If you want to be the proud new owner of one of the best smartphones on the market, you really only have two options: the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5S. Clearly, neither phone is perfect, and defenders of the Galaxy series are primed for a well-fought argument. But when it comes to all-around performance and design, these are truly the most advanced phone available. What are the significant differences between these two very similar phones? Is the 5S worth the upgrade? We’ll compare the two models in all the categories that matter, so that you can make the right call when it comes time to upgrade. Once you’ve made your decision, get the most out of it by learning how to master your iPhone.
If aesthetics are your highest priority, stop reading now, save yourself a lot of money and buy the iPhone 5. Both the 5 and 5S are contained within the same thin, space-age, beveled-edge housing. If you were to measure them to the nearest tenth of a millimeter, the numbers would be exactly the same. Aluminum and glass? Check. No disgusting 5C plastic here. Even the volume controls and locations of the headphone jack, charging port, speaker, microphone and SIM card are in the same locations. There are, however, three “noteworthy” differences when it comes to design function. First, on the back of the 5S, there is the new dual flash, which is slightly oval shaped compared to the perfectly round flash on the 5. This new flash is supposed to improve image quality in odd lighting, as well, and you can get amazing results by applying professional photography techniques. Second, on the front of the 5S, there is the signature home button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. Nobody is questioning how awesome or amazing this is, but it is definitely not a necessity. Still, it’s quite beautiful, with a stainless steel rim and sapphire crystal scanner. Third, color options. For the 5, you have black and white. The 5S has a slightly more diverse selection: gold and silver backs with a white front, or a gray back with a black front. In other words, the colors of money and power.
The 5 already had a stunning display, and Apple has not yet felt the need to upgrade, so the 5S offers the same features. Both offer a four-inch retina display (1136×640), with 326ppi. If the resolution were any better, you literally would not be able to tell the difference. So, on this point, it’s a toss-up whether the 5 or 5S is better.
This one’s not even close. The iPhone 5S blows the 5 out of the water with its primary performance upgrades, and then, while it’s flying through the air, it blows it to smithereens with its secondary improvements. The 5S features the new, drastically more powerful A7 chip, coupled with the new addition of a M7 co-processor. The 5, on the other hand, has the “old” A6 chip and no co-processor to watch its back in hairy situations. That being said, app designers are still trying to take advantage of this new performance (you can join the movement with this step-by-step, three-day iPhone programming course), and the general consensus is that the A6 chip is plenty fast. Even the old A5 was pretty easy to live with. And we haven’t even mentioned the new 64-bit technology in the A7. It might not be used to its full potential quite yet, but it won’t be long. If you do run any heavy-duty apps, this is where the 5S stays cool as a cucumber. Another positive side effect is better battery life in the 5S, which is aided by the M7 co-processor, as well. The M7 uses the accelerometers, gyroscopes, and other crazy little devices to optimize battery life (it can tell when the phone hasn’t moved for a while, for example).
This really boils down to the fingerprint scanner, which not only takes smartphone security to a previously unimaginable level, it also saves the user a lot of time. No more entering your four-digit passcode a hundred times a day. Just place your thumb on the home button and the phone automatically unlocks in about half a second. You can even easily program the scanner to recognize different prints, if you think you’ll be using both thumbs or if you want to grant access to friends or family. Both models still feature the Find My iPhone option as well.
Both the 5 and 5S offer the same storage options: 16 GB; 32 GB; and 64 GB. The more storage you want, the more you’re going to pay (if you’re ready to upgrade, you’re looking at $199, $299 and $399 respectively). It’s as simple as that.
I already mentioned the new dual-flash on the 5S. But the new camera features some other noteworthy upgrades that definitely improve image quality. First of all, the 8 MP camera on the 5S has a 15% larger pixel size (1.5 microns) than the 5. The aperture is significantly larger, too, which allows light and color to flow more freely into the lens. And yes, the dual flash kicks in to minimize dark spots and provide more even coloring. It really works, too. Pictures no longer have the “whoa, take it easy on the flash” look. They look more natural, and the contrast is about ten times better, too. Both the 5 and 5S have new photography tools. There are some new filters to choose from (fade, noir, sepia, etc.), as well as features like image stabilizers and new software interfaces. The 5S really kills the competition when it comes to the new slow motion and quick shutter options (called Slo-Mo and Burst). Burst lets you take 10 photos per second, and Slo-Mo is capable of shooting video at 120 frames per second (in 720p, mind you). This lets you slow down video to twenty-five percent of real time. I mean, these are the options we live for, am I right?
So which is better? Both the 5 and 5s have great features, and while the 5s is upgraded, it really depends on your priorities – price or performance. Either way, get the most of your iPhone camera with these iPhone photography secrets.