A different type of iPhone 5S review

Larry Pager

Well-known member
Jun 11, 2012
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So usually people get the phone and write up a review and that's that. I figure I'd do something different- review the phone over a period of time. What's new and shiny now may be a huge annoyance later. What's weird and different from my last phone could be something amazing. I'll post the updates as edits. My last phone was a S3.

First day with the 32GB space grey 5S
Physical impressions
- Looks great, solid build quality, has that amazing, high-quality premium feel- which also leads to OCD and babying the phone. It's kind of annoying when you're used to chucking the phone around but that's because of the case I have.
- The all black front looks amazing. I think it looks fantastic with the Apple leather yellow case- I like that color combo, and yes I am thinking Nokia Lumias.
- Very lightweight
- Screen size- definetly smaller and I can tell the difference, but it's not as annoying as I thought it would be. Really noticible when looking at pdfs.
- Home button- if you press on it directly, it does click loudly. Press the corner of it and it's much quieter.
- Lightining? Love it- at night I just plug it in- don't need to orient it like the S3. Fantastic.
- Touch ID? OMFG.

iOS vs. Android
- I'm still pressing the lower left corner expecting the back button. I was pissed that Apple didn't have this and you have to either click on a button in the upper right hand corner. Then I found out about swiping the screen to go back. Love that, great, great idea.
- Default mail app feels too simple compared to gmail on Android. Not happy with it but also realize I have to relearn. I also think the screen size makes a difference and it's not just software.
- Notifications- still goes to Android but better than my iPhone 4
- Wish control center had option to turn off cellular data- I do that all the time to preserve battery and data
- App store LOADS better than google play
- Siri seems better than Google now in terms of voice commands, but google cards can be seriously useful
- Why no swype? That hurts.

3rd party apps
- my uniqlo alarm clock app is LOADS better on Android- shock
- NYT is better on Android- has button to manually refresh and has nighttime viewing- black background, white lettering
- Tried to setup Starbucks on passbook, can't get it to work.

Call quality
Still early to tell- my apt isn't the best for VZ service but 5S seems to be beating out S3 in early tests with calls.

- A pain to go back to iOS/iCloud- forgot my password, had to set all that up, had to get special password from google to set up gmail, etc, input in all my passwords for twitter, starbucks, wi-fi password, called up apple to get AC+. Spent a lot of time just setting the phone up.
- Like the fact that I still keep lots of Google apps- Apple is a closed garden, but in this aspect it is more open than Android- I have Google now and Siri.
- A bit lost due to changes from last iOS product used- iPhone 4
- But thrilled to have the phone, it's something new. But I have to readjust back to iOS and learn iOS 7. Probably will take me a few days or a week or so to get readjusted and really get a sense of what it's like. It always takes some time switching between platforms.

2nd day of ownership and the first full day of usage.

Google apps
- Playing around with translate (great fun) and google now, feels like they are faster and smoother than on my S3. Didn't download gmail... yet.

- It's a bit frustrating to have a missed call notification and the inability to remove that on the list- with Android, you just swipe it away. I don't need to be told that the telemarketer from FL called me. Still tink the notifications bar is a bit messy. I like the idea of having the calendar there since there is no calendar widget, which is missed. On the S3 the calendar widget took up a whole homescreen and tried to tell you your schedule- obviously it looked like a mess but it was handy when I would put in really important events as all day events- that stood out and I could see what was going on for the week. Don't like the way the weather is displayed. It would be cool to have the icons instead. But I think Apple is headed in the right direction.

Apple Maps
- Tried it out on the way home and it worked fairly well. No problems. But I still have google maps just in case. I'll give Apple Maps a try, but then again all my bookmarks are on google maps and I am getting frustrated trying to switch everything over.

Apple Radio
- Thought it was a stupid gimmick, but I really like it. The speaker isn't going to win any awards, but I'm pretty happy with it and it will do in a pinch when studying. Really like this app. For me this is one of the features that really makes me happy for some reason. I've found some new artists and I can buy the songs.

Voice/Data connection
- My S3 seemed to lock in to LTE faster than the 5S when I pass out of the dead zones at work. But still too early to tell. But I kind of felt like my iPhone 4 did the same.

Touch ID
I'm still living the dream. Didn't read my fingerprint a few times, but overall I'm happy. I didn't scan my fingerprints like I'm getting fingerprinted. Instead I scanned my fingerprint at an angle like the way my thumb would be positioned when I'm holding the phone and it seems to work. Another feature that I like.

Battery life
- I do the same things I did on my S3- default mode is basically turn everything off and keep it as a dumbphone unless I need an internet connection which is here and there throughout the day. I'm fetching data every 1hr, had parallax off today and battery life seems to be on par with the S3 so far. Might be overdoing it and see what it's like with push and parallax on. I've been playing Apple Radio for awhile and the battery is holding up fairly well.

3rd party apps
Reinstalled some older apps from the iPhone 4. Yeah, the apps are better on iOS despite the issues with NYT and uniqlo. Pretty happy with this regard.

First day and I'm babying the phone. Kind of annoying in a way but I've got a Lunatik Taktik Strike case ready. But I'm enjoying the color combo with the Apple yellow leather case. I will admit I freaked out a bit when my coworker continually was dropping her S3 in an otterbox commuter on the floor- I would freak out if that happened with my phone. Looking at some pdfs today in a meeting on this phone was a bit of a challenge- really miss the extra real estate on the S3. I'm not gonna lie and say that was perfect either, but every mm counts.

I'd say this is the first phone where I'm not going crazy over like I did with previous phones. I think it's a bit of getting adjusted to iOS 7, which is a big leap from the previous iOSs and I think that innovation is slowing down with all smartphones- the advancements aren't as numerous or groundbreaking like when the first iPhone came out. Golden age of phones. There are still some gems with the 5S but I feel like things are all converging to a common set of features for the modern smartphone platform.

I'm liking the 5S a bit more today now that things are settling down and I'm getting used to it. Looking forward to learning more about the different features of iOS 7 and am looking around for tips/guides online. Got the Starbucks passbook card to work!

But I'm still hitting the lower left corner of the front panel expecting to find a capacitive back button....
I'll report back in a few days.

So initially when I got it, I was excited but not AS excited as getting a phone in the past. But over the past several days, the 5S has grown on me and I really like the 5S now. I'm still babying the phone, well not as much. With my Lunatik Taktik Strike case, the OCD is lessened. The Apple leather case is nice, but let's face it it's not as sturdy and I'm still OCD with it- you don't want to eat pizza and get your greasy hands on the case. I'm settling into iOS 7 but it's still a journey and I'm still learning things. Here are somethings I've noticed with the hardware side of things:

It's bright, better than my old phone and reading in the sun is not a problem anymore. The whites are white and not tinged with blue/green like my S3. Downsizing from a 4.8" screen to a 4" screen is pretty obvious, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Except when you are reading pdf documents. But I've been doing well with the reduced screen size. One thing I have noticed is that I am scrolling like a mofo, since, well there is less of the text on screen and it's slower to scroll. The downgrade in size isn't as annoying as I thought it was but I do miss the S3 screen size.

Screen responsiveness/accuracy
I notice this especially with the upper right and left hand corners buttons, i.e. the side menu and search buttons on youtube. This appears to be something universal throughout iOS 7 and 3rd party apps. Apple maps? It will take 3-4 tries before I can pull up the overview of my route. I feel like it's almost 50% of the time I need to press the button 2-3 times. Typing is becoming less of an issue. At first, coupled with the upper buttons I thought there was something wrong with my screen since I couldn't type anything due massive mistakes. But typing has been improving over time, I think it's just "relearning" how to type. I'll pull up command center by accident more than I thought I would. And if I do, to scroll it down, I tend to turn on bluetooth. When I'm navigating the app store, I'll often hit the "apps near me" option. I think this is due to the 5S screen. It's small enough that when I'm holding it in my hand, the flick of my thumb will cover the middle portion of the screen to the bottom edge of the screen. S3? It was so big that I never really hit that bottom area while scrolling- my thumb was reaching the middle to the lower part, but never to the edge. The other thing is that in Android, all the buttons are on the upper edge of the screen and the only buttons on the bottom were the menu button and the capacitive buttons. It's kind of annoying but again, I've been getting used to avoiding the bottom of the screen. This is a bit of a bummer.

Touch ID
Love it. Over time I've gotten more "Try Again" messages and a few times where it rejected my thumbprint multiple times in a row. I've got 2 prints stored of each thumb and I spent most of the time programming more of the left edge and side of my left thumb and right edge and right thumb since when I'm holding the phone, my print is going to be angled. It feels like Touch ID gets confused more often when I give a print on the edge I didn't program or when I center my thumbprint. Despite this, I still love it and the time spent rescanning is a fraction of the time I would have spent typing in codes all day long. And I found out that all I need to do is press the home button and keep my thumb on the button- this wakes the screen and a second later, the phone unlocks. This is one of the major features that I felt really pushed me over to the 5S. Again, nothing obviously groundbreaking when you first hear of it, but using it is a totally different story.

These work pretty well for music- I've been listening to iTunes Radio on it- put the phone near you and it gets the job done. Obviously there are limitations, but I've been surprised. I used to think the speaker position on the iPhone was superior to the S3, which is on the back, next to the camera. Put the phone down, screen up, and the sounds are muffled. But, for using it for GPS, the speakers on the bottom of the phone don't work for me. I put the phone in the cup holder and since the speaker is on the bottom of the phone... well it's all a bit muffled.

As for iOS 7, still trying to figure all the things out and I'll post more about the software part later. The one glaring thing that I've noticed is that the notifications are still a weak point of iOS compared to Android.
Last edited:


Well-known member
Mar 6, 2012
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Getting used to and basically learning a new OS can be frustrating yet exciting at the same time. Good luck to you, and nice review!! Welcome back!


Well-known member
Dec 26, 2012
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Nice approach. I can relate to and identify with some of the pros/cons having come from S3, and most recently the Note 2.


New member
Oct 6, 2013
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Nice write up. I just switched from the S4 (US Cellular) to the 5s (Verizon). I tried an iPhone a couple of times but reception issues made me take it back. Other than that I have have a ton of Android phones (Note 2, Razr Maxx, and many more I can't remember). I have had my iPhone since Saturday and am going to give it my full 15 days to decide whether or not I am keeping it.

Things I miss:

Screen Size - I've noticed in the Gmail app I have trouble enlarging the text. I am better off in the Mail app. There have been a couple of webpages in Chrome that don't fit the screen very well and also in the Safari browser that do the same thing but different pages for both.

Swype - Not having Swype sucks. I miss it a lot. With the smaller screen I have a hard time hitting the right keys when typing.

Things I like:

The Display - Being able to see the screen outside is a big deal to me. Very bright and clear.

Apps - most of my apps have iPhone features that I didn't have when I had the same apps on Android

Size of the phone - I know above I said I didn't like it but I also like it. I'm not the smallest guy (6' 2" 240) but it is nice to have a phone in my pocket that I don't notice every time I sit down.

Music Player - On my S4 I could never get a playlist to work correctly. iTunes is what the others try to be.


Well-known member
Dec 1, 2010
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It is frustrating switching from one OS to another. I go back and forth every few months (but always come back to my iPhone, as I've said before). All in all, nice review and I can't wait to hear what you have to say about the phone a month from now! Great observations so far.


Active member
Jul 7, 2011
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Nice review.

Larry Pager said:
Wish control center had option to turn off cellular data- I do that all the time to preserve battery and data

Im not 100% sure if this meets your needs, but you can put the phone in airplane mode from control center, which turns off all the radios (cellular included). Good luck and have fun!

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