Luddite Article - iPhone 5s Review


 By Sam Richardson

 When Apple releases a new ‘s’ version of the iPhone, we’ve come to expect more of an evolution as opposed to a revolution. Yet with the iPhone 5s, this could have changed.

 First up, there is an added colour choice now available, so you can choose between silver, space gray (black), and gold. Each has the same casing as in the iPhone 5, and the screen and resolution is the same 4-inch Retina display. Once again Apple has created the best looking phone on the market in whichever colour you go for. There is also now a chance to buy an Apple-made leather case to protect the beauty of the phone. But at £35, you may still want to go to Amazon.

 The big innovation in this model is the addition of what Apple is calling ‘Touch ID’, which is a fingerprint scanner to you and I. Apple say that around half of iPhone users don’t use a security passcode, and seeing as our phones probably now hold more information on us than our wallets do, this is a fair bit to risk should your phone be stolen or lost.

 Touch ID is the answer to this. A fingerprint scanner built into the phone’s home button. Fingerprint technology has never really caught on in mobile devices, but this could be about to change due to the little amount of effort needed to use. After acquiring AuthenTec, the company that developed the technology that would become Touch ID, Apple have really made the feature easy to use. There is no need to be careful about the angle that your finger is and scanning times aren’t noticeable they are that quick.

 Setting up Touch ID does take some registration, and Apple advises to register more than one digit so that if you cut, mark or have your finger or thumb amputated, you will still be able to unlock your phone! Apple has made this stage easy enough though and will take you through it step by step. It is simply a case of repeatedly tapping your fingertip onto the sensor until the phone has an understanding of your fingerprint. It will ensure it has scanned enough of your fingertip so that you can touch the sensor at different angles and it still recognise the print.

 Up to five fingers can be registered, either all yours or with a mixture of people you wish to give access. There is currently no way of assigning different access levels to different fingertips but when this feature inevitably comes to the iPad, it would be great to be able assign youngsters limited access to certain apps.

 Once again, with a new iPhone comes a new processor. The version in this latest model is the A7. There is also a sort of ‘sub-processor’, the M7, which should help to save battery life. Any app that relies on movement such as Maps or MapMyRun will now run from the M7, rather than ‘waking’ the A7, at apparently one sixth of the power consumption.

 Apple are also fairly chuffed about the upgrade from 32 to 64-bit. It is a complex change that has affected most aspects of how the phone works, yet we’ll probably notice none.

 At first glance, the iPhone 5s’ iSight camera is 8-megapixels, just as in the previous model. However, these pixels are now 15% larger than before, and the aperture of the lens has increased to f/2.2. This essentially means the phone is capturing up to a third more light than its predecessor. The other change to the camera is in the flash. There are two different coloured LED’s on the back, one white and one amber. These promise to pick up more detail in ambient lighting.

 I’ve already written about iOS 7 in this column so will not go too much into it. However, it feels much more at home on this phone than on the 4s for example. Everything is smoother and requires less tapping and more sliding with iOS 7 and with the new processor, you will not be waiting for anything.

 Overall, this new model is a considerable step up. Touch ID may seem gimmicky but is a huge leap forward in security. The new improved camera is noticeably better and the new processor flies by quicker than you can think. If you are due an upgrade, this is the phone you should get. If not, don’t fork out for the handset, just wait until the next instalment in 6 months.

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