The last word on...the iPhone 5s

Daniel Bean, Yahoo News
Yahoo News

With Apple's iPhone 5s set to launch this Friday, tech sites aplenty have posted their thoughts and recommendations on the device. Though it's a smart idea to read  expert opinions on the newest iPhone before deciding to camp out overnight in front of an Apple Store, who has time to sift through dozens and dozens of 8,000-word reviews?

We've made it easy for you. We're bringing together the final, summarizing paragraphs from several different reviews in one place, the paragraphs where tech reviewers wrap up and give their final thoughts.

We call it THE LAST WORD.

Myriam Joire
, Engadget
:

Is the 5s the best iPhone ever made? Yes, though that shouldn't come as a surprise. Apple took a good product and made it better through hardware upgrades, new features and a completely revamped software. In what would otherwise be considered a mundane update to the iPhone 5, Apple somehow managed to appeal to both the geek (64-bit support, M7 coprocessor, Touch ID) and the average Joe (a fresh, colorful iOS 7), all while laying the groundwork for the company's future.

...If developers come up with clever ways to take advantage of the M7 coprocessor and the 64-bit support in iOS 7, the 5s will truly shine. If not, many people might just wait it out another year.

Anand Lal Shimpi, AnandTech:

At the end of the day, if you prefer iOS for your smartphone - the iPhone 5s won't disappoint. In many ways it's an evolutionary improvement over the iPhone 5, but in others it is a significant step forward. What Apple's silicon teams have been doing for these past couple of years has really started to pay off. From a CPU and GPU standpoint, the 5s is probably the most futureproof of any iPhone ever launched. As much as it pains me to use the word futureproof, if you are one of those people who likes to hold onto their device for a while - the 5s is as good a starting point as any.

Scott Stein, CNET:

The iPhone 5S feels like a “pro” phone more than ever, the iPhone equivalent of the MacBook Pro. Its features don’t feel as immediately consumer-understandable. For many, the iPhone 5C will do just fine. The biggest wished-for features -- a MacBook Air-level battery life improvement and an even larger screen -- aren’t on either new iPhone yet.

If you’re deep in the Apple ecosystem, the 5S could be the first step toward some new directions. Its improved speed, graphics, and elements of battery efficiency make it a better phone than the iPhone 5, in case you've waited to upgrade.

But if you already have an iPhone 5, I’d say it’s not a bad year to just wait.

Walt Mossberg, AllThingsD:

After a week of testing the iPhone 5s, I like it and can recommend it for anyone looking for a premium, advanced smartphone. If you are an iPhone fan with any model older than the iPhone 5, the new 5s will be a big step up. If you own an iPhone 5, there’s less of a case for upgrading, unless you want the fingerprint reader and improved camera. You can get the new OS free of charge.

...Overall, however, the new iPhone 5s is a delight. Its hardware and software make it the best smartphone on the market.

Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch:

With the iPhone 5s, Apple once again wins the right to claim the title of best smartphone available. The hardware may resemble its predecessor in many key ways, as with the 4-inch Retina display, but it improves dramatically in areas like the camera where it makes the most difference to every day users, and in the addition of the fingerprint sensor, which is already a feature I miss when I switch back to older generation devices or the iPhone 5c. And thanks to the 64-bit A7 processor, this phone, more than any iPhone before it, is likely to be the device that grows more appealing as the software ecosystem catches up, which is great news for buyers looking for something that isn’t so easily replaced by the next big thing that comes along.

Vincent Nguyen, SlashGear:

The iPhone 5s is the best iPhone so far, by a long shot. Apple is notorious for describing its products as “magical”. The magic of the iPhone 5s is in how usable its improvements are. The updated camera is both fast and capable, with the True Tone flash proving itself to be no gimmick, while the Touch ID system feels like the first biometrics system that actually stands a chance of succeeding in the mass market.

...Would we pick the iPhone 5s over the iPhone 5c? In a heartbeat. The camera, convenience, and performance increases make that a no-brainer decision for smartphone power users. That trifecta of talents also makes a strong case against the top-tier Android devices, too: Apple still dominates the market for hand-friendly phones with flagship performance. The iPhone 5s may be Apple’s evolutionary stage, but the combination of usable technological advances and the benefits of iOS 7 add up to a supremely compelling device.

Gareth Beavis, TechRadar:

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.

...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.

Stuart Miles, Pocket-lint:

If you want a phone that just works, then the iPhone 5S is a very good place to start. Apple has made it look effortless which is no simple task, and in doing so - by making it look almost too easy - you can sometimes miss the beauty and power in your hand. It's stunning to use, there's stacks of power, it's without gimmicks and a nod to the future. It's these simple elements that make the iPhone 5S, for us, one of the best phones on the market. There's a lot to admire about that.

Harry McCracken, TIME:

As usual when Apple announces an iPhone, there’s been a fair amount of moaning that the new model isn’t different enough from the old one, and will therefore leave the iPhone as just another smartphone. It’s true that the competition is fiercer than ever and that lots of rational people prefer Android — or even the scrappy underdog known as Windows Phone — to the Apple way of doing things.

But you know what? The iPhone 5 was already the most polished phone on the market, and the wares in the App Store still beat those in Android’s Google Play. (Even when there’s an Android version of something, which there usually is, it often shows up long after the iOS version is available.) When it comes to the things Apple cares deeply about — and which matter to plenty of smartphone users — the iPhone 5s is a meaningful advance on the iPhone 5, and comfortably ahead of any phone that doesn’t have a picture of a piece of fruit on its backside.

Luke Peters, T3:

We kicked off this review by stating the 5s has the potential to be Apple’s most game-changing iPhone since inception. Apple is clearly looking to future-proof its handset while offering developers the opportunity to take advantages of its 64-bit architecture, A7 chip and M7 Coprocessor. Right now, you won’t really experience what this phone is capable of. Give it six months and we’d expect some truly groundbreaking apps to appear.

...But then this is a statement of intent. It’s not only Apple’s flagship iPhone but it’s also the best phone the company has ever made. The camera is extraordinary. Touch ID is revolutionary. The iPhone 5s is a stunner today, but expect the real fun to come tomorrow.

Anick Jesdanun, Associated Press:

I had a lot of fun unlocking the phone over and over again. Who knew biometric authentication could be such a blast?

The fingerprint sensor alone is worth the extra $100 you'll pay for the 5S over an iPhone 5C. Both phones will come out Friday. In the week I've had with both, I've also been impressed with the better camera and slow-motion video in the 5S

Rick Jaroslovsky, Bloomberg:

With its ease of use, enormous wealth of high-quality apps and content and well-integrated online services, the iPhone still provides the best overall user experience of any smartphone. But while Apple has never introduced this many iPhones, it’s also never changed so little from the previous generation.

The 5s is the current iPhone 5 -- same size, shape, metal body and 4-inch Retina display -- with upgraded internals and one terrific new feature...

...There’s nothing wrong with either [the iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c]. But there’s not much that’s pulse-quickening about them either.

David Pogue, The New York Times:

If you wanted to summarize all three of this week’s lessons into a single final thesis, here it is: Apple still believes in superb design and tremendous polish. The iPhone is no longer the only smartphone that will keep you delighted for the length of your two-year contract — but it’s still among the few that will.

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