Entire cyber space is exploding with iPhone 5s reviews from eminent tech journos and bloggers. While not all reviews are as exhaustive as that of AnandTech, what we care about really is how does the iPhone 5s feel, what’s new and is it for the masses that Apple seems to target?

Ultimately, all reviews are positive about the iPhone 5s. And that’s not a surprise – haters gonna hate but Apple does produce high-quality stuff. Sure, innovation is a problem but as an incremental upgrade, the iPhone 5s is a smart move and a pretty good one at that.

What we’re looking for – and what we want you to know – is how good is this iPhone 5s for a normal user who is going to shell out $199 (or $649) for a smartphone. At this point, you and I aren’t asking “hey, how is the M7 Coprocessor?”

iPhone 5s Hands-on Reviews

We’re more likely talking about the camera, the speed, the battery and the feel of the device. And in the following review-wind-up, you’ll just read that.

We’ve covered thoughts on:

  • Camera
  • The TouchID Fingerprint Sensor
  • Processor
  • Battery

Camera: It’s Much, Much Better
Obviously, while the 1.5um change did not impress Nokia and HTC One, the new iPhone 5s has won good reviews for its cinematography. Among the prominent things that reviewers found good were the True Tone flash which casts realistic ambient flash instead of the harsh and sharp LED flash, the burst mode, the slow-mo video etc.

Edward of USA Today however cautions that the True Tone flash does induce a slight lag in the camera. Others haven’t mentioned about this so it’s hard to describe it as a general misgiving.

Edward C. Baig, USA Today:

One thing not seen elsewhere is the True Tone flash system in the 5s. It is based on two flashes working in tandem to automatically determine the intensity and best combination of flashes. I got generally lovely results taking flash photos, though I noticed it sometimes took an extra second or so before the camera actually took a picture.

Jim Dalrymple, The Loop described how easy it is to create slow motion videos:

After taking a video, you just adjust the in and out points where you want the slow motion effect to happen and you’re done. It was really easy to do, even for me.

Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch posted this photo showing results of the True Tone flash compared to the real iPhone 5/5c flash:

iPhone 5S True Tone Flash
True Tone Flash of iPhone 5s in Action

TouchID: It’s Silent Revolution, a Nod to The Future
TouchID, the fingerprint security system Apple embedded in the iPhone 5s home button has won the finest reviews yet.

Veteran tech journalist, Walt Mossberg described it as:

It sounds like a gimmick, but it’s a real advance, the biggest step ever in biometric authentication for everyday devices. After using Touch ID, I found it annoying to go back to typing in passcodes on my older iPhone.

Edward of USA Today says the whole thing makes it very easy and convenient, especially when you buy stuff through the iPhone 5s:

The vaunted fingerprint reader built into the home button on the 5s isn’t merely a clever gimmick but something that’s actually useful for unlocking your device. … it’s now more convenient to buy stuff in iTunes and the App Store using fingerprint authentication … in the future you might be able to use your fingerprint to get past all your Web passwords, making Touch ID potentially more powerful.

But the best description of the effects of TouchID came from Jim of The Loop, a guy I admire for his boldness in comment but someone I won’t trust easily because of his fanboy status:

They way I expected a fingerprint sensor to work went something like this:

  • Touch the Home button to wake up the phone…
  • Phone recognizes that you want to open it with your fingerprint
  • Phone reads your fingerprint
  • Phone authenticates your fingerprint
  • Phone unlocks

What I got was this:

  • Touch the Home button to wake up the phone, fingerprint is read and phone unlocks.

Processor: It’s a Huge Step Ahead
Forget the 64-bit tidbit. It’s not a valuable information from a user’s – but it still is the feature that will lead to some great things in the near future. Think about high-intensity graphics and seamless functioning. But the A7 does make things smoother and faster on the iPhone 5s. One of the predominant areas where this links to is the camera: both the hardware and the software have been upgraded to produce a top-notch performance and yet, the Photos and the Camera app is reportedly very smooth.

Edward C. Baig, USA Today:

But the phone is faster, and you’ll likely see improvements playing certain games, or when you’re processing images.

Vincent, Engadget:

Impressively, the iPhone 5s took just 2 min 24 sec to output a 5 minute, 1080p Full HD video, while a 720p version took just 1 min 28 sec. In contrast, the iPhone 5 took 4 min 23 sec with the 1080p video, and 2 min 4 sec for the 720p.

Vincent also wrote about what the M7 coprocessor will do, possibly.

The M7 gives the iPhone a sense of context it never quite had before. Because it can differentiate between different types of movement, apps can now respond automatically to whether you’re in a car, running, or walking. Apple Maps is a good example, engaging walking directions if the M7 senses your journey has shifted from the roads to the sidewalk.

Battery: At least, It Didn’t Get Worse
Apple is that infamous company for featuring nominal battery capacities in an industry where Android giants are providing as much as 2100mAh in battery capacity. But to users, who routinely complain about the battery, there is no bad news about the iPhone 5s. There is a slight increase in the capacity as noted by AnandTech.

It’s not huge but with all the increased resource-consumption, you’re still going to be satisfied with the battery.

Walt Mossberg, WSJ:

Voice calls were excellent, even over Bluetooth in a car. I didn’t do a formal battery test, but the iPhone 5S lasted a full workday, including one day where it still had 15% of battery left after 14 hours.

Vincent, Engadget:

In practice, with heavy use – push email turned on, use of Apple Maps GPS, photography, iTunes Radio streaming, messaging, browsing, and some gaming – we managed a solid day of use from the iPhone 5s before hitting the battery warning.

If you want the full-scoop on each of the reviews, you can grab them here: