The first reviews of the new iPhone 5s are in, and for those of us who are drooling over the specs of this newest member of the iPhone family, those reviews are good news indeed. The foremost, and probably the review that will be quoted the most by the rest of the blogosphere, is from AllThingsD king 'o the hill Walt Mossberg. We'll jump straight to the closing line: "Overall, however, the new iPhone 5s is a delight. Its hardware and software make it the best smartphone on the market."
Mossberg waxes poetic about the Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 5s, saying that "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." That statement alone should relieve those potential iPhone 5s buyers who were worried that Touch ID was just a gimmick. Mossberg goes on to say "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."
Mossberg's not the only reviewer who is ecstatic about the iPhone 5s. Jim Dalrymple from The Loop reported that "Speed increases are something we expect with new Apple products, but the iPhone 5s goes above and beyond expectations. In addition to the faster processor, the iPhone 5s is also the world's first 64-bit phone. These changes make the 5s up to twice as fast as the iPhone 5-that's a significant increase."
Darrell Etherington at our sister site TechCrunch was also thrilled with the 5s, noting that the "camera is epic" and providing this input about Touch ID: "At first glance, it's easy to dismiss the fingerprint sensor as a whiz-bang feature designed to attract eyeballs and do little else. But this isn't that. The fingerprint sensor, unlike some other questionable recent smartphone tech like gesture control or eye-tracking, doesn't feel like a gimmick or tech demo; it feels like a mature feature that actually enhances the overall experience of using an iPhone in a noticeable way that you encounter very frequently." Tech Crunch has also posted a video review.
New York Times tech writer David Pogue was equally thrilled with Touch ID: "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."
CNET's Scott Stein also weighed in on Touch ID, saying "The Touch ID-enabled home button feels invisible; it works with a tap, can recognize your finger from many angles, and feels like it has less of a fail rate than fingerprint sensors I've used on laptops. It's impressive tech. It worked on all my fingers, and even my toe (I was curious)."
Myriam Joire of our other sister site Engadget, a true fan of the Nokia Lumia 1020, spent a lot of time talking about the iPhone 5s camera: "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."
If you're looking for the definitive monster review of the iPhone 5s, I'd suggest going to Anandtech.com's review by none other than Anand Lal Shimpi, the editor-in-chief of the site. It's an epic review of the proportions usually written by John SIracusa or Federico Viticci, and it answers questions you didn't even think of.
Enjoy the reviews, and be sure to come back to TUAW for our coverage of the release of iOS 7 and the two new iPhones.