Friday, October 11, 2013


The iPhone 5S is Apple's latest attempt to stay at the sharp end of the smartphone market, and it's even trying to do that with an iterative update.
Detractors will point to the identical shell (colours aside) of the iPhone 5S and claim that it's not much more than a rebadged iPhone 5 (nope... that's the iPhone 5C, people) but to do that misses the point of this new device massively.

We liked

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.
If you want to match it spec for spec with other smartphones, then it's a difficult task - but it misses the point of Apple's new device.
Below the surface Apple has put together one of the most cutting-edge smartphones around, imbued with a top-end camera and a really innovative feature with Touch ID.
There's only so much that smartphone manufacturers can do to differentiate these days, and while Apple can't expect consumers to be wowed by the same shell, it can expect to get some interest in the sharp camera and gives a sense of relief with the new A7 chip.
We're also really intrigued to see what the M7 chip alongside will do - Apple is giving developers a really cool tool to play with, and it looks like it won't be too long before we see the fruits of that.
Yes, the A7 chip doesn't have a huge role to play now, but it does make things like camera use so much faster, and facilitates the increased security in Touch ID.

We disliked

We'll start with a different refrain: the screen technology on offer here is what upsets us most. There will be a lot of upgraders from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5S, and many of them will be disappointed to see that two years later they're still looking at the same resolution, albeit a bit stretched out.
The only reason they'll be a little sad is that the Full HD screens of the rivals are so much more impressive - in its own iPhone 5S world, the screen is just fine and looks great and clear - but woe betide anyone that sees one of the larger devices out there.
We do want to applaud Apple for sticking to its guns and offering up a decent choice for those that like a smaller display, but this is already too big for one hand, so a little more real estate wouldn't go amiss.
And then there's the price. Some reviewers don't seem to think this should be taken into account, that the mere fact Apple can command such a high cost for its phones, both on contract and SIM free, and still sell millions shows this is a moot point.
Perhaps it was less of an issue when Apple was such a market leader, but now there are at least three worthy competitors out there, and they all cost significantly less.
We can't see what lives in the iPhone 5S to justify being the most expensive phone on the market, although we do recognise the effort that's gone into the premium design and spec list for the 5S.
Battery life is also a little suspect for our liking, and we're already considering buying a second charger to carry around.


The iPhone 5S is, predictably, the best iPhone ever from Apple - but what's intriguing is just how much we enjoyed using this evolutionary device.
There's always an apathy with any kind of 'S' device from Apple, as it's historically just the same thing made a little bit better. It's true the advances on the iPhone 5S are few, but the ones that are there are very impressive indeed.
64 bit apps, while consumers are paying to not have access yet, are coming to really turbocharge the experience, and the A7 processor is clearly capable of some very heavy lifting.
The camera is improved impressively, taking some excellent shots with minimal backlift needed from the user, and the Touch ID sensor is the first real step into biometrics on a smartphone, and one that Apple has succeeded in implementing.
So to say this is the best iPhone yet is relatively pointless, as of course it was going to be. But the combination of iOS 7 to freshen things up with a powerful core and great camera mean that this phone should be considered on its own considerable merits, and while the high price will continue to put many off, anyone already wedded to the iPhone bandwagon, or even if they're just on the fence, will find a lot of joy in a phone that's a lot more than an iterative update.

Official photos

iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review

Hands on pictures

iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review


When it comes to applications the App Store on the iPhone 5S really only has one competitor in the form of Google Play, and it's fair to say that the App Store still comes out on top in terms of quality - if not quantity.
At last count earlier this year, Apple confirmed it had over 900,000 applications in its App Store, so there's plenty for you to choose from including business related content, fitness apps and games.
iPhone 5C review
The store itself is simple to navigate with various categories to drill down into to find the apps best suited to you, and the Top Charts shows you which ones are the most popular at the moment - and ultimately the ones which are worth downloading.
You can download a maximum of three applications simultaneously on the iPhone 5S, letting you get your favourite apps onto the phone even quicker.
If you select more than three to download the others will wait in the wings on your homescreen and will commence downloading when another has finished.
Apps such as Clock, Calendar, Weather, Calculator and Compass are all self explanatory, intuitive and have been given a visual reboot thanks to iOS 7.
iPhone 5C review
The Passbook app arrived with iOS 6 last year and provides you with a storage area for all your loyalty and gift cards, cinema tickets and airplane boarding passes.
It's scope is limited depending on which region you live in and there's only a handful of applications which current support the Passbook way of life - although most of the major airlines have tie ins with the service, as do the likes of Starbucks, AirBnB and yPlan.
Passbook seems like the perfect opportunity to work inNFC to the iPhone ecosystem, but calls for the contactless technology have continued to fall on deaf ears over at Apple - the wait goes on, and looks like it may do so forever.
In short Passbook has a lot of potential, it just hasn't been realised by Apple or app developers yet.
Overall, many apps in the store need something of a refresh to make sure they play nicely with iOS 7. For instance: GMail still uses the old keyboard from iOS 6. Netflix and Adidas MiCoach won't recognise the phone. Some games will crash where the ran fine on the iPhone 5.
We're sure this will happen soon, and many may not even notice it, so we'll be checking back and updating the review in the near future.


Siri makes a return to the iPhone arena on the iPhone 5S and thanks to the iOS 7 update it's got a few new tricks up its sleeve - including the ability for you to choose whether it's a woman's or man's dulcet tones which ask you "what can I help you with?"
Just hold down the home button to activate Siri, or hold down the central button on the earpods cable if you're in need of some hands-free action.
iPhone 5S review
All the usual commands are present, from making a call and writing a text to setting a reminder to buy milk and finding out if you need to take an umbrella with you - because looking out of the window is difficult.
You can ask your virtual assistant to launch applications - although we found this a little unnecessary - and with the help of WolframAlpha you can ask poignant questions such as "how many days until Christmas?" or "how far away is the moon?" It's enlightening stuff.
We still think Siri trumps the Google Now offering in Android, but it's usefulness varies from country to country - with the best service available in the States where far more services are intertwined with the personal assistant.
Siri has become more useful with iOS 7, there's little disputing that, and the range of answers and information it can give is inching closer to day by day use. It's not great for some things, especially outside of the US, but we don't hate it as much any more. That's a win.
While Apple's own business orientated applications, aimed at taking on Microsoft's Office suite and Google Docs, don't come pre-installed on the iPhone 5S it's worth noting these apps are now available to download free on all newly purchased iPhones.
This means you can get access to Pages (a word processor), Keynote (a PowerPoint rival) and Numbers (basically Excel) free of charge, which will be a godsend for anyone looking to use the iPhone 5S for business. You'll also get iPhoto and iMovie for free too, and really does supercharge the iPhone when it comes to being a fully-formed device right out of the box.
All your documents are backed up to iCloud as well, meaning they'll be available on any of your iDevices or Macs - plus you can also access them via any web browser by going to the iCloud website.
Let's face it: if you want the best apps experience out there, then Apple still has it. While the top end of Android devices are pretty universal in their slick UI and power for apps, Google Play still has to deal with so much fragmentation.
Google has done a fantastic job at managing to overcome this problem, but its rare we'll download an app on an iPhone and an Android device and not be more impressed by the UI (if perhaps not always the functionality) on the iPhone or iPad.

Maps and navigation

Maps is a contentious area of the Apple ecosystem since its rather embarrassing launch which saw the whole of the internet go about spotting the myriad of errors in the software. It lead to an Apple climb down and CEO Tim Cook recommending users try alternative solutions until a fix in place.
A year on and we're still waiting for the major overhaul to take place - Maps is still determined when we type "Luton" that we mean a tiny village in Devon rather and the large Bedfordshire based town.
iPhone 5C review
Some things have been fixed, Doncaster for example is now spelt correctly, but there's still quite some way for Apple Maps to go before it can seriously challenge Google Maps, with elements like public transport integration not on offer.
Of course it's not always bad news and for the most part Maps works pretty well, and it's able to comprehend where we are and where we want to go.
iPhone 5C review
The colour palette is pleasing to the eye and everything is very easy to read with various points of interest marked on the map including restaurants, hospitals and train stations.
Maps load very quickly on the iPhone 5S, be it over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G, so there's no awkward waiting around when you fire up the app, and unlike the 5C, the 5S was very fast at locating us. We're surprised about this, as the location chips inside should be the same, but clearly the A7 chip is playing a part here.
Turn Wi-Fi off and try and locate yourself when indoors and the 5S struggles to really nail down your location, placing a large blue halo round the location dot, which is usually in the right vicinity.
iPhone 5C review
As well as the stock map view you can also view the world in a series of satellite images or choice a hybrid option which sees roads laid on top of the satellite snaps.
However unlike Google Maps, the TomTom powered Apple maps doesn't have the StreetView option, nor does it sport any public transport information, so if you want to know which bus or train to get you'll have to go else where.
The 3D Flyover option which Apple lauded at the launch of Maps last year is nice to view when you're over a city which has actually supports it, but for the majority of the world there are no 3D renders present and thus the mode is merely there for aesthetic value.
iPhone 5C review
While there are some gremlins on the navigation side of things, in general Apple Maps is a very capable turn-by-turn sat nav alternative - and you'd hope so considering TomTom is behind the technology.
iPhone 5C review
Tap in your destination and pin pops up with a little blue square next to the address details with an estimated drive time - tap this and Maps will load the route from your current location, plus provide two alternatives.
Select the route you want and hit "Drive" and you'll be launched into the navigation screen, where the blue route stands out well on the grey roads making it really clear where you need to go - especially useful at tricky junctions.
There's an extra clever little feature on offer here too: with the M7 co-processor on board, the iPhone 5S was able to work out when we had stopped driving and began walking, showing that the phone's internal motion sensors are up to snuff.
We did note once during our testing that the GPS signal caused the phone to freeze when jumping out to the email app, but this was a singular instance which we've not been able to replicate since. We'll update this part of the review if we encounter such a thing again.
We did find the text display the time and distance left on our journey and our estimated time of arrival were a bit small at the top of the screen and we found ourselves squinting at the screen to read them - not particularly safe when you're driving.
The stereo speakers on the base of the iPhone 5S allow for loud, clear spoken instructions from a robotic male voice, and the volume really impressed us as we've found many phones struggle to be heard over the noise of the car.

Battery life, connectivity and iTunes

Battery life

Battery life on the iPhone 5S is something that a lot of people will be checking out for a number of reasons, and mostly because they'll be curious as to how the uprated processor and iOS 7 combine to improve the life of your power pack.
While the iPhone 5 was an improvement in battery life for the iPhone range, there was still room for more, and that's partly come on the iPhone 5S.
The main thing that's been fixed is the fact that leaving the iPhone 5S on standby, perhaps overnight, sees very little drain on the battery. One night we noticed around 15% drop, but after that it was merely 4-5% on average which we can put down to iOS 7 keeping its apps in order a little better.
So that's a big problem of the iPhone battery solved: if its in your pocket, it won't inexplicably run out of juice.
iPhone 5S review
However, there's still a rather large issue we need to address with the battery: and that's the problem of actually using the phone. We test a large number of devices here at TechRadar, and in our more intensive tests it's always interesting to see which phone fare better.
A little photography, web browsing, video watching and flicking through apps not only warmed up the 5S quite considerably but also saw a rather rapid drain in the battery. For instance: streaming BBC iPlayer on the train home for half an hour saw a 20% drop in the battery life. The likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One can do nearly half that, and the LG G2's Snapdragon 800 processor can go even lower.
We can't see how the claims of 8 hours' browsing on 3G holds any water, as that was one area that really hurt the battery and caused the phone to heat up. Talking also drained the power pack, and Apple's quoting up to 10 hours on 3G. Again, we can't see it.
It's not horrendous, and if you're an iPhone user you'll be used to a faster battery drain, but there's definitely a wistful air that hangs over us every time we check out the battery percentage in the top-right corner.
However, here's a great little update that will cheer you up: the iPhone 5S charges phenomenally quickly. REALLY quickly. We timed a charge in just a little over two hours from nearly dead - that's great if you just need a slug of juice on the run.


Unsurprisingly the iPhone 5S comes will all manner of connectivity options, but NFC is still the high-profile absentee at the Apple party. Not even the plastic clad iPhone 5C could tempt the firm to give us a bit of contactless tech, and it clearly paints a picture of where the brand stands in this area.
It's worth mentioning again that the iPhone 5S sports Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, 3G and4G connectivity, with special mention of the latter as this phone supports the most LTE bands than any other smartphone, allowing even more people to take advantage of the superfast network.
iPhone 5C review
There's a new way to control Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 in iOS 7 with the arrival of the Control Center, which is accessed with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen as we mentioned before.
This brings up some shortcut settings including toggles for both connections, plus you can also enable airplane mode here if you want to go off the grid - or, you know, if you get on a plane.
GPS and GLONASS also make an appearance to help you locate yourself in Maps with earth shattering accuracy (and very quickly, too) and navigate you round the world with the free turn-by-turn satellite navigation system.
The iPhone 5S sports Apple's new physical connection port - dubbed Lightning - on its base which is used for charging as well as connecting to computers and any third party peripherals you may pick up.
It provides a faster connection than the 30-pin port it replaced, allowing for quicker data transfer meaning you won't be waiting around quite so long. Plus you can plug it in both ways round, which saves scrabbling at night.
Apple offers its own cloud storage solution cunningly named iCloud which lets you store all your vital information in its secure servers should the worst happen to your iPhone 5S.
You can back up everything from contacts, mail and calendars to photos, documents and notes to iCloud, and if you've owned an iDevice in the past you can download your settings from that onto your iPhone 5S - saving you from having to re-enter various bits of information.
iCloud also enables the "Find my iPhone" feature, so if you were to misplace your new iPhone you can log onto the iCloud website and see where your phone is on a map.
Once located you have the choice of making play a sound so you can dig it out from behind the sofa, report it as lost or erase the contents of the phone - it's all very clear stuff.


No longer is there a reliance in Apple's desktop iTunes software when you come to starting up your iPhone for the first time - no physical connection ever needs to made to a computer during the lifetime of the 5S if you don't fancy digging out your Lightning cable.
If you do decide it's time for things to get physical between your computer and iPhone then you'll need to make sure you've got the latest version of iTunes (that's version 11.1) installed, otherwise it will refuse to play with your new phone.
Why would you want/need to connect your iPhone 5S to your computer? Well perhaps you've got lots of music, movies and photos you want to transfer from your machine to your new phone - iTunes will pull it all in, churn it up and spit it out to your new iPhone in a useable format.
Using iTunes is a rather hit and miss experience, with the software performing far better on a Mac than a Windows PC, but either way it's usually a long, drawn out process which involves lots of syncing - so avoid it if you can or are tremendously regimented in your music organisation.


The iPhone range, and now including the iPhone 5S and little brother, is born from strong media foundations and thus can deliver in pretty much every department, from music to movies to imaging.
With the backing of the iTunes store the iPhone 5S puts millions of songs and thousands of films and TV shows at your finger tips, available for purchase and download.
The heritage goes further than that of course, with excellent sound reproduction on offer and an improved interface making all manner of music and video a really great experience.


iPhone 5S review
With its heritage in the iPod sector the iPhone has top-notch audio capabilities will a fully functional music player and great sound quality allowing it to mix with the big boys in the mobile world.
It's not in the same league as the LG G2, with its insane 24-bit sound, but that's something that mostly the audiophiles will enjoy as they'll have the sound to pump through the phone.
With the iPhone 5S, it's a lot more simple. It's clear sound, as long as you upgrade the bundled ear buds and go for something half decent instead.
Apple's bundled buds aren't bad, but they still leak sound compared to some decent over the ear cans or the plethora of in ear and noise reducing buds on the market.
Back to the handset: you'll want to head over to the music player to get started. Here you can viewing all the songs saved on the 5S, as well as any you may have hanging around in iCloud - with a choice of sorting them by artist, song title or album.
Hit the "more" tab at the bottom of the screen and you'll see you also have the options to browse by genre, compilation or composer - if that's your sort of thing.
iPhone 5C review
You can create and edit playlists from the Music app on the iPhone 5S, and it's an easy system to master with a simple tap of the cross next to the track name all that's needed to get going.
As this is an Apple device album art is thrust into the mix, adding a bit of colour to the otherwise optician-white interface.
iPhone 5S review
Flip the iPhone 5S from portrait to landscape and you'll see album art becomes even more important as the images fill the screen in a tile effect allowing you to flick through albums in a visually impressive manner.
Tap a song to play and you'll be transported to the Now Playing screen which itself is pretty self explanatory. There you have normal play/pause, skip and scrub controls, with repeat and shuffle options below them.
If you tap on where the song details are on the now playing screen they will disappear to reveal a five star rating system, so you can let the iPhone 5S know which songs you favour. Tap again and the song details will return.
There's a button in the top right corner above the album art which will bring up all the tracks on the album you're currently playing.
More options for the music player can be found in the main settings menu - which forces an annoying departure from the Music app - giving you access to an EQ, the option to Shake to Shuffle and to set a volume limit to protect your ears - or those of a loved one.


Videos are, unsurprisingly, handled in the aptly named Video app, where you'll be able to view all your movies, TV shows and music videos you have stored on the iPhone 5S as well as iCloud.
iPhone 5C review
If you're connected to Wi-Fi or trust your mobile signal not to cut out you can stream any iCloud content directly to the iPhone 5S, but if you're going on a plan or don't have a network connection you can always download the media to the handset to ensure fluid playback.
With the iPhone 5, Apple stretched the screen to provide a 16:9 aspect ratio and that 4-inch display is also present on the iPhone 5S making the video player a more pleasant experience.
We've already mentioned that the new iPhone's screen isn't HD at 1136 x 640 and held up next to video playback on the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4you can see the disparity.
Some will argue that the 326ppi pixel density means the human eye won't really be able to discern the difference, but the fact is that on comparison there is a noticeable difference.
Watch video on the iPhone 5S in isolation however and you're unlikely to have any real complainants with a bright screen and smooth playback - we do wish that display was bigger though.
The iPhone 5S supports MP4 video files, and that's pretty much it. There are workarounds with third party video players available in the App Store which support different formats, but loading those videos onto the phone isn't overly straightforward so we'd recommend sticking with Apple's rules this time.
iPhone 5S review
It's a shame these restrictions are in place, as many phone these days support a wide range of video formats and Apple's limiting approach may well put off some prospective punters - although iTunes is rather adept at conversion if you're that bothered.
Video player controls are very simple. You get play/pause, skip, scrub (at varying speeds depending on how far you drag your finger up and down the screen) and volume, and that's it.
If your video supports subtitles then an icon will appear in the bottom right of the video player where you can select your language and toggle them on and off.
iPhone 5C review
We found the iPhone 5S was averagely comfortable to hold, with the thin frame and sharper edges not making it conducive to lengthy watching, although if you invest in the leather case you'll be able to prop it up against a mug or seat back without it sliding all over the place.
One issue we had was with the placement of the headphones port which is right on one side of the handset, meaning the rigid plastic connector sticking out of the bottom of the phone does get in the way of your hands somewhat.
.We should also mention that when it comes to video it still absolutely pays to have an iDevice, as things like BBC iPlayer, 4OD and Sky Go all have downloads available on the iPhone 5S. We're aware this happens on Android phones too these days, but it always feels like an afterthought.


The gallery app on the iPhone 5S is something that stays very true to Apple's ethos, one of displaying all your photos in one place but organising them in easy to find places.
For instance, when you open up the redesigned Photos app, you're taken through a few options. You can view your album, your Photostream through iCloud or the myriad videos you'll have nabbed during your time with the device.
However, once into your camera roll, you can organise by moments in time, location or just general collections, with only a couple of taps being needed to make it easier to share the content with a social network.
Obviously from this app you're able to do more, such as create a shared photostream for the family to enjoy, or you can open Apple maps to see properly where the photos were taken. And if you want to zoom out a bit then all you need to do is tap the top left-hand icon, taking you from 'Collections' to 'Years' which means that if you've got millions of snaps then you can see them grouped properly together.
If you're not happy with the photos you have you can always tap the "edit" button when viewing a particular picture to take you into a basic editor.
From there you have various options including crop, rotate, red eye removal, eight filters and auto-enhance.
It's certainly not as detailed as Apple's iPhoto app - which can be downloaded for free from the App Store - but for the occasional photography this simple editor will suffice


If you're interested in sharing these photos with others, the Airdrop is your friend here. Apple's new proprietary connection is one that's pretty darn good and beats the pants of the likes of S Beam on a Galaxy phone or the general need to pull ones hair out when setting up Wi-Fi direct.
iPhone 5S review
In this option you simply tap the photo you want to share, make sure the person you're looking to share it with has a compatible Apple device (and is visible) then tap on the icon of the person that comes up at the bottom in the Control Centre - this works really well and the photo sharing times between the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C were very impressive indeed, using Apple's implementation of the Wi-Fi ad-hoc technology.
It's startling how fast photos beam across, and it's more simple than competitor methods, providing you've made yourself available or accepted other users.
Bluetooth - your days as a data transmission option are starting to draw to a close, unless a newer version of the technology pushes the envelope again.

Video and Slo-mo

Video on the iPhone 5S isn't anything overly special beyond offering decent footage without having to try very hard. Like the camera there's no optical image stabilisation on board, which means that anything that comes with a shaky hand will have the same judder in the footage.
iPhone 5S review
This is especially apparent when zooming in on the footage when you're filming, which can now be done at the same time.
However, the general clarity and smoothness of the video is impressive and will help you capture the precious moments in high clarity. The only other real option is to turn the LED light on to get some real illumination, but be warned: it's bright.


Another trick enabled by the A7 chip, slow motion has been added to the iPhone 5S. It enables 120fps capture at 720p resolution, but more importantly you can choose when in the footage to speed up and slow down the action, so if you've got a squirrel falling from the tree you can make it so that only the really hilarious bit is at the slower speed.
iPhone 5S review
It's a really neat system for editing your footage, with little tabs to trim the movie to get rid of any waiting around at the start or the end.
iPhone 5S review
While the effect is cool, it's not something we're particularly bothered about in terms of a killer feature on a smartphone. The results are fun and pleasing, but they don't really make us want to pull out Slow-mo mode all the time.
On top of that it's very hard to share the slow motion video, as you can't just pull it off the phone, with the resulting .MOV file jumping and skipping somewhat when viewed back on a PC.
So while we like the idea, Slow-Mo left us feeling rather cold.


Right - this is where the iPhone 5S is expected to shine, and it really rather does. Apple has decided to push harder with the camera sensor in the new handset, trying to create something the lies squarely between the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, and beat both.
In honesty, it mostly manages this, although the other two are also really decent snappers and in many ways are also class leading.
Let's dial it back a little and explain: Samsung is all about staying true to the 'megapixel wars' and wants to cram as many as it can in there, which is why it has such a complex sensor. It can't function as well in low light, but get the shot composition right and you're going to get some really nice snaps.
iPhone 5S review
The HTC is almost the opposite, as with that you can get some really great low light shots thanks to the improved Ultrapixel camera. This is only a 4MP sensor, but with much larger pixels which let in more light. This means better night time performance and a faster shutter, and with this camera you get a wider gamut of shots to take away with you, although you probably won't want to blow them up for the wall.
The iPhone 5S, as we said, falls in between these camps, coming with an 8MP sensor and pixels 75% the size of the HTC One's offering. The result is a strong blend between sharpness and low light ability, where the iPhone straddles the categories without being market leading in either.
It's got an f/2.2 aperture for better low light, but that's still the same as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and not as good as the f/2.0 on the HTC One.
That said, the new camera interface, combined with the A7's ability to easily combine together three snaps to make the best picture it can, mean this is a truly awesome cameraphone.
iPhone 5S review
The new UI will let you simply slide between modes, be it panorama, a new 'square' mode for social networks, the standard photo, video at 1080p or the all new Slow-mo mode, which can capture 120 frames per second at 720p resolution and gives you the option to choose when the slow down and speed up happens.
The new CPU is at its best here, with the shutter speed really great, the all new burst mode working well (simply activated by pressing the shutter button for any length of time) and giving seemingly unlimited shots. The iPhone can also intelligently work out the best shot and the suggestions usually get it pretty bang on, where other handsets with the same functionality can't every time.
We know that Apple is pretty late to the burst mode game, but it's implemented it in a way that really works rather well. At least the ability to lock focus is on board, as well as locking exposure - these are closer to pro-photographer moves, and allow for some interesting shot composition.
The UI is a something of a bugbear though, despite looking so flashy. The options to enable HDR mode, turn the flash on and off or change to the front facing camera don't always want to come on when you tap, which makes it hard to use the camera when you're trying to take an arty shot in lower light that doesn't need the flash.
This leads us nicely onto the other big change, with the flash getting something of an update thanks to an increase to dual LED. This is nothing new in smartphones, but Apple's been smart here as well, thanks to bringing a white and amber option into play.
What this allows the iPhone 5S to do is analyse the scene with a primary flash and then mix the amber and white colours together to reproduce colours more accurately and stop everything looking so washed out.
It's actually a more impressive feature than we thought it might be when it comes to colour rendition, but we can't say it made us want to use the flash any more than normal. As per usual, it got turned off pretty soon and didn't come back on again, which is partly due to the impressive low light performance.
To summarise: this is the best iPhone camera yet by some distance, and its simplicity of use and the great modes on offer (there's even an area that allows you to choose a filter before you start snapping, with real time previews so you can check each one out.)
That's actually something that we found a little odd: when you pull a filtered photo from your iPhone 5S, the filter has been removed. However, share it through Airdrop or in the Mail app and it will display with Chrome or Mono or whatever filter you went for.
However, that's a terribly minor niggle compared to the hugely impressive camera, which we urge you to try with a little more depth should you get the chance. We would like to see Apple enable 16:9 photos at some point soon, as the UI doesn't lend itself to the 4:3 options that come out.
We understand Apple is trying to stay close to more professional photography, but most phones make full use of the screen, and it would be great if Apple followed suit.
iPhone 5S review
Bright scenes are simple to snap
iPhone 5S review
A great camera naturally captures detail, and this did so quickly
Click here for the full-res image
iPhone 5S review
Selfies look even better. Sadly.
iPhone 5S review
iPhone 5S review
The original image
iPhone 5S review
And with effect applied
iPhone 5S review
This photo taken with the iPhone 5S
iPhone 5s review
This photo taken with the iPhone 5C
iPhoen 5S review
Close ups aren't easy, but look great
iPhone 5s review
iPhone 5s review
Low light images have a startling level of clarity