Apple’s newest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5S, doesn’t hit stores until Sept. 20. Some reviewers, however, have already had the opportunity to spend a few days with the smartphone.
So, what are they all saying?
The iPhone 5S’s biggest claim to fame is its new Touch ID fingerprint scanner. The scanner stores a virtual picture of your fingerprint, and enables you to unlock your phone, or even make iTunes purchases using your finger as a password.
Engadget reviewer Myriam Joire found the setup process for the phone’s Touch ID simple, noting that it took less than a minute for the handset to pick up prints.
Joire said, “The scanner was able to pick up all of our fingers in fractions of a second and from any angle. It’s so natural, in fact, that we almost forgot that passwords and unlock screens even existed on the 5S; on countless occasions we tried to unlock the iPhone 5 and 5C with the scanner before realizing that we had to use the ‘old-fashioned’ slide-to-unlock method.”
The 5S’ camera also saw a huge upgrade, adding a wider f/2.2 aperture and new camera sensor, which is 15% larger than before. What’s more, a new burst mode lets you take 10 photos in one second, and videos can be recorded in slow motion.
New York Times reviewer David Pogue was impressed with the camera on the 5S, saying that it was one of the most noticeable feature changes.
“Its sensor is 15% bigger, and the individual light-detecting pixels are bigger. Take photos side-by-side with the iPhone 5S’ predecessor, and the difference is immediately obvious,” Pogue said. “Lowlight pictures are far better on the new phone. Clearer, brighter, better color.”
Pogue added that the camera’s flash is particularly impressive: “Flash photos look much, much better. No longer will your loved ones’ skin look either nuclear white or ‘Avatar’ blue.”
Here are some snippets from early reviews that have hit the web:
Engadget: “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.”
Techradar: “The iPhone 5S is a phone that takes everything Apple has learned in this space over the last six and a half years and put it together in an incredibly cohesive manner.”
CNET: “The iPhone 5S is not a required upgrade, but it’s easily the fastest and most advanced Apple smartphone to date.”
Slashgear: “Would we pick the iPhone 5s over the iPhone 5c? In a heartbeat. The camera, convenience, and performance increases make that a no-brainer decision for smartphone power users. That trifecta of talents also makes a strong case against the top-tier Android devices, too: Apple still dominates the market for hand-friendly phones with flagship performance.”
The Loop: “If you’re the type of person that always has to have the latest and greatest gadget, then this is the device for you.”
New York Times: “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.”
All Things Digital: “Then there’s the new operating system on this phone, called iOS 7. Its new look, new user interface and new functions represent the biggest overhaul to the iPhone’s core software since the original model launched in 2007.”
Slashgear: “We’ve come to expect evolution not revolution from the “S” update to Apple’s iPhone range, but the iPhone 5s could be enough to buck that trend.”
Pocket-lint: “Not once have we thought anything took too long to load. But if you are an iPhone 5 user expecting the 5S to be twice the speed of what you’ve been using, you’ll find that’s not the case.”
The iPhone 5S will be available on Sept. 20 at 8 a.m. local time in nine countries: the United States, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and the UK. It will be available in Apple Stores, mobile carriers, and big-box retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart. Similar to previous generations, the 5S will come with 16, 32 or 64 GB of storage for $199, $299 and $399, respectively. The phone is launching in three colors: gold, silver and space gray.