Apple iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5 Specs Comparison, Key Differences Explained, Side by Side Design Check, Should You Upgrade?

"Mark, I own an iPhone 5. Would you advise that I upgrade to iPhone 5S? The two phones look the same. What are their key differences exactly?"

Those are probably the tech questions I've been asked most often since Apple announced its newest flagship smartphone, iPhone 5S, last September 11, 2013.

iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5
White iPhone 5 and Gold iPhone 5S, respectively.

They're right. Looking at these photos (and even in the flesh - I promise you), it's clear that the two handsets look almost identical.

iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5

In fact, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S even have similar dimensions of 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches and weight of 112 grams.

iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5
White iPhone 5 and Silver iPhone 5S

Both handsets likewise come with the same anodized aluminum unibody shell albeit iPhone 5 has White and Black color options and iPhone 5S is available in Slate Gray, Silver, and Gold.

iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5

The location of ports and buttons is also the same on both devices. We have the power button on top; The 9-pin Lightning port and 3.5mm audio jack at the bottom (along with the mouthpiece and loud speaker); The volume buttons and silent switch can be found on the left side while the nano SIM card tray is alone on the right panel.

iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5

To the untrained eye and for non-smartphone aficionados, the two releases might look absolutely the one and the same. But actually, apart from the color options, there are two subtle yet very noticeable design differences between iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S.

iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5

First, in front below the display, the iPhone 5S (right) has a fingerprint identity sensor, which plates its clickable home button. iPhone5 doesn't have this innovative feature so you just have the plain home button with squircle mark in the middle.

iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5

At the back, iPhone 5S has a dual-bulb "true tone" LED flash located beside the camera lens. Apart from making the iPhone 5S identifiable even when seen from behind, its LED flash allows the newer release to take brighter and more crisp shots even in low-light conditions (and more, to be explained later). In comparison, iPhone 5 only has a smaller, single-bulb LED flash.

iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5

But the biggest and most relevant differences between these two handsets can be seen under the hood. Here's the TechPinas iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5 Specs Comparison for your reference.

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Comparison Table (TSTSCT)
Name Apple iPhone 5SApple iPhone 5
Type Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen)Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen)
Price Category High End (Flagship Level) High-End (Flagship Level)
Dimensions4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches (123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm)4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches (123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm)
Weight 3.95 oz (112 grams)3.95 oz (112 grams)
Available Colors Anodized Aluminum Unibody Shell: Space Gray, Silver, GoldAnodized Aluminum Unibody Shell: White, Black
Operating System upon launch iOS 7iOS 6 upon release, upgradeable to iOS 7
Display Retina display, 4-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch display, 1136-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi, 800:1 contrast ratio (typical), 500 cd/m2 max brightness (typical), Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating on front, Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously Retina display, 4-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch display, 1136-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi, 800:1 contrast ratio (typical), 500 cd/m2 max brightness (typical), Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating on front, Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously
Processor Apple A7 Processor, M7 Motion coprocessorApple A6 Processor
RAM 1 GB LPDDR31 GB LPDDR2
Internal Storage Non-expandable 16, 32, 64 GB optionsNon-expandable 16, 32, 64 GB options
Camera 8 MegaPixels, 2364x2448 resolution with autofocus and True Tone Dual LED flash, Features: ƒ/2.2 aperture aperture, dual bulb LED flash, Backside illumination sensor, Five-element lens, Burst Mode, Hybrid IR filter, FaceTime HD camera with 1.2MP photos, New backside illumination sensor8 MegaPixels, 2364x2448 resolution with autofocus and single bulb LED flash, Features: ƒ/2.4 aperture aperture, LED flash, Backside illumination sensor, FaceTime HD camera with 1.2MP photos, backside illumination sensor
Video Capture Main: 1920x1080 (1080p HD) (30 fps), 1280x720 (720p HD) (120 fps)
Digital image stabilization, Picture-taking during video recording
Front: 1280x720 (720p HD) (30 fps)
Main: 1920x1080 (1080p HD) (30 fps)
Digital image stabilization
Front: 1280x720 (720p HD) (30 fps)
Audio and Video Playback Video: AirPlay Mirroring to Apple TV support at 720p
AirPlay video streaming to Apple TV (3rd generation) at up to 1080p and Apple TV (2nd generation) at up to 720p
Video formats supported: H.264 video up to 1080p, 30 frames per second, High Profile level 4.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format

Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
User-configurable maximum volume limit
Video: AirPlay Mirroring to Apple TV support at 720p
AirPlay video streaming to Apple TV (3rd generation) at up to 1080p and Apple TV (2nd generation) at up to 720p
Video formats supported: H.264 video up to 1080p, 30 frames per second, High Profile level 4.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format

Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
User-configurable maximum volume limit
Ports 9-pin Lightning Port, 3.5 mm Audio Jack9-pin Lightning Port, 3.5 mm Audio Jack
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology, LTE
802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology, LTE
GPS GPS, A-GPS, Glonass, Cell ID, Wi-Fi positioningGPS, A-GPS, Glonass, Wi-Fi positioning
Sensors Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity, 3-axis Gyroscope, Fingerprint identity sensorAccelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity, 3-axis Gyroscope
NetworkGSM model A1428*: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 4 and 17)
CDMA model A1429*: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900, 2100 MHz); UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25)
GSM model A1429*: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25)
GSM model A1428*: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 4 and 17)
CDMA model A1429*: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900, 2100 MHz); UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25)
GSM model A1429*: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5)
SIM Card Type Nano SIMNano SIM
Battery Lithium Ion 1,540 mAh non-removable batteryLithium Polymer 1,440 mAh non-removable battery
Uptime Talk time: Up to 8 hours on 3G
Standby time: Up to 250 hours
Internet use: Up to 8 hours on 3G, up to 8 hours on LTE, up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi
Video playback: Up to 10 hours
Audio playback: Up to 40 hours
Talk time: Up to 8 hours on 3G
Standby time: Up to 250 hours
Internet use: Up to 8 hours on 3G, up to 8 hours on LTE, up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi
Video playback: Up to 10 hours
Audio playback: Up to 40 hours
Announcement Worldwide: September 11, 2013 (1:30 AM Manila Time)Worldwide: September 13, 2012 (1:30 AM Manila Time)Worldwide: September 13, 2012 (1:30 AM Manila Time)
Availability TP Guesstimate: Official - December 2013
Out now at Kimstore
Philippines: Official - December 14, 2012 via Globe Telecom and Smart Communications
Retail Price Kimstore: As of October 1, 2013: 16GB Space Gray Php 37,900, Silver Php 43,500, Gold Php 53,000, 32GB Space Gray Php 40,400, Silver Php 46,300, Gold Php 56,700, 64GB Black Php 43,800, Silver Php 49,200, Gold Php 68,000

As of October 14, 2013: Space Gray 16GB Php 36,000 32GB Php 37,000, 64GB Php 42,300 Silver 16GB Php 38,980 32GB Php 40,500 64GB Php 52,700 Gold 16GB Php 41,980 32GB Php 42,400 64GB Php 58,400
Depending on store:
iPhone 5 16GB - Php 33,000 to Php 37,000
iPhone 5 32GB - Php 38,000 to Php 42,000
iPhone 5 64GB - Php 43,000 to Php 49,000

Processor

As earlier explained on TechPinas, iPhone 5S' A7 processor brings the 64-bit desktop-class architecture to the smartphone category for the first time. With up to twice the CPU and graphics performance of Apple A6 in iPhone 5, almost everything you do on iPhone 5s is faster and better than ever, from launching apps to playing graphic-intensive games - previously only possible on Macs, PCs and gaming consoles - all while delivering great uptime. Apple also engineered its all-new iOS 7 operating system and all the built-in apps to maximize the performance of the new processor.

Aside from the A7 chipset, iPhone 5S also runs on the new M7 motion co-processor that gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass to offload work from the A7 for improved power efficiency. The M7 motion coprocessor continuously measures your motion data, even when the device is asleep, saving battery life for the pedometer or other applications - especially those for fitness - that regularly use the accelerometer.

Camera

Although both phones have the same 8 MegaPixel autofocus camera with backside illuminated sensor, iPhone 5S' main cam has a new five-element lens with F2.2 aperture (vs. F2.4 on iPhone 5) and a 15% larger active sensor area. Having a larger aperture allows 5S take in more light and to deliver better shots in low light settings.

The True Tone LED flash at the back has two bulbs: One is cool and white, the other is warm and amber. So really, it's not just there to improve illumination. The new camera software on iPhone 5S can actually combine the two tones to get the right color balance for every shot.

Software-wise, iPhone 5S now supports auto image stabilization made possible by the combination of multiple shots to come up with the sharpest and most well-balanced image possible as well as slow-motion video capture - thanks to a whopping 120 frames per second 720p recording.

RAM

The two handsets have the same 1 GB of RAM but iPhone 5S' memory has a DDR3 architecture with 800MHz DDR (1.6 billion transfers per second) offering 12.8 GB/s of bandwidth, the same level of bandwidth offered by a conventional desktops and laptops in 2011 and 2012. Simply put, compared to the LPDD2 RAM architecture of iPhone 5, LPDD3 is more capable of delivering a far smoother high-resolution video-viewing and gaming experience on the mobile platform.

Touch ID

iPhone 5S' Touch ID fingerprint sensor - located where the home button is - uses a laser cut sapphire crystal capacitive touch sensor to take a high-resolution images of your fingerprint and analyze them to provide accurate readings from various angles. The Touch ID sensor recognizes the touch of a finger so the sensor is only activated or it only works when needed, preserving battery life. Touch ID can also be used as a secure way to approve purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store or iBooks Store instead of always having to type in your Apple ID password.

As I've shared earlier, to those who are worried that the fingerprint sensor might have serious implications on their privacy and security, Apple reassures users that all information gathered using the Touch ID are encrypted and stored securely in the Secure Enclave inside the A7 chip only. Fingerprint data is likewise never stored on Apple servers or backed up to iCloud.

Battery

Although iPhone 5S has a bigger 1,540 mAh Li-Ion battery pack (versus 1,440 mAh Li-Polymer pack on iPhone 5), at least on paper, the handset's uptime is just the same as that of its predecessor. Perhaps the increase in the size of the battery is being countered by the increased energy requirement of the faster processor, the Touch ID, the new RAM architecture, and the camera enhancements on iPhone 5S.

So Should You Upgrade?

I've already listed down all the enhancements you'll get on iPhone 5S. If you want all that on a phone that - frankly - looks exactly like the one you currently, by all means, upgrade.

Most of my friends who've upgraded to iPhone 5S from their iPhone 5, though, only got the newer release because of their loyalty to the brand and 5S' novelty.

Want "major" changes? There are rumors that the upcoming iPhone 6 will flaunt a revamped design, have a 4.7-inch Retina Display and will don the same key improvements we are seeing on iPhone 5S. Considering how iPhone's main competitors have evolved (Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Note3, LG G2, HTC One, HTC One Max, etc.), I'm inclined to believe that we'll finally see a far larger screen on Apple's flagship handset next year (around September). The question is, are you willing to wait that long?

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