First iPhone 5s Reviews: Best Smartphone Available

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With just over two days to go for the iPhone 5s launch, Apple has lifted the embargo on reviews for its 7th generation iPhone and we’ve started seeing some of the well known tech writers and critics publishing reviews of the new iPhone.

Here’s what some of them had to say about iPhone 5s:

Walt Mossberg of AllThingsD:

The detection process (of fingerprint sensor) only takes a second or two.

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. If a finger match fails three times, the phone offers you a chance to type in your passcode instead. After five failures, it requires the passcode. Apple says the odds another person’s finger would work are 1 in 50,000, versus 1 in 10,000 for breaking a four-digit passcode.

There is one bug in the system: 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. [..]

[..] My biggest disappointment is that there have been only minor improvements to the keyboard. Unlike in Android, Apple still bars you from substituting third-party keyboards with better auto-correction. The company says this is due to security worries.

Overall, however, the new iPhone 5S is a delight. Its hardware and software make it the best smartphone on the market.

Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch:

Once registered, you simply hold your finger on the iPhone, and it should unlock very quickly. It’s about as fast as swiping to unlock without a passcode, and much faster than entering even a simple four digit code. As Apple is fond of saying, “it just works,” recognizing your registered fingerprints regardless of how you place your digit on the sensor for the most part. I did encounter a few rare “try again” messages, but the frequency of those decreased over my time with the phone until they were non-existent, something which Apple says is due to the sensor being able to improve its success rate by learning more about your print over time. [..]

[..] With the iPhone 5s, Apple once again wins the right to claim the title of best smartphone available. The hardware may resemble its predecessor in many key ways, as with the 4-inch Retina display, but it improves dramatically in areas like the camera where it makes the most difference to every day users, and in the addition of the fingerprint sensor, which is already a feature I miss when I switch back to older generation devices or the iPhone 5c. And thanks to the 64-bit A7 processor, this phone, more than any iPhone before it, is likely to be the device that grows more appealing as the software ecosystem catches up, which is great news for buyers looking for something that isn’t so easily replaced by the next big thing that comes along.

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop:

Setting up a fingerprint is as easy as resting your finger on the Home button and following the onscreen instructions. The button will vibrate when it’s reading; lift your finger and rest it on the button again; and repeat until it’s done. Very simple. [..]

[..] The iPhone 5s is a brilliant phone with some great new features that help you in work and play. The fingerprint sensor, camera, and improved speed and architecture, make the 5s my favorite iPhone to date.

Myriam Joire of Engadget:

First, let’s tackle the camera’s low-light performance. 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. As you might expect, our daylight shots were roughly on par, though there were a few times when the 5s won out by a slight margin, offering just a little more detail. 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. The 5s also does a good job of reproducing color, but it’s not the best performer in this category, either. Make no mistake, though: the iPhone has been — and continues to be — great as a simple grab-and-go camera. It may not be a best-in-class performer, but the vast majority of iPhone users will still be happy. [..]

[..] The 5s is a solid effort from Apple, but its true worth is yet to be determined. If developers come up with clever ways of using the 64-bit support, iOS 7 and M7 coprocessor to their advantage, the 5s has the potential of being the best off-year flagship phone the company has made. If not, a lot of people might just wait it out another year.

Scott Stein of CNET:

The iPhone 5S feels like a “pro” phone more than ever, the iPhone equivalent of the MacBook Pro. Its features don’t feel as immediately consumer-understandable. For many, the iPhone 5C will do just fine. The biggest wished-for features — a MacBook Air-level battery life improvement and an even larger screen — aren’t on either new iPhone yet.

If you’re deep in the Apple ecosystem, the 5S could be the first step toward some new directions. Its improved speed, graphics, and elements of battery efficiency make it a better phone than the iPhone 5, in case you’ve waited to upgrade.

But if you already have an iPhone 5, I’d say it’s not a bad year to just wait. 

Anand Shimpi of AnandTech:

The iPhone 5s is quite possibly the biggest S-update we’ve ever seen from Apple. [..]

[..] The A7 SoC is seriously impressive. Apple calls it a desktop-class SoC, but I’d rather refer to it as something capable of competing with the best Intel has to offer in this market. 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. [..]

[..] The new camera is an evolutionary but much appreciated step forward compared to the iPhone 5. Low light performance is undoubtedly better, and Apple presents its users with an interesting balance of spatial resolution and low light sensitivity. [..]

[..] At the end of the day, if you prefer iOS for your smartphone – the iPhone 5s won’t disappoint. In many ways it’s an evolutionary improvement over the iPhone 5, but in others it is a significant step forward. What Apple’s silicon teams have been doing for these past couple of years has really started to pay off. From a CPU and GPU standpoint, the 5s is probably the most futureproof of any iPhone ever launched. As much as it pains me to use the word futureproof, if you are one of those people who likes to hold onto their device for a while – the 5s is as good a starting point as any.

Now that the iPhone 5s reviews are in (in case you were waiting for them), let us know what you plan to buy it or wait for the next generation iPhone.