The launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September 2014 caused the price of the iPhone 5s to be cut significantly, so if you can’t decide whether to buy a newly reduced price iPhone 5s or go for the bigger and newer iPhone 6 or 6Plus, here is a comparison which may help.
Apple launched the iPhone 5s in September 2013, making it just over 1 year old. When it was first released, it cost nearly £550 but the newly reduced price means it now costs around £450.
The iPhone 6, launched September 2014 currently costs £540 for the 16GB version, £620 for the 64GB version or you need to pay £700 for the 128GB version.
To sum up, the iPhone 5s is at least £80 cheaper than the smallest iPhone 6, so if you’re on a tight budget, this saving could be significant in making your decision.
Apple acknowledge that they are having trouble meeting demand for the iPhone 6, which is proving far more popular than the iPhone 6 Plus (apparently selling nearly 6 times as well). Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple has admitted as much – he made a statement in October that confirmed they were off target, and in fact ‘not on the same planet’ which is a bit of a worry.
On the other hand, the iPhone 5s is actually still selling in large quantities, in fact almost as well as the iPhone 6, and supply appears to be meeting demand.
If you need to be sure you can get your hands on one of these Apple devices, the iPhone 5s might be a better choice.
The first thing you see when you look at the iPhone 6 is the size – the phone is larger with a larger screen – 4.7 inches compared to 4 inches for the iPhone 5s. Some users have struggled with the larger phone as it is hard to operate with one hand (see Reachability under Software below) whereas the smaller phone is great for one-handed operation.
The next thing is the new smooth sleek iPhone 6 design with aluminium chassis, rounded edges and different button placement (lock button is on the side of the phone). The iPhone 6 is thinner (6.9mm) than the iPhone 5 (7.6mm) but heavier at 129g as opposed to 112g due mainly to the increased screen size.
Both phones are available in the same colour range of Gold, Silver and Space Grey.
The iPhone 6 is a handsome device, pleasing to the eye, but large and slightly slippery to hold. If you want a small, light iPhone, maybe go for the iPhone 5s.
We’ve mentioned the size of the screen, but what about resolution? Both phones have the same 326ppi density of pixels, but the iPhone 6 has additional pixels to allow for the larger screen, plus an increased contrast ratio and dual-domain pixels which apparently aid viewing angle.
Screen size is an important differentiator between the two iPhone models – the industry is moving towards larger displays, driven by consumer demand as it improves game playing and media viewing. If you’re happy with a 4 inch screen and therefore a smaller phone, go for the iPhone 5s, but if you want the advantages that a larger screen gives, and don’t mind having a larger phone, the iPhone 6 is the best choice.
The iPhone 5s has an A7 64-bit chip. The iPhone 6 has an A8 chip, which is smaller, has improved processor performance and better power efficiency which helps with battery life. In day to day use, the difference in processor performance may not be obvious, as the iPhone 5s is already a powerful device, but the battery life improvement in the iPhone 6 is of real benefit.
Both processors run at a comparable clock speed – roughly 1.2GHz, and both have 1GB memory.
The GeekBench 3 test came up with a score of 2549 for the iPhone 5s, but the iPhone 6 scored more highly at 2794.
The iPhone 5s co-processor is an M7, but the iPhone 6 has an improved M8 version, which can perform more functions such as detecting whether you are running, cycling or walking, and also approximate elevation and distance – handy for all those fitness and health apps.
The iPhone 5s has 4G LTE support and 13 LTE bands, whereas the iPhone 6 has 4G LTE support and support for 20 LTE bands.
The iPhone 6 also has several features not available on the iPhone 5 – these include voice over LTE (VoLTE) for better call quality (only available in the UK on EE), NFC combined with Touch ID fingerprint sensor to support Apple Pay in 2015 and 802.11ac WiFi.
The iPhone 5s currently comes with 16GB & 32GB storage – the 64GB model is no longer available.
The iPhone 6 comes with 16GB, 64GB & 128GB – it’s odd that the 16GB option has been retained and there is no 32GB, presumably Apple had their reasons for this choice.
Apple claim that the iPhone 6 has talk time of 14 hours (iPhone 5s is 10 hours), internet use of 10 hours (iPhone 5s 8 hours), one hour extra video play back and 10 hours extra audio play back time.
Both iPhones have 8 megapixel rear facing iSight cameras, complete with 1.5 micron pixels and f/2.2 aperture.
The iPhone 6 has some improvements to the front camera including focus pixels to aid auto-focus, slo-mo mode, digital image stabilisation, an improved aperture (f/2.2, the same as the rear camera), better low-light level photos, Burst mode and face-detection.
Both phones run iOS 8, but to counter problems with the larger size of the iPhone 6, Apple has brought in a Reachability function – tapping the Touch ID fingerprint sensor twice brings items on the screen lower down, enabling a degree of one-handed operation.
There is no doubt that both iPhone models are superb smartphones, so really you need to decide which factors are most important for you.
If you want a smaller, slightly cheaper (£80 cheaper) smartphone that’s fast and has a decent camera, and don’t need large amounts of storage (32Gb maximum), the iPhone 5s is probably the best choice.
On the other hand, if you’re not so price-sensitive and want a larger display (4.7 inches compared to 4 inches), and you can put up with a larger phone, plus you want a sleek stylish design with NFC and lots of storage (up to 128GB), then the iPhone 6 is the one for you.