Apple’s iPhone 5S 89 and 5C 79 are still two days away from officially hitting the market, but with iOS 7 rolling out today, the company is as usual lifting the review embargo for its latest devices a little early. The consensus is predominantly positive for both devices. So, until we get the chance to have some hands-on time of our own, here are a few impressions gathered from around the web covering all key aspects of Apple’s latest.
On the new A7 processor
“The A7 SoC is seriously impressive. In many cases the A7's dual cores were competitive with Intel's recently announced Bay Trail SoC. Web browsing is ultimately where I noticed the A7's performance the most. As long as I was on a good internet connection, web pages just appeared after resolving DNS. The A7's GPU performance is also insanely good - more than enough for anything you could possibly throw at the iPhone 5s today, and fast enough to help keep this device feeling quick for a while.” - AnandTech
“Is the iPhone 5S faster than other phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One? Based on every benchmark we could throw at the 5S, the answer is yes. How much? That depends on the test. Linpack suggests that the iPhone 5S is a lot faster — and about twice as fast as the iPhone 5C. Geekbench 3, which recently updated its app to allow for 64-bit testing, suggests a nearly 3x gain over the iPhone 5C's A6 processor.” - Cnet
On the move to 64-bit
“Apple is particularly excited about the change from 32- to 64-bit. That’s something that requires an evolution both in hardware and software, and sure enough both the A7 and iOS 7 have been reworked to suit. One of the most obvious advantages to 64-bit architecture is in memory allocation, when dealing with 4GB+ of RAM, though for the iPhone 5s it’s more likely the 64-bit registers and their ability to process larger data pipelines such as direct integers and floating-point storing and processing – of use, for instance, in the more ambitious games – that will make the most obvious difference for end-users.” - SlashGear
“Apple's move to 64-bit proves it is not only committed to supporting its own microarchitectures in the mobile space, but also that it is being a good steward of the platform. Just like AMD had to do in the mid-2000s, Apple must plan ahead for the future of iOS and that's exactly what it has done. The immediate upsides to moving to 64-bit today are increased performance across the board as well as some huge potential performance gains in certain FP and cryptographic workloads.” - AnandTech
On the new fingerprint sensor
“It sounds like a gimmick, but it’s a real advance, the biggest step ever in biometric authentication for everyday devices. After using Touch ID, I found it annoying to go back to typing in passcodes on my older iPhone. In my scores of tests, with three fingers, the reader never failed me and none of the 20 or so people I asked to test it was able to unlock the phone. There is one bug: Sometimes, while trying to use a finger to authenticate an online purchase, the phone asks for a password. Apple says it expects to fix this bug very quickly.” - AllThingsD
“The best part is that it actually works — every single time, in my tests. It’s nothing like the balky, infuriating fingerprint-reader efforts of earlier cellphones. It’s genuinely awesome; the haters can go jump off a pier. You can teach your iPhone 5S to recognize up to five fingerprints — all yours, yours and your spouse’s, or whatever. Apple says your fingerprint is stored only on your phone, encrypted and never transmitted or stored online. And using the fingerprint reader is optional; you can always use a regular password instead.” - NY Times
On the 5S camera
“The shots we took with the 5s were consistently better than what we took with the 5: they were sharper, with finer details, more natural colors and far less noise. All told, the 5s plays in the same league as all those other flagships with a bigger emphasis on imaging. Even so, our sample shots still showed more noise and less detail than the same images taken with the Nokia Lumia 1020.” - Engadget
“Beyond the new camera capabilities and new flash, Apple has also added auto image stabilization to reduce motion blur. Camera modes, including video, now offers: slow-mo, video with up to 3x zoom while capturing, photo, square (complete with nine filters), and panorama. Each of these are accessed by simply sliding your finger across the screen from left to right. The camera app is uncluttered. But unlike the Nokia Lumia or Android approach where everything can be altered manually you get nothing of the sort here. If you want to adjust ISO settings and white balance then you'll need to invest in a dedicated app to do that.” - Pocket-lint
On the 5S battery life
Most reviewers claim they didn’t have time for proper tests but here are a couple of contrasting views:
“In our real-world testing, we found the iPhone 5s mimics its predecessor – great in standby, draining when using 3G/4G and performing graphically intensive tasks. For example, we started the day (10.20am) with 82% of battery and after a 20-minute TomTom navigation, an hour’s worth of on/off slo-motion and regular video and photo capture, and a bit of web surfing, by 12.37pm we were down to 4% and in desperate need of a recharge. App developers will need to take advantage of the new hardware to help reduce energy consumption.” - T3
“The iPhone 5s made it through 10 hours and 50 minutes of HD video at half brightness -- even better than Apple's 10-hour claim -- while the iPhone 5 cut out after nine hours and 17 minutes. With heavy usage (copious email, navigation, social networking, web browsing, calls and taking pictures and videos), we managed a little over eight hours before the 5s was ready to call it quits. On a day of what we consider to be normal usage, however, we had no problem getting through a full workday with extra juice to spare.” - Engadget
On the 5C’s design
“It's just slightly thicker and heavier than the iPhone 5. And while the 5C isn't as refined-looking as the iPhone 5 or the new 5S, it isn't a tacky plastic phone, either. I've tested plastic phones before, including the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the new Moto X from Motorola, and this phone feels more solid in the hand.” - WSJ
“The iPhone 5c is gorgeous — we'd even argue that it's the most beautiful iPhone since the 4 and 4s. It instantly makes the iPhone 5 and 5s look staid in comparison. Sure, we prefer materials like aluminum and glass over plastic, and we appreciate the intricate craftsmanship that goes into building the iPhone 5 and 5s, but still, we can't help it — the 5c just triggers some reptilian part of our brains that screams, "OMG, color!" It brings a breath of fresh air to the iPhone lineup and will appeal to consumers at an emotional level” - Engadget
On iOS 7
“For all the chatter about what Apple has or hasn't included in its latest phones, the most radical alterations arrive with iOS 7. Among my quibbles: A dedicated ".com" key on the Safari keyboard that had been on prior versions of iOS 7 is no longer visible, that is until you press and hold down the "period" key. But the positives by far out-duel the negatives, starting with aesthetics. The multitasking feature for switching between running apps is greatly improved. The friendlier Notification Center now available on the lock screen. The edge-to-edge design of iOS 7 means you can see more of a Web page on the screen.” - USA Today
“While we were all a bit shocked with the look when it was first introduced, it doesn’t take long to adapt. In fact, there are many things I like better. The dynamics of the OS and the way the backgrounds move as you tilt the phone are very cool. They aren’t just cool, to me they show that Apple still cares about those little details that we count on them for. There are a lot of features that I can pick out in iOS 7 that I really like: Control Center, Notification Center, Multitasking, Camera app, and iTunes Radio—I love iTunes Radio. However, I would be hard pressed to pick out anything in iOS 7 that I just don’t like at all.” - The Loop
The iPhone 5s is the Apple’s latest flagship handset. The iPhone 5s is powered by a first of its kind 64-bit A7 processor and the same 4" Retina display as its predecessor. It also includes a fingerprint reader dubbed Touch ID, HD video capture at 720p at 120FPS that can also perform slow motion at 120FPS. Battery life on the iPhone 5s is rated for 10 hours of 3G talk time, LTE browsing, Wi-Fi browsing and video.
The iPhone 5C replaces the iPhone 5 with nearly identical tech specs, a plastic-based exterior and 5 color choices, a first in the iPhone family. The 5C features the same 4" Retina display, A6 CPU, 8-megapixel rear iSight camera, a new front-facing FaceTime HD camera with better low light support, dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, a higher capacity battery and support for more LTE bands.
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