We managed to snag an iPhone 5S from Hong Kong during the first day of its global release. While the champagne gold color quickly ran out of stock (and was selling for close to 70k in the gray market), the we still got the 32GB space gray variant. Check out our initial review after the break.
Managing our expectations, we didn’t put much attention to the device while unboxing it. We knew it will look like the iPhone 5 and we were not disappointed with the stark similarities (insert sarcasm here).
Yes — the iPhone 5S is almost identical to the year-old iPhone 5, except for two minor physical dissimilarities.
First is the slightly elongated dual-LED light at the back of the phone, just beside the camera and a small pin-hole for the noise-canceling mic.
Second is the fingerprint scanner embedded into the physical home button. The old one has a perfectly concave but shallow button with a small, squarish mark with rounded corners at the center; the new one has a ridge around the flat, depressed circular area where the Touch ID sensor is incorporated.
The rest seemed exactly the same, at least from what we initially observed. Of course, there’s also the new color variants that’s been introduced. The rest of the improvements are all covered inside the same aluminum enclosure.
Apple iPhone 5S specs:
4.0-inch IPS LCD display @ 640×1136 pixels, 326ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 2
Apple A7 1.3GHz dual-core processor
PowerVR SGX544MP4 quad-core graphics
16GB, 32GB, 64GB internal storage
DC-HSDPA 42Mbps, LTE 100Mbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band
8MP iSight camera, LED flash
1080p video recording
1.2MP HD front-facing camera, 720p @ 30fps
GPS w/ aGPS support, GLONASS
112 grams (weight)
123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm (dimensions)
We believe Apple really intended to change the colors of the new iPhone 5S so consumers will be able to distinguish them from the older iPhone 5. This is partly the reason why that champagne gold variant is so rare and in demand that it commanded street prices of up to Php70k.
During the unboxing and activation, we have to insert and use a nano SIM. The process is almost the same as the previous models except for the part where it asks for a finger print scan. The configuration required several runs of the scan and once completed, it also asks for a PIN password just in case the biometric sensor does not work.
This gives you the option to input the PIN codes every time you unlock the device or just press down a finger on the home button for automatic unlock. Same goes when purchasing an app in the iTunes Store. (And no, we did not try that nipple scanner!)
The biometric sensor scans your print very fast and has high accuracy rate based on our initial tests. The iPhone 5S comes with iOS 7 pre-installed out of the box (there is a 7.0.1 update for security and bug fixes). We were already familiar the new UI since it’s release last week. As such, we actually did not notice any significant performance difference between the 5 and the 5S. We might spot some one we do our full review though.
Check back with us in a few more days for the full review of the iPhone 5S. We won’t actually see official release of this unit until December and gray market prices are thru the roof.
You can also check our initial review of the iPhone 5C here.