Yes, fingerprint sensors are nothing new — I had one on a Toshiba Satellite X205 purchased back in 2007 — but the implementation on the 5s feels like the technology is finally taking a step into the future. And it’s not the only thing in the phone that feels that way.
But first, the present. The iPhone 5s looks almost exactly like the now discontinued iPhone 5. It has the same 4-inch Retina display and brushed aluminum backside, and the same chamfered bezel that gives the otherwise rounded rectangular device a gem-like appearance. Unless the gold version is in your hand, the metal-ringed home button and an elongated dual LED flash on the rear are really the only subtle physical differentiators from its predecessor.
The 64-bit A7 processor inside makes every action on the device blazingly fast. Every tap, swipe, and animation in iOS 7 just feels amazingly snappy.
For some, the 5s’ 4-inch display which will seem conspicuously small compared to most flagship Android handsets, and shared design with the iPhone 5 will be considered negatives. But for my hand size and smartphone needs, 4-inches is more than enough for videos and gaming, while still being comfortably pocketable.
Improved camera hardware and software
The Apple iPhone 5s kept the camera resolution at 8MP for a third generation in a row but make no mistake, it’s not the same camera. The sensor has been changed with a 15% bigger unit, which should improve low-light performance. The lens has a wider aperture too – it has gone from F/2.4 to F/2.2, which should allow 25% more light in, another thing to help low-light performance. And daylight performance of the iPhone 5 was already pretty great.
Time to go over the image quality, we’ll also bring in some iPhone 5 photos to see if there’s actual progress. iPhone photos have been some of the best in the business for a few years now and the iPhone 5s is no exception.