Is the iPhone 5s a good phone

Apple iPhone 5S in the test: is it suitable as a 100 euro cell phone?

Seven years and many hundreds of euros later: the iPhone 5S is already available for less than 100 euros.

Assessment of the editors


Sharp, bright display, compact format and a brisk working pace make the iPhone 5S unrivaled in this price range. On the other hand, the battery life is very short, the color representation of the display should be stronger and the memory larger. With iOS you get a very well thought-out and high-performance operating system - unfortunately without updates.

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  • Fast work pace
  • High quality, handy housing
  • Sharp, bright display
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Low battery life
  • Weak camera package
  • Very little memory
Although Apple has not officially sold it for a long time, the iPhone 5S is still available in stores as new: Currently (May 11, 2020) is listing the mini smartphone from 99 euros. Sure: the iPhone 5S, released in 2013, cannot keep up with current hardware breakers from its own family such as the iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro. Nevertheless, the former top model has aged well and offers all the bargain hunters in the segment of 100 euro smartphones interesting extras.

Overview: All details about the iPhone 5S

iPhone 5S: Premium-class design

The design of the iPhone 5S will also score in 2020: The elegant aluminum housing has a high-quality finish and, thanks to its small size, sits comfortably in the hand. By the way: The iPhone 5S was one of the first smartphones with a fingerprint sensor and at the same time the first smartphone in which COMPUTER BILD was able to demonstrate the cracking of the sensor with a little candle wax and latex in the laboratory in a matter of minutes. Today, unlocking the device by fingerprint is the standard function - but not for smartphones for around 100 euros.

Timelessly chic: Even if today's top devices mainly have glass backs, the light aluminum garment of the iPhone 5S is tough.

Compared to conventionally large smartphones like the Motorola Moto e6s here, the iPhone 5S looks downright cute.

iPhone 5S: display at hand

Compared to today's smartphones, the 4-inch screen of the iPhone 5S looks tiny. And that has unusually pleasant effects: thanks to its compact size, the small screen can also be conveniently operated with one hand. With a resolution of 1136x640 pixels, the display comes to a solid 325 pixels per inch (PPI). Smartphones in this price range usually only achieve 270 PPI, such as the Alcatel 1S or the Xiaomi Redmi 8a. The sharpness of the display is above average, but it lacks strong colors and contrasts. An equally cheap Moto e6s shows the nicer picture here. The iPhone 5S scores again in terms of brightness: with 520 candelas per square meter (cd / sqm), it is significantly brighter than its competition, which makes it easier to read image content in strong sunlight.

Advantage of the compact size: The 4-inch screen is easier to operate with one hand.

iPhone 5S: Fast operation thanks to the A7 chip

The iPhone 5S was Apple's first smartphone with a 64-bit processor - and that has been paying off since iOS 10 (the iPhone 5S even runs iOS 12). At the time, the iPhone 5S broke all benchmark records. Today it lags behind the big ones - but it still shows the little ones. It achieved 1,240 points in the 3D Mark Slingshot gaming benchmark (a proud 825 points on the "Extreme" setting). That is extraordinary for a smartphone in this price range. The Xiaomi Redmi 8a managed 821 and 444 points here, a Nokia 1.3 lagged behind with 333 points (0 points on Extreme). The iPhone 5S runs correspondingly fast. The loading times are still manageable, the system runs smoothly, there are no stuttering when scrolling or switching between apps. With WiFi 4 and LTE Cat 3 (100 megabits per second) surfing on the go is a little slower than with some cheap competitors.

iPhone 5S: 8 megapixel camera

The resolution of the main camera is 8 megapixels (MP). You won't find a second lens on the back. Nice extra: If you hold down the camera symbol, the new iPhones take photos in series. Here, the iPhone 5S took 93 shots within ten seconds in the test. Then you can choose the best photo. Daylight photos show natural colors and high dynamics. The sharpness is sufficient. Recordings in semi-darkness often show image noise and a large loss of detail. The front camera has a resolution of 1.2 MP that is below average. The inexpensive entry-level cell phones like the Moto e6s do better, but still: In this price range, not much is generally to be expected from a cell phone camera. If you want more here, you have to spend more.

In daylight, the photos show natural colors and good dynamics, the resolution is now considered low.

The iPhone 5S weakens particularly in shady areas and in low light (right half of the picture): there is picture noise and loss of detail.

iPhone 5S: video and slow motion

The 5S was the first smartphone at the time to record slow-motion videos smoothly (120 frames per second). The function is rarely found among 100-euro devices. The resolution is slightly reduced from the otherwise usual Full HD to 720p HD resolution. That doesn't bother in practice - sports films or children's videos are really fun. In the editor you can then determine on the iPhone which passages should run with a delay and which part of the video should run normally. This is how hobby films are fun.

iPhone 5S: battery performance

The battery is really a slim guy with its 1,560 mAh. The energy storage of today's iPhones and especially of androids exceed capacities of 3,000, 4,000 or even 5,000 mAh. But the iPhone 5S has the smaller, more economical display. Unfortunately, that's not enough: In the practice test with continuous video playback, it only ran for four hours and four minutes. It cannot keep up with endurance runners like the Xiaomi Redmi 8a (twelve hours and 29 minutes) or the Samsung Galaxy A20e. A disadvantage that comes at the cost of the compact housing size. It is all the more worthwhile for interested parties not to buy a second-hand iPhone 5S. The used battery in such an old model reduces the running time enormously.