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iPhone 5S Unboxing and Hands-on: How Different is it from the iPhone 5?

It's here! The iPhone 5S!
It’s here! The iPhone 5S!

Time to Unbox the iPhone 5S!

Introduced as the premium brother of the iPhone 5C, the iPhone 5S is supposed to be Apple’s most “forward looking” smartphone yet. We’re going to put their claim to the test as we were finally able to get our hands on an iPhone 5S! Yes folks, you read that right… the iPhone 5S is at the Unbox HQ! We’re definitely going to give this the full review treatment but as always we want to kick things off by sharing with you our unboxing and initial impressions.

Before anything let’s check out the complete specifications of the iPhone 5S below.

iPhone 5S Spec Sheet

  • 1.3GHz Dual-core ARM v8-based 64 Bit CPU, Apple A7 Chip
  • PowerVR G6430 Quad-core Graphics
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB/32GB/64GB Internal Storage
  • 4.0-inches LED Backlit IPS LCD Capacitive Touchscreen
  • Retina Display, 326 pixels per inch
  • Corning Gorilla Glass, Oleophobic coating
  • Fingerprint Sensor
  • 8.0-megapixels primary camera, Dual LED Two Tone Flash, Autofocus,
  • 1/3′ ‘ Sensor Size, 1.5 µm pixel size
  • Records video 1080p@30fps, 720p@120fps, advnaced video stabilization
  • 1.2-megapixels secondary camera, records video 720p@30fps
  • 3G, HSPA+, LTE, WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/aGPS
  • 1560mAH Battery
  • iOS 7

With that out of the way let’s jump into the unboxing!

Packaging and Unboxing

There you go. Much better box than the packaging of the iPhone 5C.
There you go. Much better box than the packaging of the iPhone 5C.

The iPhone 5S uses the more traditional packaging for the iPhone as opposed to the iPhone 5C. As you guys saw with our iPhone 5C unboxing, Apple used the same type of plastic box they used with the iPod Touch for the iPhone 5C so that they can fully show off the colors of the device. The iPhone 5S, on the other hand, uses the compact clean hard carton box that we’ve seen with 4, 4S, and 5. We prefer this type of box since it keeps the premium feel of the iPhone as opposed to how they did it with the iPhone 5C.

Unboxing was straightforward. We removed the plastic and then pulled the lid off and we were immediately greeted by the iPhone 5S! We got the Black / Space Gray variant since this was more up our alley versus the other two colors. Truth be told though we actually tried getting the gold one but it was out of stock everywhere! The chatter is that the Arabs bought all the stocks (even before they landed) in Hong Kong and Singapore. Most Apple stores in the region sold very limited quantities of the gold model.

Officially unboxed!
Officially unboxed!
iPhone 5S in gorgeous Space Gray
iPhone 5S in gorgeous Space Gray

Other than the iPhone 5S, we found the usual stuff in the compartment below: EarPods, Lightning Cable, wall charger, manuals, Apple Logo stickers, and the SIM tray pin key.

Hardware: Space Gray is Dope


We have two main observations about the chassis of the new iPhone 5S. First is that it looks absolutely gorgeous in space gray. Among all three variants our preference really is with this one since it’s very sleek, modern, and subtle. It kinda feels like a crime to get a full case for this as opposed to just using a bumper so you can still show off the back, hehehe.

Our second observation is probably something that a lot of future iPhone 5S owners will also notice. With the exception of the color, the iPhone 5S literally feels and looks like the iPhone 5. It’s the same 4-inch screen, full aluminum clad body, and light/thin form factor. Apple didn’t change much so it will feel very familiar especially if you’re coming from the iPhone 5. If you’re coming from the 4 or 4S though it will definitely be a nice change due to the slightly bigger display (4-inch versus 3.5-inch).

Same form factor
Same form factor

As proof that it’s built just like an iPhone 5, we tried using the iPhone 5S with different iPhone 5 cases. Guess what? It fits perfectly! We used the BoostCase (one of our favorites) and the Otterbox Defender and we didn’t have any problem putting them on the iPhone 5S. This is great news for iPhone 5 owners who are upgrading to the iPhone 5S. You won’t have to buy a bunch of new cases anymore since your old ones will work. :)

Software: iOS 7 with Key Enhancements

What's different?
What’s different?

On the software and performance side, we can’t really feel the upgraded 64-bit processor yet because there aren’t any big apps that take advantage of it yet. The iPhone 5S has the same buttery smooth and fluid user experience delivered by the iPhone 5. Virtually no lags, delays, and crashes. The biggest difference with usage so far is the TouchID feature that Apple implemented. To unlock your iPhone or confirm purchases on the App store all you have to do is use the fingerprint sensor on the home button. It’s actually quite convenient since you won’t have to keep typing in your pass code or iTunes password. Hopefully app developers will be able to come up with more ideas how to use this in the future.

Fingerprint sensor FTW!
Fingerprint sensor FTW!

We also noticed two more things — the camera is better and much more fun to use. We’ve been playing around with the slow motion video capture and it’s a hoot! We’ll upload our samples when we do the full review later on. The two-tone flash is also one of the nicer implementations of flash that we’ve seen in a while (next best thing to Xenon on the Lumia 1020). Lastly the battery life has some noticeable improvement. It’s not a major breakthrough but we feel like we’re getting at least 1-2 hours more versus the iPhone 5. We’ll confirm this during our full review.

Full Review Coming Very Soon!

Side-by-side the iPhone 5C
Side-by-side the iPhone 5C

And that’s it for our initial take on the iPhone 5S! We’ll publish full reviews for both the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S hopefully by this weekend. We’re using them as our daily drivers so that we can get the reviews out as soon as possible.

To those wondering, we expect the iPhone 5S to officially land in the Philippines via both telcos sometime in November-December.

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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