white light, one amber light) around the back.

Where the iPhone 5 was available in two color choices - black or white, the new 5S has silver/white, 'space grey'/black and gold/white options. The gold version is either snazzy or ridiculous, depending on your point of view.

The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5 both feature a 4in Retina display with 1136x640 resolution at 326ppi. While the 5S doesn't offer an upgrade in terms of display, the iPhone smartphone screen is still a high quality display. The colours on webpages, games and video are bright and vibrant, while text is clean and crisp. The high-quality in-plane switching (IPS) panel is also evenly lit and the impressive viewing angles mean you can see what's on screen whether looking down from the top, up from the bottom, front or side on, or anywhere in between.

However, some Apple iPhone 5S users or those who have upgraded their Apple iPhone 5 to iOS 7 have complained about the new fonts, which are thinner and smaller, and the removal of boxes around menus, making text hard to read for those with visual impairments. So if you've got an iPhone 5 still running iOS 6, you might want to hold off upgrading if you're put off by the new pared-down interface.

Performance

Apple has made major changes to the internal organs of the iPhone, upgrading the Apple iPhone 5S to its new A7 chip, based on 64-bit architecture, along with a second M7 coprocessor. The iPhone 5 has the A6 chip and no secondary processor.

Performance on the Apple iPhone 5S is smooth and nippy. Webpages were quick to open, apps were easy to access, and video and games were easily handled by the A7 chip. However, we didn't notice any huge performance improvements over the Apple iPhone 5, which also offers a smooth and speedy experience.

Apple also boasted about OpenGL ES 3.0 support for graphics performance, offering more texture and shadows when playing games, although again we can't say we noticed a huge improvement over the visual effects found on the Apple iPhone 5. This is largely because developers haven't yet released titles taking advantage of the new OpenGL ES 3.0 support.

Battery Life

In terms of battery life, the spec sheets tell us that the Apple iPhone 5S just edges out the old iPhone 5. It's rated at 10 hours of talk time on 3G, while the Apple iPhone 5 can only muster 8 hours.

Standby time is calculated to be 250 hours for the 5S and 225 hours for the iPhone 5. Average usage is much the same - 10 hours on LTE, up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi, up to 10 hours of video playback and up to 40 hours of audio playback.

That doesn't sound impressive until you consider that, thanks to the A7 processor, the Apple iPhone 5S is twice as fast.

Connectivity

With the iPhone 5S heading for China Mobile and NTT Docomo, plus a range of different countries around the world, it supports more LTE bands than the iPhone 5.
It's the only real difference between the 5S and its predecessor. Both include 3G/HSDPA and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO support, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. There's also a version that supports the TD-LTE technology that's beginning to pop up around the world.

Both Apple iPhone 5 and Apple iPhone 5S boast a lot impressive specs and features that it makes choosing between the two devices very difficult. However, at the end of the day, investing your hard-earned money on either handsets depends ultimately on personal preference. Whether you choose to go for Apple iPhone 5 or Apple iPhone 5S, you can't go wrong with any of these two powerful smartphones.

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