Apple iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s: Should I upgrade?

The iPhone 6 was announced by Apple this week and, while there isn’t a standout  feature to overshadow everything else, the phone has been improved over the year-old 5s in several important areas.

We'll go into more detail below, for for your at-a-glance needs here's how the two handsets' spec sheets stack up:

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s: Size and screen

The biggest change is the size of the iPhone 6 and its display, which has increased from four inches to 4.7 inches. This means resolution is up from 1136 x 640 on the iPhone 5s to 1334 x 750 on the iPhone 6. Not a massive increase, but one which will ensure everything remains pin-sharp despite the extra space; the pixel density is the same for both phones, at 326 per inch.

A larger screen of course means the iPhone’s chassis has grown to accommodate it. The handset’s length and width has increased from 132.4 x 65.5mm to 138.1 x 67mm; the extra width will hardly be noticeable, but the extra height will and we suspect some users may find it uncomfortable to reach the top of the screen when using the new phone one-handed. For a sense of scale, the iPhone 6 is around 6mm shorter than the HTC One (M8).

But the iPhone 6 isn’t larger in every direction. At 6.9mm it’s thinner than the 7.6mm iPhone 5s, while it weighs a little more - 129g compared to 112.

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s: Camera

Both the iPhone 5s and 6 have eight megapixel cameras on the back and 1.2-megapixel shooters on the front. Both cameras are very similar on the two phones, but Apple has worked to improve image quality and autofocus speed of the iPhone 6.

The iPhone 6's camera is able to shoot slow-motion video at 240 frames per second, double that (and therefore half the speed) of the iPhone 5s' best slo-mo efforts.

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s: Processor

The iPhone 6 uses Apple’s new A8 processor, an upgrade from the A7 inside the iPhone 5s. The company has also given the new phone its M8 motion chip, and again this is an improvement over the M7 in its year-old predecessor. We’ll have to test both phones back-to-back before we can say how much quicker the iPhone 6 is. The only real difference we know for now is that the M8 has a barometer to measure your altitude, and thus how many flights of stairs you climb each day - data which is added to the new Health app preinstalled on iOS 8. Incidentally, iOS 8 will be available on both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 when it launches later this month.

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s: Battery

A larger capacity battery means the iPhone 6 offers four hours more 3G talk time, two hours more 3G web browsing, an hour of extra Wi-Fi browsing, an hour more video playback, and 10 hours more audio playback compared to the 5s.

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s: Storage and price

The iPhone 5s has storage options of 16, 32 and 64GB, while the new iPhone 6 offers 16, 64 and 128GB. It’s great that Apple has doubled the highest option, but keeping the 16GB model instead of making 32GB the cheapest option looks like an obvious money-grabbing attempt to squeeze an extra £80 out of consumer who will be talked into the mid-tier 64GB model. It’s a shame and makes the 16GB model look very undesirable - but then we suppose that’s the point.

As for prices, the iPhone 6 costs £539, £619 and £699 for the 16, 64 and 128GB versions respectively, while the 5s has had a price cut and is down to £459 and £499 for the 16GB and 32GB options. Apple no longer sells a 64GB version of the iPhone 5s.

More more thing...

Being the first iPhone to have NFC, the 6 will soon make use of the new Apple Pay service, where users can pay for goods with a tap of their iPhone 6. Apple has partnered with Visa, MasterCard, American Express and a number of US banks to make this work, but it'll be US-only at launch. We can't wait to pay for our shopping with a tap of our iPhone, but it could be some time before Apple Pay arrives in the UK

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s: Verdict

The iPhone 6 is a strong update from the 5s. It answers the demands from press and consumers alike for a bigger screen, while keeping Apples trademark aluminium design intact and making the phone even thinner than its predecessor. But once both phones are running iOS 8 it might be more difficult to convince 5s users that upgrading to the 6 is the best way to spend more than £500.

A strong update for sure, and we can’t wait to try the iPhone 6 for ourselves, but 5s owners shouldn’t feel too shortchanged - unless the bigger screen is absolutely essential, you should be happy for another year.


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