After the dust settles, the hype dies down, the queues disappear and people are living with their new iPhones – the question is – is it worth the upgrade? EFTM has been using the 5s and 5c for two weeks – this is our verdict.
Apple’s strategy in 2013 is slightly different to years gone by. No longer is “last year’s” model available. Instead they’ve phased it out, left the two-year old iPhone 4S on sale and replaced the iPhone 5 with a 5c. The new top end of town is the iPhone 5s. It’s likely this strategy plays into its own in 2014 when the model range has 11 devices in it. Five iPhone 5c’s, Three iPhone 5s’ and Three iPhone 6’s. But that’s just speculation.
Let’s look at reality.
Under the hood the 5c is the iPhone 5. Same screen, same processor, same camera same pretty much everything. On the outside however it’s a whole new story.
A hardened plastic back replaces the slate or silver look and the metal sides all around. This material – similar if not identical to that used by Nokia on its Lumia phones is a solid feel and with Apple’s normal precision is faultless in its matching to the screen it holds up front.
Available in five colours, the pink is brighter than you’d expect from the photos online, the blue and yellow are a slightly ‘dulled off’ colour and the green sits closer to the pink in terms of being outlandish in its appeal. Then there is white.
Matched with one of Apple’s own rubber cases you’ll spend plenty of time working on a colour combo to suit your personality.
Performance wise it’s the iPhone 5 and that’s a force to be reckoned with by any measure.
Taking the design from last year’s refreshed looking iPhone 5, the 5s comes in three colours this year – adding a new “gold” to the lineup.
First thing you’ll need to know is that the gold is not bright and outlandish – it’s a subtle coloring which looks fantastic in the flesh. The hardest of the three to get hold of because so many people want to show off that they have the new one, the gold will be hard to resist for many.
Other than the colours, there is only one feature which defines the 5s as its own device alongside the 5. Around the home button a small ring around the round home button. This ring is about 1mm wide and is silver on the white model and gold on in colour on the gold phone. The ring is the sensor which detects your finger on the home button and enables the iPhone 5s’ key feature.
Touch ID is Apple’s way of swapping a password for biometrics. You touch your finger on the home button and hey presto it knows who you are and lets you in.
The same identification can be used for purchasing apps, music and movies also.
It seemed to me like a feature for feature sake when it was first rumoured, but today, as I reach for an iPhone 5 to help someone change a setting or demonstrate something, I seem to always find myself holding my finger on the button – wanting and waiting for fingerprint recognition.
The device “reads” and “stores” your fingerprint through a quick process of tapping and holding the button until it has “seen” enough of your finger. It’s amazing just to watch it do this.
Without doubt a “useless” feature which we soon wont be able to live without.
Aside from processor improvements and the introduction of a 64 bit architecture (seriously, geeks car – you don’t have to), the other key feature is the camera.
It’s been improved again, and a dual flash LED system introduced to reproduce more life-like tones in your photos.
But the killer feature for me – Slo-mo video recording.
Choose slo-mo and you can record any activity and watch it back in slow motion. You’ll waste many minutes and several megabytes of space playing around with this awesome feature.
For parents, capturing some classic kid moments in slow motion is almost priceless.
Should you upgrade?
Well, it’s a “how long is a piece of string” question. Assuming the plans or pricing are not an issue, if you’re an iPhone 4 or 4S user yes – its time to upgrade. The taller screen, the additional power, it’s well worth it today.
If you’re an iPhone 5 user – then no, sit tight, unless you have a deep love for biometrics or a burning desire to do slow motion video, the 5 is still a top quality phone.
iPhone 4 and older users can and should consider the 5c as it offers the giant leap in performance and usability, but at a slightly lower entry point than the flagship 5s
I’m new to iPhone – which one should I get?
For those of you new to smartphones or upgrading from something that is perhaps a bit simple, the iPhone range offers a lot of choice.
If money is tight then there are plenty of deals on the iPhone 4S, and it is still a good phone – however, know that you are buying into old technology. Several years old. The iPhone 5c might just be the perfect starting point for your Apple experience, but as always, if money’s not a concern the 5s is the latest and the best, so it really is a matter of working your way up from the bottom.
Apple have done it again, great quality, snappy performance and an App ecosystem to make their device the best in class. I don’t care what anyone says.