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Is Apple iPhone 5S a worthy upgrade to iPhone 5?

With the industry's first fingerprint scanner, a bigger camera sensor and the new 64-bit A7 chip, is iPhone 5S a worthy upgrade for iPhone 5?

twitter-logoNidhi Singal | December 9, 2013 | Updated 18:42 IST
iPhone 5S: One of the best smartphones around
PHOTO: Reuters

Apple does this every alternate year - it continues with the same form factor while bringing in a few new features in its products. There was the iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4s and now the iPhone 5S.

Yet again, the iPhone 5S doesn't have a new design or a bigger display. But it has the industry's first fingerprint scanner, a bigger camera sensor with dual flash and the new 64-bit A7 chip.

With all this, Apple has improved the iPhone even further. But is it worth an upgrade for the existing iPhone 5?

Price: Rs 53,500 for 16GB
Specs: Four-inch display, 8MP camera, A7 chip, iOS 7, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Personal Hotspot, 16GB onboard storage, no expandable card slot, up to 10 hours talk time.

The biggest attraction of using the iPhone 5S for me was the Touch ID, the fingerprint scanner that adds a metallic ring to the home button. While setting up the phone, I was able to scan my thumb. The process was quick and hardly took a minute. All I had to do was hold my thumb on the home button and it would unlock the device. At times, it did fail to work and I was able to unlock the phone using the pass code. This is a convenient way to unlock the phone for those who password-protect their handsets. It can also be used to replace the iTunes password one has to key in while downloading apps.

Some are complaining about the 8 mega pixel camera on the iPhone 5S but it isn't the same as the previous generation. Instead of increasing the camera mega pixel count, Apple has increased the sensor size by 15 per cent that helps in improved low-light performance. The aperture has been increased to F/2.2, which allows 33 per cent more light. There is also a dual flash, referred as TrueTone flash, to decide how much light is needed for a shot. All this makes the camera on the iPhone 5S better than before. The images captured are crisp and produce accurate colours.

The iPhone 5S comes with the A7 chipset with 64-bit architecture and an M7 coprocessor. In a nutshell, this new chip has made the iPhone 5S much faster. As per Apple's claims, it's up to 2x faster than the previous generation in both central processing unit and graphics performance. Apple has also added a new image signal processor. The new M7 coprocessor makes the iPhone 5S more efficient as it offloads work from the A7 chip by collecting motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. The iOS 7 that has slowed down the previous gen iPhones works flawlessly on this one. The iPhone 5S comes across as a great phone for playing games. With all this, there isn't any compromise on the battery.

The constant madness for a bigger display in a smartphone is beyond understanding. With a five-inch-plus display becoming a norm in Android handsets, Apple is still continuing with the four-inch display as on the iPhone 5. The 16-million-colour LED backlit capacitive touch display with 640x1136 pixel resolution looks bright and crisp. It can be easily handled with a single hand, which is the biggest advantage. Any case available for the iPhone 5 fits on the 5S too. The App Store remains the best. With the iOS 7, the App Store loads quickly and can also turn on automatic app updates.

The iPhone 5S is one of the best smartphones around. But if you are using an iPhone 5, you can consider giving this one a miss and upgrade to the new one that Apple will launch in 2014.

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