iPhone 5s: The Closest Any Smartphone Comes To Being Perfect [Review]

Design & Feel

The iPhone 5s is just as exquisite as the iPhone 5. It shares the same incredible design — a gorgeous mix of aluminum and glass — and the build quality is exactly what you’d expect from a premium Apple product. Every piece is accurately crafted to fit beautifully into the aluminum shell.

iPhone-5s-flat

The iPhone 5s is also just as thin and as light as its predecessor — despite additional components and a bigger battery. This won’t wow you too much if you’re upgrading from an iPhone 5 — you’ll already be used to it — but if you’re coming from an older iPhone, you’ll certainly be impressed.

At just 112 grams, the iPhone 5s really is a joy to hold. It feels every bit like a premium product, and that feeling of cool aluminum on your palms when you pick it up in the morning never gets old. It’s also barely noticeable in your pocket — even if you decide to stick it inside a case.

That feeling of cold aluminum on your palms every morning never gets old.

In fact, if you’re used to using a larger smartphone, you’ll find yourself checking your pockets to make sure it’s still there for the first few days.

I decided to pick up the space gray model this time around having had white iPhones for the past few years. I was always adamant I would go with the black model this year, then I got my heart set on the gold one following Apple’s big unveiling. Unfortunately, they’re incredibly difficult to get hold of right now.

iPhone-5s-bottom

The space gray iPhone 5s won’t chip like the black model.

But the space gray iPhone 5s looks terrific. Its aluminum is shades darker than that of the silver model, and it works well with the black display and inserts on the back of the device. Maybe it’s not quite as elegant as last year’s all-black model, but you can be sure it will age better.

The black model was anodized, and it was notorious for chipping and scratching far too easily. After just a few weeks of use, some black iPhone 5 owners found their devices were already looking pretty worn, with chips around the edges of the device revealing the silver aluminum beneath.

That’s not going to be a problem with the space gray model, though. That’s obviously why Apple chose to replace the black model, rather than launch the space gray variant alongside it. Those who want a black display can still have one, but without the chipping issues.

iPhone 5s is the prettiest and most impressive smartphone on the market when it comes to design.

The iPhone 5s’s design may be over a year old now, but that doesn’t matter; it’s still the prettiest and most impressive smartphone on the market when it comes to design, and its build quality really is unmatched. The aluminum HTC One comes close, but no one beats Apple’s attention to detail.

Next: Display

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  • iOS_TV

    I like what Jonathan Ive said, “new is easy, getting it right is difficult”. They certainly got it right with the 5s. It will be interesting to see what Samsung will copy from the 5s. We already know they plan on going 64 bit, they all upgrade the camera, but they will probably keep bumping megapixels. As popular as the gold color is it’s almost a given they will do that.

    It may be easy for Samsung to add a fingerprint scanner, but it will be extremely difficult for them to get it right in the way Apple has with the 5s.

  • cflorez6768

    Everything about this article was great. I have an Iphone 5S myself in black ( couldn’t get gold )… In my opinion there’s something wrong about that photo though… who the hell uses the BBM app??? so ridiculous. I wouldn’t insult my 5S installing that crap.. even if I was going to delete it a moment after. I wouldn’t even dare….

  • NHTeaParties

    This is the worst move and worst product of anything Apple has ever tried. Many unhappy people are defecting to Android because they may as well now that Apple acts and looks like a cheap PC. Sayonara Apple, I just sold $500K worth of your stock… as it is going to plunge as people defect from your defective unusable product that is so hard on the eyes. UGLY!!!!!

  • Bulldogger123

    This is the worst move and worst product of anything Apple has ever tried. Many unhappy people are defecting to Android because they may as well now that Apple acts and looks like a cheap PC. Sayonara Apple, I just sold $500K worth of your stock… as it is going to plunge as people defect from your defective unusable product that is so hard on the eyes. UGLY!!!!!

    You just proved why most people think Tea Party Members are idiots!

  • iSteve

    As Steve said ” I skate where the puck is going to be and not where it has been”… This sums up what Apple has achieved with the 5S. ==> Forward thinkig..

  • trudderham

    Really nice review, great to see some real-life photos of the space grey color. Anyway this is a great place to start if anyone’s looking for iOS 7 tuition: http://iosguides.net/ios-7/

  • Andrew John
    This is the worst move and worst product of anything Apple has ever tried. Many unhappy people are defecting to Android because they may as well now that Apple acts and looks like a cheap PC. Sayonara Apple, I just sold $500K worth of your stock… as it is going to plunge as people defect from your defective unusable product that is so hard on the eyes. UGLY!!!!!

    You just proved why most people think Tea Party Members are idiots!

    I think he just proved why most people think fandroid trolls are idiots!

  • rmbourbon

    Like you I have been using android for about 6 months with the Xperia Z. A very nice phone but android is buggy, laggy and annoying at times and I have been waiting for an excuse to get back to iOS and this phone has convinced me. I ordered one on the weekend and i have a grin from ear to ear. I am no fanboy given that i have tried android, windows 8 phone, Blackberry in the past and iOS but i think iOS still has the best OS and with iOS7 and the 5S I am really very excited. Now all Apple has to do jus make a 4.7″ phone and that will be the cherry on the cake.

  • Paul Burt

    You and everyone else are delusional if you think Apple is going to increase the display size again. Keep dreaming.

  • Bulldogger123
    This is the worst move and worst product of anything Apple has ever tried. Many unhappy people are defecting to Android because they may as well now that Apple acts and looks like a cheap PC. Sayonara Apple, I just sold $500K worth of your stock… as it is going to plunge as people defect from your defective unusable product that is so hard on the eyes. UGLY!!!!!

    You just proved why most people think Tea Party Members are idiots!

    I think he just proved why most people think fandroid trolls are idiots!

    You must be a Tea Party idiot.

  • MrsCleaver

    Good review, Killian. However I find your oft-used phrase “cream your jeans”, offensive and sophomoric. As I’ve posted before, I think using such language here is in poor taste.

    But thanks for a fairly in-depth view of the new iPhone.

  • MrsCleaver

    I misquoted your writing. The phrase was “cream their pants.”

    It’s fffensive either way, but I wanted to be accurate.

  • dcj001

    As Steve said ” I skate where the puck is going to be and not where it has been”… This sums up what Apple has achieved with the 5S. ==> Forward thinkig..

    Actually, Wayne (Gretzky) said it before Steve did.

  • dcj001

    You and everyone else are delusional if you think Apple is going to increase the display size again. Keep dreaming.

    It will happen one year from now with the iPhone 6.

  • Adrayven
    You and everyone else are delusional if you think Apple is going to increase the display size again. Keep dreaming.

    It will happen one year from now with the iPhone 6.

    Agreed. Fairly obvious the next step is to offer a ‘c’ class iPhone, then a ‘pro’ class iphone with 4″ and 5″ sizes.. I susect we’ll see 2 sizes like we see with their Pro laptops, which have 13″ and 15″. I think we’ll see a 4″ stay around and a 4.5-5″ phone added to the high end category and the iPhone C will say as the colorful option for mainstream users.

    I don’t think they will go over 5″ though.. under that probably. They’ve a space issue because of the large round fingerprint button to deal with.

  • DJBabyBuster

    As with all the incremental s updates, I’ll wait for a proper new phone with the 6.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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