Courtesy of Scott Granados, I present to you yet another excellent review he has written and kindly given permission to post here.
Ok, since there’s interest…
REVIEW Apple iPhone 5S
So, I officially have joined the Apple Fan Boys and waited on line to jump on the latest and greatest from Apple, the iPhone 5S. I ended up waiting about an hour and a quarter and it was well worth the wait.
The specific device I purchased was the iPhone 5S, Space Grey with 64GB of storage. As in all previous releases, the iPhone was priced at 199 for the 16 GB version through to $399 for the 64 GB version and of course this was with an upgrade or free new customer activation.
Activation was very simple, I added a line to my shared data plan which I use for my hotspot I use for work, signed a few forms on an iPad with my thumb and the store rep booted the phone and activated. He also installed the phone in a new case and applied my employee discounts etc and the whole process for 2 phones was done in under a half hour.
IN THE BOX
In the new iPhone box comes the phone itself, a lightning to USB cable, AC to USB power adapter and a small pastil case containing the new ear pod headphones. The packaging is the same fitted / stylized box with the phone on top and the cabling / docs in layers underneath.
THE PHONE It Self
The phone itself is very similar to all the other models with a few exceptions. It’s a little longer in length similar to the iPhone 5, thinner just like the 5 with glass front / back, outer metal border and on the 5S like the 5 the lightning and headphone jacks are at the bottom of the phone. Mute switch is in the same position above the two volume buttons but on the 5S it’s inverted so pushing it down unmutes instead of mutes like on the 4 / 4S series. As always, you will want to buy a nice case for your device on day 1. It’s beautiful but fragile.
Another difference you’ll find is there’s now a small ring around the home key. That’s for the thumb print reader.
Specific to the version version of the phone, it’s shipped unlocked and supports both GSM and CDMA. The configuration Verizon sells is truly a world phone since you can easily pop in SIMM chips from other carriers.
WHAT’s Under the HOOD.
In the iPhone 5S you’ll find a brand new A7 processor which is noticeably faster for the user, an M7 motion chip which does things like reduces the network ping times when stationary, speaks to outboard devices and is actively involved in power management and a vastly improved radio which supports all the LTE bands as well as all the Transmission protocols. Other improvements include dual band WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Over All the phone feels like a big step up from the 4S and a noticeable step up in performance from the 5. IOS 7 was clearly optimized for this phone and feels much more stable and snappy on a 5S. The increase in length is more than offset by the thinness and fits nicely in a pocket or bag. The finger print while tedious to set up is amazingly accurate and I can clearly see this being used for more and more as the software develops. One important note though is you can’t use a case that covers the home key like the life proof. Otterbox makes a case that supports the new censor so you might go in that direction. If you want to use the thumb print scanner you need to use a case that supports it, remember that when ordering.
Performance wise, things like safari seem remarkably faster. Page load times have been reduced drastically. LTE support is very good including supporting voice over LTE once available on the network.
Battery usage is ok, it’s not great but it’s not as bad as the 4S either. Drain seems highest when downloading content while watching video. The usage claims Apple makes seem pretty accurate though and in this case make a pretty good guide.
Over all, I’d say the phone is worth the money, it’s not revolutionary but it’s evolutionary. It’s a nice refresh of an already good product. I’d say worth the money if you’re upgrading from anything 4S series or earlier and save your money if you already have the 5 and wait for the 6.
As for carriers, you can buy the phone on any carrier now. AT&T still supports simultaneous data and voice which VZW will not until sometime before the end of the year. (Sprint does not have a VOLTE roadmap yet that I am aware of) T-Mobile uses HSPA heavily but with the new radio you should get a decent experience.
Over all, I’d give the phone 4.5 stars. It’s better and feels like a nice upgrade but it’s not earth shatteringly good like the upgrade to the 4 was.:) Apple does have a winner on it’s hands, go forth and buy one, you’ll be happy.