I've spent a week using the Apple iPhone 5s as my primary device. In general, it is a solid effort on Apple's part, but it is not without its faults. Here are some of the strong points and weak points I've observed over the last seven days.
iOS 7 is a bit buggy on the 5s. I've installed iOS 7 on an iPhone 5, an
iPad 3, and an iPad Mini. It runs best on the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini. On the
iPhone 5s, iOS 7 is prone to app crashes. Third-party app crashes aren't too
awful, but when native apps such as the Settings Menu and Safari crash, you know
something's not right.
The hardware is fine, if unexciting. The 5s is a solid little device. Apple
designed it with care and everything about it exudes quality and class. The
display is great, even if it is smaller than I'd like, and the small form factor
makes it easy to carry around and use.
t's not the best voice phone. I've been testing an AT&T model of the
iPhone 5s and am not impressed with its phone calls. I heard lots of
interference and the earpiece speaker doesn't get quite loud enough. The
speakerphone produces plenty of volume, but it also amplifies the interference.
The iPhone is a better voice phone.
The battery hasn't given me any trouble. The first few days were a bit
iffy, but that's true of most smartphones. Once the battery cycled through a few
charges, it settled into a good rhythm. I routinely got a full day out of it,
despite heavy use. It's worth noting, though, that the battery cannot be removed
or replaced, so you're stuck with what's sealed in the iPhone 5s.
The camera is great. The new software, combined with the improved sensor,
go a long way toward making the iPhone 5s one of the best camera phones
available. The camera app is simpler to use and includes more features, such as
burst mode and slow-motion video capture, and the results are on par with
today's best devices. The improved gallery app is far more powerful when it
comes to organizing photos, and some of the editing tools are a welcome
iOS 7 is still inflexible. Apple's simple smartphone/tablet user interface
may win usability awards, but it is nowhere near as flexible or customizable as
Android or even Windows Phone. The inability to control exactly where apps are
positioned is frustrating, and the lack of resizable home screen widgets and
apps leaves the OS looking too homogenous. I'd love to see some truly dynamic
content on the home screen.
Control Center is convenient. Apple's new dashboard for controlling some of
the iPhone 5s's features is a big help. It makes simple tasks such as turning on
and off the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth radios a breeze. I also like the fact that it
includes controls for the music player as well as apps like the flashlight,
calculator, timer, and camera. This is definitely a time saver, considering that
it took several steps to reach many of these controls in previous versions of
There's plenty to like about the 5s, but at the end of the day it offers
only a slightly different experience than last year's iPhone 5. The Touch ID
fingerprint sensor is the biggest difference. The camera and processor
improvements in the 5s, though very real, aren't all that much better than the
iPhone 5. We can only hope that Apple will make significant changes in next
year's iPhone 6.