The iPhone 5S is over three years old now and has been replaced by the iPhone 7, iPhone 6S and iPhone 6, yet it’s still on sale and there are still plenty of reasons to buy it. So before you run out and grab Apple’s latest handset read on for a rundown on why you might be better off sticking with an older one.
The iPhone 5S used to carry a flagship price tag but, while it’s still not cheap, you can now pick it up from £250 SIM-free. It's no longer directly available from Apple, but easily found in other stores, including Three.
That’s a more mid-range price and will get you a 16GB handset, but if you want more storage you can still track down 32GB versions from around £400. For the base model that puts it in competition with phones like the Samsung Galaxy A3 2016, and even for a higher storage capacity it's still well below a high-end price.
We've talked about the low SIM-free prices, but the iPhone 5S is even more affordable on contract, with Three offering the phone from £17 per month plus £29 upfront, for which you'll get 500MB of data, 300 minutes and unlimited texts.
But for a real bargain you can also get 3GB of free data, with 4GB of data for the price of 1GB, costing you just £20 per month plus £19 upfront, and also including unlimited minutes and texts.
Or, if you're a real heavy user, Three is also offering the iPhone 5S with a whopping 30GB of data for the price of 8GB. That will cost you just £31 per month plus £19 upfront, and of course also comes with unlimited minutes and texts.
The iPhone 5S is one of fairly few smartphones to have just a 4.0-inch display, making it easy to slip into even the smallest bags and pockets. There’s minimal wasted space here, with dimensions of 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm making it slim too and it’s light at just 112g.
The small size also makes it a great choice if you don’t want to have to operate your phone with both hands. It’s easy to reach every corner of its 4.0-inch screen with one hand without adjusting your grip, and that small size could also make it a good fit for children.
Despite no longer carrying a top end price tag the iPhone 5S was at one point a flagship and an Apple one no less, so it has a stunning, high-end design, with an aluminium body in space grey or silver.
It doesn’t look like Apple’s newer handsets, other than the iPhone SE, which was clearly inspired by it, but it’s arguably no worse, just different, with a slightly more industrial design.
The iPhone 5S has a 1.3GHz dual-core Apple A7 processor and 1GB of RAM. That probably doesn’t sound like much but even the iPhone 6S only has a dual-core processor, albeit a newer one, and the iPhone 6 only has 1GB of RAM. Really, it's only the iPhone 7 with its quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM that's a big jump, and that's a brand new, seriously expensive phone.
The processor is also the same one as the iPad mini 3 and all of these are newer devices than the iPhone 5S, so it’s not that far behind most other Apple devices.
More importantly performance is still generally slick, smooth and speedy. It can’t quite keep up with the iPhone 7 or Android heavyweights like the Samsung Galaxy S7, but it gets surprisingly close.
Check out the iPhone 5S in store.
The iPhone 5S might be old, but it’s running a new operating system, as Apple has updated it to iOS 10. That’s what the iPhone 7 runs, so its software is completely up to date.
As such you can take advantage of improvements to Siri and Apple Maps, plus better lockscreen notifications, a redesigned Control Centre, lockscreen widgets, a new interface for Apple Music, and a new 'Home' app to help manage your smart home. It’s the best version of iOS yet and you don’t have to shell out for the latest handset to experience it.
The 4.0-inch screen on the iPhone 5S has a resolution of 640 x 1136, for a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. If that sounds familiar it might be because it’s the same pixel density as you’ll find on the iPhone 7.
So while the screen is smaller than Apple’s latest phones it’s every bit as high resolution. It also has good contrast and natural colours, making it one of the better smartphone screens around even now and a joy to use for games, videos and other media.
Apple upgraded its smartphone camera to a 12 megapixel one for the iPhone 6S and beyond. But the iPhone 6 has an 8 megapixel snapper, just like the iPhone 5S. So as with so many other things its camera isn’t that far behind the times.
It doesn’t give you as much control as say the LG G5, but if you just want to point and shoot it’s simple to use, with an intuitive, unclutted interface, and the results are often excellent, with colours being replicated naturally and images usually coming out sharp and noise-free.
The iPhone 5S was the first Apple handset to have Touch ID, allowing you to unlock your device and authorise app purchases with your fingerprint.
There’s no NFC sensor so you can’t use it for Apple Pay, but even a fingerprint scanner is a rarity in phones of this price and Apple’s Touch ID one is among the fastest and most reliable.
You’ve read all the reasons the iPhone 5S is still a good buy, so should you get one? That really depends on what you want from your phone. The iPhone 5S is no longer a flagship, but if you look at it as an affordable mid-range option it outmatches much of the competition.
So if money is tight or you don’t need the extra specs and features of the iPhone 6S or iPhone 7, such as Apple Pay and 3D Touch, then you might as well get the iPhone 5S.
Equally if you want a compact handset the iPhone 5S is one of the best choices around. It can't quite match the iPhone SE, but it's a lot cheaper. It’s also stylish, speedy and feature packed. Plus, it's exceedingly affordable by Apple standards and has the latest version of iOS on board.
Check out the iPhone 5S in store.
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