iPhone 5S vs 5C vs 4S: battle for iOS 7 supremacy

Sep 10, 2013
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As of this week, Apple has discontinued the iPhone 5 entirely, focusing instead on the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 5C, and the iPhone 4S. While it was widely expected that Apple would take the smaller display of the iPhone 4S out of the equation entirely, it would seem instead that the company opted for ease in differentiation between models. It's a whole heck of a lot more difficult to sell an iPhone 5S when you've got a nearly identical-looking iPhone 5 sitting on the shelf for a lower price, after all.

Now we've got the iPhone 5S to compare to the iPhone 5C, both of them working with 4-inch displays, and the iPhone 4S on the lower end with its 3.5-inch display. Each of these displays have the same pixel density - they're just as sharp as one another - while the larger two have 1136 x 640 pixels and the smaller 960 x 640. And the whole lot will be running iOS 7 by the 20th, when the larger two hit the market.

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The easiest way to tell these devices apart is by their color. While you'll no longer be able to get the iPhone in black metal, you can still get black or white iPhone 4S (that's glass on its back). The iPhone 5C comes in the widest variety of color choices, these being white, pink, yellow, blue, and green. Then there's the hero device in the iPhone 5S, this machine coming in Silver, Gold, or Space Gray.

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The iPhone 4S works with an A5 chip, the 5C works with A6, and the 5S works with an A7 chip plus an M7. This M7 part is a motion coprocessor which you can learn more about in our article from earlier today - in brief: it's made to make low-power tasks like "always watching" motion sensors working without draining an excessive amount of power from your battery. We've yet to see the full extent of the M7 motion coprocessor's abilities.

The price range of the iPhones on the market soon will remain the same as it was before today - it's just another switch-up of devices. The on-contract price of the iPhone 4S will be $0 (free), while the iPhone 5C sits at $99 and $199 for 16GB and 32GB internal storage sizes respectively, and the iPhone 5S will come in at $199, $299, and $399 USD for16GB, 32GB, and 64GB sizes respectively.

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The iPhone 5S and 5C work with at least two models each, one being GSM with GSM/EDGE, UMTS/HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, another CDMA with CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B and LTE. Meanwhile the iPhone 4S works with GSM/EDGE, UMTS/HSPA (not HSPA+), and no DC-HSDPA, as well as CDMA EV-DO Rev.A and what appears to be a new complete lack of LTE (as always).

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The cameras on these devices are rather similar - they all work with an 8 megapixel sensor, but they're set to deliver different results. While the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5C work with essentially the same setup (save the Sapphire crystal lens cover on the 5C, which shouldn't affect photo or video quality), the iPhone 5S brings a new camera experience to the bunch. With a new f/2.2 aperture and "True Tone flash" instead of LED flash, you'll also be working with pixels that are 1.5 micrometers in size.

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See HTC One Ultrapixel Camera technology for another detailed look at what it means to use larger pixels rather than bumping up the number of megapixels you've got in a camera - one's not always better than the other! It should be noted that these two approaches are not THE SAME, but are certainly similar to one another at their most basic. The iPhone 5S' camera experience also includes a Slo-mo video mode and a Burst mode not available in the base iPhone camera experience before.

The iPhone 4S works with the original 30-pin connector for data and power while the iPhone 5S and 5C work with a Lightning connector. The 4S works with a micro-SIM while the others work with Nano-SIM. Both the iPhone 4S and 5C work with the same set of sensors while the iPhone 5S has the whole bunch plus a new Fingerprint identity sensor - with Apple Touch ID technology - for in-device security.

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Below you'll find a couple of iPhone hands-on videos that compliment our full iPhone 5S hands-on experience as well as our full iPhone 5C experience. If you'd like to go down retro lane, you can also check out our original iPhone 4S review - for fun!

While the iPhone 5S full walkthrough can be found above, you'll see the iPhone 5C walkthrough below. These videos will be just one of several explorations we'll take with the devices as well ramp up to our full review combo - soon!

Are you all about one or the other of these three devices right this minute? Does one draw you in with its color, or is a camera experience the deciding factor for you? Or could it be that you're in love with the original iPhone display size - the last of its kind on the market today? Let us know!


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