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A strong pick, but its true worth is yet to be determined

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The iPhone 5s is an evolution of the iPhone 5, and isn't necessarily a must-have. It ushers in new technologies that will soon be standard on all of Apple's devices. While most consumers will be happy with the 5c, the 5s is better-suited for gamers and power users.

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Critic reviews

8.9
35 reviews
  • Reception and call quality
    9.0
  • Display
    9.1
  • Battery life
    8.1
  • Camera
    9.3
  • Ease of use
    8.6
  • Design and form factor
    8.7
  • Portability (size / weight)
    8.3
  • Media support
    8.0
  • Durability
    8.2
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.)
    8.9

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User reviews

9.1
147 reviews
9.0
Engadget Sep 17, 2013

The iPhone 5s is an evolution of the iPhone 5, and isn't necessarily a must-have. It ushers in new technologies that will soon be standard on all of Apple's devices. While most consumers will be happy with the 5c, the 5s is better-suited for gamers and power users.

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9.0
TechCrunch Sep 17, 2013

With the iPhone 5s, Apple once again wins the right to claim the title of best smartphone available ... the device that grows more appealing as the software ecosystem catches up ... great news for buyers looking for something that isn’t so easily replaced by the next big thing that comes along.

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9.0
CNET Sep 17, 2013

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.

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9.0
AllThingsD Sep 17, 2013

If you are an iPhone fan with any model older than the iPhone 5, the new 5S will be a big step up. If you own an iPhone 5, there’s less of a case for upgrading, unless you want the fingerprint reader and improved camera.

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9.0
New York Times Sep 17, 2013

Apple still believes in superb design and tremendous polish. The iPhone is no longer the only smartphone that will keep you delighted for the length of your two-year contract — but it’s still among the few that will.

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9.0
PC Mag Sep 21, 2013

The iPhone 5s may be small, but it's packed with more power than any other smartphone on the market today. It's the best bet for anyone who wants a future-proof, forward-looking phone that runs an unbeatable array of apps.

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9.0
Macworld Sep 26, 2013

The iPhone 5s may look a lot like its predecessor. But with a faster new processor, a fingerprint sensor, and an improved camera flash, it's a serious upgrade.

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8.0
AnandTech Sep 17, 2013

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.

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8.0
Ars Technica Sep 24, 2013

Long story short, if you currently own an iPhone that is not an iPhone 5, this is the one you should get, if only because the 5S will guarantee you the best software experience for the longest amount of time.

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8.0
Laptop Magazine Sep 25, 2013

The iPhone 5s boasts a fantastic camera and an array of cutting edge technologies that make this compact smartphone a force to be reckoned with.

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8.0
Wired Sep 27, 2013

Like its predecessor, the iPhone 5s is one of the best handsets you can buy. But more importantly (and unlike much of its competition), the handset is laying the groundwork for the smartphones of tomorrow.

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10
Pocket-Lint Sep 17, 2013

What Apple has created here is a phone that is as exciting as it is dull. Apple has made it look effortless which is no simple task, but in doing so, by making it look too easy, you can sometime miss the beauty and power in your hand.

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10
Associated Press Sep 17, 2013

I had a lot of fun unlocking the phone over and over again. Who knew biometric authentication could be such a blast? The fingerprint sensor alone is worth the extra $100 you'll pay for the 5S over an iPhone 5C.

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9.0
ABC News Sep 17, 2013

If you can afford the additional $100 and can do with silver, gold or gray, get the 5S instead. The fingerprint sensor will make security less annoying, and the better camera will be more useful in documenting life.

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9.0
SlashGear Sep 17, 2013

The magic of the iPhone 5s is in how usable its improvements are. The updated camera is both fast and capable, with the True Tone flash proving itself to be no gimmick, while the Touch ID system feels like the first biometrics system that actually stands a chance of succeeding in the mass market.

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9.0
Wired UK Sep 24, 2013

Let's get this out of the way: this is the best iPhone Apple has ever built. It takes a winning formula and makes it better, faster, more future-proof.

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9.0
Time Sep 18, 2013

The iPhone 5s is a meaningful advance on the iPhone 5, and comfortably ahead of any phone that doesn’t have a picture of a piece of fruit on its backside.

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8.0
CNET UK Sep 24, 2013

The iPhone 5S doesn't really offer enough to justify upgrading from the iPhone 5. If you're on older iPhones though -- or you're looking to take your first steps into Apple's world -- its astonishing power, excellent camera and fingerprint scanner make it a great option to consider.

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10
T3 Sep 17, 2013

It’s not only Apple’s flagship iPhone but it’s also the best phone the company has ever made. The camera is extraordinary. Touch ID is revolutionary. The iPhone 5s is a stunner today, but expect the real fun to come tomorrow.

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10
Digital Versus Sep 30, 2013

The iPhone 5 is still a very good smartphone in today's market. It may not have a fingerprint sensor or a power-packed 64-bit processor like the 5s, but it still has a decent built-in camera and is powerful enough to run all the apps in the App Store without even flinching.

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9.0
The Telegraph Sep 17, 2013

The 5s is, overall, a beautiful piece of engineering, lovely to look at and lovely to hold. Is it a brilliant phone to use? Unequivocally. But the accusation is that Apple has lost its magic, and that it is no longer reinventing categories. And indeed it isn’t, because it doesn’t need to.

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9.0
VentureBeat Sep 25, 2013

Simply put, however, for those who want the ultimate iPhone — and just maybe the ultimate smartphone — the iPhone 5S is definitely full of Apple’s best, and it’s the clear first option.

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9.0
TechRadar Sep 18, 2013

... the combination of iOS 7 to freshen things up with a powerful core and great camera mean that this phone should be considered on its own considerable merits, and while the high price will continue to put many off ... will find a lot of joy in a phone that's a lot more than an iterative update.

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9.0
TrustedReviews Sep 25, 2013

The iPhone 5S may look like an iPhone 5, but it's better in all the right ways. If you are very comfortable with a bigger screen you might want to look elsewhere, but the iPhone 5S is a consummate performer that puts very few steps wrong.

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9.0
IGN Oct 3, 2013

The differences may not be enough to sway owners of last year's model, but regardless of whether you're upgrading or buying an iPhone for the first time, the iPhone 5S is unquestionably better in every way, and still one of the best phones on the market.

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8.0
Gizmodo Australia Sep 22, 2013

From the much-improved low-light camera, the beefed up security that TouchID brings and the blistering hardware speed that comes from the A7-driven, 64-bit revolution the iPhone has guts that represent much more than just an off-cycle device refresh.

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8.0
Phone Scoop Sep 23, 2013

Anyone with an iPhone 4 or 4S should upgrade right away. If you're using an iPhone 5, there's less reason to run to the Apple store since many of the features are baked into iOS 7. The Apple iPhone 5s is an excellent device, as long as you're OK with the limitations of Apple's hardware and software.

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9.0
The Loop Sep 17, 2013

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.

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9.0
HotHardware Sep 24, 2013

The latest iPhone (the 5s, in this case) is indeed the best iPhone yet. While it looks the same on the outside, Apple's internal upgrades have delivered a phone that's blisteringly fast and a pleasure to use.

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10
Stuff Sep 18, 2013

The Apple haters are wrong about the iPhone 5s: this is one hell of a phone. It’s far more of an upgrade than it first seems, both as a result of its upgraded, forward-thinking hardware and its excellent new OS.

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9.0
USA Today Sep 17, 2013

Taken in totality, the features new to the iPhone 5s make what I consider to be the best smartphone on the market even better, helped enormously by Apple owning the entire end-to-end experience. In my view, iOS is still simpler to use than Android, and made even simpler in iOS 7.

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8.0
MobileBurn Oct 8, 2013

The iPhone 5S is a worthy upgrade to anyone entrenched in the world of Apple, and once Apple addresses its annoying limitations, it might convince a few more people to enter that world.

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First Looks

product preview
Engadget Sep 10, 2013

As you may have already heard, the 5s is rather similar in overall hardware to the iPhone 5, though there are a few changes in key places.

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product preview
Wired Sep 10, 2013

We're out at Apple's event and got hands-on time with the new model. In the hand it feels identical to the existing iPhone; the design, screen, weight, thickness and materials remain almost entirely unchanged.

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product preview
TechCrunch Sep 10, 2013

It’s not very surprising that Apple has delivered a new iPhone that seems at first glance to be among the best smartphones in the business, if not definitely the new overall king. But what is surprising is that something like a built-in fingerprint scanner can make such a difference.

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product preview
AnandTech Sep 10, 2013

Brian just went hands on with Apple's new iPhone 5S, showing off its performance (courtesy of the new 64-bit A7 SoC), Touch ID fingerprint sensor and camera features. Check it all out in the video.

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product preview
CNET Sep 10, 2013

It looks like Apple's using this year to refine peripheral technology around the iPhone rather than heading in a bold new direction ... but if Touch ID makes the iPhone 5S more secure, it'll be no small feature.

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PC World Sep 10, 2013

With the phone locked, it literally took just a touch to unlock and jump to the home screen. Unlike my previous frustrating experiences, the fingerprint lock should make it faster and easier to get into your home screen while keeping it secure from others.

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PC Mag Sep 10, 2013

To some extent, the 5S is the easier of Apple's two new phones to get right. After all, Apple isn't doing badly at all with high-end phone buyers and folks in countries like the U.S. where subsidies hide the true cost of smartphones.

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Ars Technica Sep 10, 2013

The phone was running iOS 7, and performance seemed good even though zooming around the UI is about the least taxing thing you can do on an iPhone.

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Laptop Magazine Sep 10, 2013

Setting up the fingerprint sensor was easy; tap your finger on the sensor a number of times until it registers the various details of your fingerprint. ... After, opening the phone by holding our finger on the sensor took less than a second; it’s certainly faster than entering a four-digit code.

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product preview
New York Times Sep 10, 2013

I trained it to recognize my finger, then used it to unlock the phone a couple of times. It worked perfectly, which is a welcome advance. And the placement on the Home button is ingenious.

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product preview
Macworld Sep 10, 2013

In using the iPhone 5s briefly, we found it speedy and snappy, and iOS 7 looks great. We weren’t able to run any benchmark tests or particularly hungry apps, so there was no way to put to the test Apple’s claims of it being twice as fast as the iPhone 5 in many tasks.

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product preview
SlashGear Sep 10, 2013

It’s early days – both the biometrics and the camera features will take real-world use to properly assess – but it already feels like a solid upgrade over the iPhone 5.

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product preview
Pocket-Lint Sep 10, 2013

Starting with the processor, it's faster, much faster, and while we found that made very little difference in swiping between menus it does instantly make a difference in games...

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product preview
PC Advisor Sep 11, 2013

The iPhone 5S is the first 64-bit smartphone. It comes with an all-new A7 chip with 64-bit architecture. It also has what Apple calls an M7 motion coprocessor, which should mean a lot more apps that use motion-tracking, such as fitness apps.

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product preview
Mashable Sep 10, 2013

The Apple iPhone 5S clearly has some real power (a new A7 chip) and startling innovation: a fingerprint ID and home button all in one. No doubt there will be many more secrets to reveal when we get a chance to properly review the new smartphone.

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product preview
The Telegraph Sep 10, 2013

The fingerprint sensor, called Touch ID, is a thin circle around the device’s existing home button, and removes the need to enter a pin code to activate the device, but Apple did not claim it would replace the need for more advanced security features.

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product preview
T3 Sep 10, 2013

From our early play with the iPhone 5s, we expect that the improvements in performance and features will attract the early-adopting Apple faithful as well as those finally looking to upgrade from an iPhone 4S. The refreshed iOS 7 might even tempt some Android and Windows Mobile users.

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product preview
VentureBeat Sep 10, 2013

The biometric features, graphics rendering for games, and new camera will have to be the big selling features for current iPhone users, but we doubt this will be enough to woo current Android/Windows users over to the dark side.

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TechRadar Sep 10, 2013

We would like a touch more heft with the metallic chassis, as it almost feels too light the first time you hold it, but with more colours, more power and a spec list that feels like it's got the right mix of performance and precision, we can see the iPhone 5S being the top-selling device.

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product preview
TrustedReviews Sep 10, 2013

It’s tricky to gauge whether Apple has done enough with the iPhone 5S to silence those that criticise it for lacking innovation. The fingerprint scanner is certainly a USP and the design is still great, but it may not be enough to stop the hordes jumping on the Android bandwagon.

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product preview
CNN Sep 10, 2013

It worked seamlessly when I tested it, though adding new profiles takes a bit of time. But it's a much faster way to open the phone than entering a pass code, and there is no "reading your print now" type of delay on screen.

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product preview
IGN Sep 10, 2013

Like previous entries in Apple's "S" series of iPhones, the iPhone 5S offers upgraded components and exclusive software features in a form factor otherwise near identical to last year's model. The big changes are obviously the new and improved camera, 64-bit A7 processor, and fingerprint scanner.

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product preview
AppleInsider Sep 12, 2013

While not evident on the outside (or even in spec listings, where the camera element is "still" rated as 8 megapixels), the camera sensor itself is also enhanced, using a 15 percent larger sensor with larger 1.5 micron pixels.

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product preview
The Loop Sep 10, 2013

Unlocking the iPhone 5S was very slick—just rest your finger on the Home button and the phone unlocks immediately. You don’t have to press or move your finger around waiting for it to be recognized—it just worked.

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9.0
frankspin frankspin

Coming over from Android I had a lot of concerns about if I could transition properly and learn to accept the differences, and I have had no issues. I do have an iPad so that helped a bit, but I do use my phone and tablet in different manners. That said, if you're looking to make the switch...

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9.0
thepine thepine

Of all the improvements Apple made with this upgrade, the one I find most notable is the fact that they addressed the chipping issue suffered by any iPhone 5. I've taken my phone in an out of its case on purpose and have yet to see any kind of chipping on the finish. The camera is a noticeable...

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9.0
oakie oakie

after 6 years, it's still the iPhone you recognize but further refined and nearing perfection. they took the iPhone 5 design and further refined it, resulting in a more consistent and repeatable hardware experience with very few finding defects in materials and finish unlike the iPhone 5 release...

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9.0
nightfly4257 nightfly4257

This is the most beautiful and perfect iPhone yet. The new A7 processor makes it very quick especially in iOS 7 and the gem of this iPhone is that touch ID. The touch ID adds a new level of security and it works perfectly. I want touch ID on all my Apple devices.

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9.0
johncolucci johncolucci

This is a pretty cool phone, it was as many noted, an incremental update to the iPhone 5, and I liked how it felt and looked in Gold. I also liked the camera, it felt fast and nimble. But, I returned it! And not for the reasons you think. The week I received the new 5s, I called Apple to get...

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9.0
cjtylr cjtylr

Reviewing the "S" model of an iPhone is always difficult, just because it's almost always internal changes. Yes, it's very quick, the camera is better in low-light, and Touch ID is crazy cool. But, on the outside, the thing that usually sets a phone apart, it's the same as the 5. So I'm just...

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10
dbreuning dbreuning

The golden standard in smartphones (again) Coming from a 4S I can only say: my mind is blown. Before the 4S I had a 4. Upgrading in between the same design form factor is not all that good of an upgrade. But if you want the latest and greatest, that's the game to play. I've had almost every...

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9.0
jexner325 jexner325

I have been an Apple fanatic for some time, so upgrading to the 5S from the 5 was really more out of a need to enjoy the best, not because the 5 was a poor phone. First, the 5/5S screen is simply too small and I constantly envy people with an S4 or HTC One. It is apparent Apple missed this one...

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9.0
falleninsea falleninsea

The hardest part of reviewing this phone is that every one know what an iPhone is and the only thing you can really compare it to is its predecessor. Yes, people will complain about it not being as good or as fast or as open an Android phone but in the its not an Android phone it’s an iPhone and...

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9.0
greginsa greginsa

This is a must have upgrade for anyone due for an upgrade (i.e. 4S users or older). Even users of the 5 who use the phone a lot and take many pictures will see the benefit of the newer processor, the fingerprint sensor, and the improved camera hardware/app.

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9.0
iqwan iqwan

Every tick has its tock. Every leap forward in design, a follow up in performance, and optics, and special features. Every new iPhone, its S-class successor. That was the story of the iPhone 3GS in 2009 with its speed doubling, video recording, and voice control. Of the iPhone 4S in 2011, with...

video review
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9.0
luc luc

Introduction: I've been using the iPhone 5s for 3 weeks now and I don't want to go too over board in this review because I'm sure enough people here and elsewhere already have but I just wanted to share my thoughts. I have bought 6 of the past 7 iPhones since the original and I can...

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10
Born2bwild Born2bwild

Overall it's a fantastic phone. It does everything I want, and very quickly. It is sleek and has a beautiful design. Camera is great, and TouchID is a nice new feature. Overall, I am happy to come back to iOS and iPhone after Android.

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