Apple iPhone 5S: Comparing superphones

It’s a tale of two solitudes: Apple has stuck to a roughly once-a-year product release cadence with its iPhone since it first bowed in 2007, while new and ever-more feature-laden Android-powered superphones from Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG, Sony and others seem to pop up in stores and online virtually every week or so.

As the competition continued to mount, Apple’s annual cycle didn’t do the iconic smartphone any favours this year. The iPhone 5 cruised into the late summer with a growing list of things it lacked compered to the competition. The almost-year-old product – it turns one out Sept. 12th – needed a refresh.

A quick look at the specs of the just-announced iPhone 5S shows that Apple has once again levelled the playing field. Where the iPhone 5 was starting to be outshone by newer competitors with faster Wi-Fi, enterprise-grade security and quad- and even eight-core processors, the new 5S fills in the obvious gaps, with careful tweaks to the hardware and the upgrade to iOS7. In doing so, Apple’s latest device re-ignites the battle for supremacy among flagship phones.

The new top-end device manages to re-establish the iPhones without radically shifting away from what made previous versions so successful in he first place. At first glance, save for the fancy new slate, gold or silver color scheme, it’s easy to mistake the 5S for the 5. Continuing its previous habit of keeping the basic shape consistent for at least two consecutive generations, the screen hasn’t physically grown.

While the new superphone’s less expensive little brother, the colourful iPhone 5C, may have stolen some of the 5S’s thunder, it’s the halo product that sets the tone for the platform and indicates where Apple may be headed next with the rest of its iOS-based lineup, namely the iPad and iPod touch. For now, at least, the 5S keeps Apple current.

Here’s a closer look at today’s top superphones from the major players. While no one device is perfect for everyone, some hardware specs matter more – or less – depending on how the phone is ultimately used. Let the specs be your guide:

iPhone 5SiPhone 5Samsung Galaxy S4
HTC OneMotorola XLG G2Sony Experia Z1
Processor"Apple A7 (64 bit)
M7 motion coprocessor    
Apple              A6     Qualcomm Snapdragon 600*            
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600             
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro                Qualcomm Snapdragon 800            
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800           
Processor Cores2244244
Processor Speed (GHz)N/A1.
Screen Size (Inches)
Screen TypeRetinaRetinaSuper AMOLEDSuper LCD 3Super AMOLEDTrue HD-IPS + LCDTriluminos
Screen Resolution (Pixels)1136 x 6401136 x 6401920 x 10801920 x 10801280 x 7201920 x 10801920 x 1080
Pixels per Inch (PPI)326326441468316424441
Dimensions (Inches, HWD)4.87 x 2.31 x 0.304.87 x 2.31 x 0.305.38 x 2.75 x 0.315.41 x 2.69 x 0.375.09 x 2.57 x 0.415.45 x 2.79 x 0.355.67 x 2.91 x 0.33
Dimensions (mm, HWD)123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6137 x 70 x 7.9137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3129.3 x 65.3 x 10.4138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9144 x 74 x 8.5
Available coloursSlate, Gold, SilverBlack, WhiteBlack, WhiteBlack, White, Red, BlueMultiple/CustomizedBlack, WhiteBlack, White, Purple
Weight (Ounces)3.953.954.595.044.595.046.00
Weight (Grams)112112130143130143180
Wi-Fi802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
(802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz)
802.11 a/b/g/n
(802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz)
802.11 a/b/g/n
(802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/ac/b/g/nWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/acWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/acWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Additional Radios/AccessGPS, Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0, fingerprint scannerGPS, Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0GPS, Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, InfraredGPS, Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, InfraredGPS, Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0, NFCGPS, Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, InfraredGPS, Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Operating SystemiOS7iOS6Android 4.2.2 Jelly BeanAndroid 4.1.2 Jelly BeanAndroid 4.2.2 Jelly BeanAndroid 4.2.2 Jelly BeanAndroid 4.3 Jelly Bean
Storage (Gb)16, 32, 6416, 32, 6416, 32, 6432, 641616, 3216, 32
ExpansionNoneNonemicroSD, up to 64 GbNoneNoneNonemicroSD, up to 64 Gb
RAM1 Gb1 Gb2 Gb2 Gb2 Gb2 Gb2 Gb
Rear Camera8MP iSight with built-in image stabilization & 15% larger sensor8MP iSight13MP4.08MP (UltraPixel) with optical image stabilization10MP13MP with optical image stabilization20.7MP
Video Capture1080p video at 30 fps
720p video at 120 fps (slow-mo)
Up to 1080p at 30fpsUp to 1080p at 30 fps"Up to 1080p at 30 fps
Up to 720p at 60 fps
Up to 108op at 60 fpsUp to 108op at 60 fpsUp to 1080p at 30 fps
Front Camera720p video at 30 fps
1.2MP photos
720p video at 30 fps
1.2MP photos
2.0MP1080p video at 30 fps
2.1MP photos
"1080p video at 30 fps
2.0MP photos
1080p video at 30 fps
2.4MP photos
1080p video at 30 fps
2.0MP photos
Battery CapacityN/A1440 mAh2,600 mAh2,300 mAh2,200 mAh3,000 mAh3,000 mAh
Battery Removable?NoNoYesNoNoNoNo
Talk Time3G: Up to 10h3G: Up to 8hUp to 17h2G: Up to 27h
3G: Up to 18h
Up to 13hUp to 28.9h2G: Up to 13h, 50 min
3G: Up to 15h
Standby TimeUo to 250 hoursUp to 225 hours3G: Up to 15 days
4G: Up to 13 days
2G: Up to 20 days, 20 hours
3G: Up to 20 days
Up to 10 daysUp to 29 days2G: Up to 36 days, 16 hours
3G: Up to 35 days, 10 hours