The iPhone 5s' exterior is almost identical to that of the iPhone 5: save the upgraded home button (now a Touch ID fingerprint scanner) and larger flash, only the slightly different colour schemes allow you to tell them apart. It’s a fantastically well-made phone, and very easy on the eyes too – but just as its predecessor lost out to the HTC One by a whisker, it does too.
The HTC One is, basically, the best-looking, best-constructed smartphone ever made. A fuss-free, seamless aluminium unibody, ergonomically-sound curved back (it feels lovely in your hand) and Gorilla Glass screen that seems to bleed right into the handset’s edges make it, in our opinion, the most desirable phone in the world right now.
Winner: HTC One
Like the exterior design, the iPhone 5s’ screen is largely carried over from its predecessor: a 4in, 1136 x 640 LCD Retina display that delivers a pixel density of 326ppi. Apple has made some improvements to contrast and black levels, and motion seems a touch smoother too.
The HTC One’s 4.7in full HD screen, blows it out of the water when it comes to detail: its pixel density is a staggering 469ppi. It’s substantially larger the the 5s’ display too, which for some (especially the tiny of hand) is a drawback but for most a benefit. The brightness and contrast packs a nice punch too. No doubt about it: HTC takes this round too.
Winner: HTC One
The HTC One has, until recently, been in the top two or three smartphones in the world when it comes to processing power. Its quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU, running at 1.7GHz and 2GB of RAM is a formidable setup, and only the likes of the LG G2 (with a Snapdragon 800) and Samsung Galaxy S4 (with a quad-core Exynos CPU) are speedier.
The iPhone 5S has an all-new proprietary A7 chip (dual-core, 1.7GHz) that Apple claims is twice as fast as the iPhone 5’s A6 chip. It may be substantially beefier than the 5 on paper, but in practice you’ll struggle to see the difference – largely because the 5 was already so smooth in everyday use. As more demanding apps appear, that’ll change.
This is a tough round to call, because it’s difficult to really assess how good the iPhone 5S’ A7 processor is until we see a new raft of 64-bit apps: games like Infinity Blade III should help paint a picture of just how significant Apple’s leap to 64-bit architecture really is. Certain cross-platform benchmark apps put the iPhone 5S in front, but in ral-world use these two are neck-and-neck.
The 5S also has an M7 coprocessor which can measure motion and orientation of the phone even when it’s in sleep mode. It should make the 5S able to run Fitbit-style all-day health trackers without draining the battery excessively. Then there's the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which makes unlocking the iPhone 5S a breeze and should come into its own as more apps and service support it.
On the storage front, the HTC One offers 32GB and 64GB options, while the iPhone 5S comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Neither has expandable memory.
Winner: iPhone 5s (just)