iPhone and iPad

Should You Choose The iPhone 5s Over The iPhone 6?

Philip Bates 19-03-2015

Your phone is due an upgrade. Before you go straight for the new iPhone 6 or even the 6 Plus Should You Buy The Bigger iPhone 6 Plus? The term "phablet" very much applies to Apple's recently announced iPhone 6 Plus, but there's more to it than just a bigger screen. Read More , why not look into the iPhone 5s instead? That’s what I did – and I couldn’t be happier.


For a while, some mobile service providers were struggling to keep up with demand for the newer models. The 6 Plus particularly suffered. Customers were waiting weeks to get their hands on the smartphone they wanted. Now the dust has settled somewhat, is the 6 really worth it?

In a report from the Kantor World Panel, looking into the market over a three-month period ending with October 2014 in the USA, the iPhone 6 dominated the period with a 33% market share. The 5s nonetheless held a very respectable 26%, while the 6 Plus held 10%.

The iPhone 5s is still a popular and respected device.


iphone 6 and 6 Plus
Perhaps surprisingly enough, one of the biggest deciding factors in upgrading is size. The 6 is the largest iPhone we’ve seen so far, with a 4.7inch display compared with the 5s’s 4inch. And the 6 Plus measures in at 5.5inch! Smartphones becoming more like tablets has been a trend for a number of years now, in both size and thickness (leading to the abhorrent term, “phablet,” a halfway-house between phone and tablet).

Frankly, if I wanted a tablet, I’d buy a tablet. The iPad, for instance, is great, but if I’m taking even my iPad Mini anywhere, I’ll carry it separately – in my bag or a laptop case. The mobile phone, though, was designed to be portable; instead, as they have evolved, they’re beginning to revert to their more primitive sizings. Whenever photos of those early mobiles crop up, they’re met with comparisons to bricks.


In our iPhone 6 Plus review iPhone 6 Plus Review and Giveaway The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus is Apple's latest and perhaps strangest addition to its range of tablets and smartphones. Read More , we noted that “as a portable communication device the iPhone 6 Plus falls short,” so while there are those who love the larger screen, many still prefer a model that doesn’t fill up your whole pocket.

Should You Choose The iPhone 5s Over The iPhone 6? 10076066695 fb9125559e z

The 6 also feels awkward in your hand. The average palm size for a male is 3.3inch and for a female, 2.91inch, so a larger model makes gripping harder. That’s why the lock button has moved to the side on the 6, a break from previous models of the iPhone, iPod, and even iPad. And why Apple have been forced to add Reachability. To enable it, you go into Settings > General > Accessibility > Reachability, and then by lightly touching the home button twice, elements at the top of the screen will move down to within an attainable distance.

Also because of its size in comparison to the hand, the iPhone 6 Plus (and to an extent the iPhone 6) feels surprisingly slippery — the aluminium housing has little texture, so a case is advisable.


Price and Capacity

Money: the root of all evil. Apple loves it. You’re probably quite partial to saving it too. On one hand, if you don’t have much money, the 5s is a great option; on the other, even if you have money, is there much point in shedding out extra cash just to keep up with the Joneses?

Apple is known for its high price points, and the 6 is no different. But the 5s was only released in September 2013, just one year before its successor, so it’s an affordable way of obtaining a modern smartphone without spending the entire month’s wages.

Should You Choose The iPhone 5s Over The iPhone 6? 10575811506 eb4727615d z

The base 16GB iPhone 6 starts at $199 on contract, or an extra $100 for the 6 Plus; without a contract, a 6 will set you back $649. A 16GB 5s costs $99 with contract, or $549 without, or a 32GB one is just $50 extra. There is no comparison for the latter capacity, as Apple did something a bit surprising: odds were that the 16GB would disappear, but actually neither the 6 nor the 6 Plus come with 32GB; instead, they’re only available with 16GB, 64GB, or a massive 128GB. It’s a bizarre choice, one likely made to force customers to spend more on the bigger phone. When upgrading, people typically look to either keep the same capacity or get a slightly bigger one, not downgrade to 16GB. In fact, Iterative Path reckons this move earned $4billion.


Your choice of iPhone 5s is limited to either 16GB or 32GB via the Apple store now, but the 64GB is still around on sites like eBay. A second-hand 16GB 5s can be picked up for as little as $150, or generally about $300; the 16GB iPhone 6 typically sells for about $500.

iPhone Cases

Aside from initial purchase, accessories for the 5/5s are generally cheaper, and at the moment, there are more extras on the market for the older model, especially when it comes to cases. Yes, there are ample cases for the 6 and 6 Plus 6 Great Cases For The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus There is a huge range of cases available for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, covering just about every usage scenario you can come up with. Here are six of them. Read More , but they are a bit plain, with not so many great specialist items like ultra-tough cases The 5 Toughest iPhone Cases Money Can Buy Apple’s latest iPhone is surprisingly robust given its light weight but it’s only designed to survive minor drops in a friendly environment. Serious falls, dirt and water aren’t a factor, and that’s a problem if... Read More .

Smartphones are an extension of our personalities, after all. We should be proud to display interests, hobbies, or geek credentials! If you’re looking for a personalised case, the Internet boasts a wealth of services that can help you design your own Put a Bit Of Personality Into Your Smartphone Cover With These 4 Ideas This weekend I had the unfortunate luck to drop my iPhone flat on a hard pavement. It landed with a thud that told me what to expect when I turned it over. The back of... Read More – including Casetagram, which turns your Instagram photos into a snap-on case Casetagram: Personalize Your Smartphone Case With Instagram Photos [Giveaway] Picking the right case for your phone can be a challenge - whether it's the design, the way it feels in your hand or how it interferes with your preferred accessories. If you're looking for... Read More .


Features and Functionality

Admittedly, the iPhone 6 has a number of improvements over its predecessor. The 5s is slightly older, but does that make much of a difference?

Notably, the 6 has an A8 processor, which is faster and more efficient resulting in a longer battery life. The M8 co-processor, too, has upgraded the phone’s ability to collect sensor data – so we’re expecting an influx of sporting apps. However, the 5s’ A7 remains a highly-efficient processor, more than capable of dealing with anything the App Store throws at it.

Should You Choose The iPhone 5s Over The iPhone 6? 9962052434 f46914881d z

Apple Pay is one thing that the 6 and 6 Plus are capable of, but the 5s isn’t. Apple Pay uses near-field communications (NFC) What Is NFC & Should You Buy a Phone That Has It? [MakeUseOf Explains] If you’re in the market for a new phone in 2013, you’re probably going to hear about something called NFC, and how it’s apparently changing the world. Don’t be fooled by the sales talk though.... Read More technology, a secure element (SE) chip, and Touch ID to pay for items in the same way as “tap and go” or “contactless” credit cards. While the 5s has Touch ID, the NFC and SE chips are absent. It’s only just got going, but already Apple has had to blame banks for fraudulent activity, insisting that Apple Pay is “extremely secure.”

And then there’s the added problem with Apple Pay: it doesn’t (yet) work outside the USA. But if you are looking for contactless payment, most bank cards are capable of that already. This new gimmick isn’t going to change the world.

The iPhone 6’s camera is an improvement on the 5s… but not vastly. Both have Dual LED Flash, a 29mm focal length, and 1.2 megapixel forward facing camera. Apple, though, has added better digital image stabilisation, face detection, and low-light photography; while in camcorder mode, the 6 and 6 Plus also has increased frames per second and slow-motion recording. The 5s has this latter feature, but recording 120fps instead of the 6’s 240fps. It is an impressive camera, but perhaps isn’t the leap forward some Apple enthusiasts were expecting, especially considering the noticeable leap in camera quality between the 5 and 5s.

5s-6 comparison

The 5s’ 1.9µm pixels means it’s better capturing panoramas and low-light images than the 5, as well as Burst Mode for still photos and the aforementioned slo-mo camcorder. Its ‘True Tone’ flash also boasts a more natural light to proceedings, while its 1.5µm pixel back camera captures more detail.

Problems With The 6 and 6 Plus

As with most cutting-edge technology, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have their fair share of issues.

Complaints have concerned a gap between the screen and aluminium in which hair gets caught and ripped out; inconsistent backlighting; capricious reboots; the screen becoming easily scratched; and the camera’s occasional inability to focus. One particularly infuriating problem – which, again, Apple denies, instead saying it’s an isolated incident – involves the screen locking completely when shutting down apps, the white screen of death when accessing messages, and persistent instructions to sign into iCloud (followed by an inability to do so).

Which Will You Choose?

Yes, much of this comes down to personal taste. But the iPhone 5s, 6, and 6 Plus are all great smartphones.

With just a year between them, the core differences seem to be size, price, and Apple Pay. Technically, the 5s is already old. And, if reports of the next iPhone coming out later this year are true, the 6 and 6 Plus will be too.

Which one do you prefer? Are you having problems with either? What’s the deciding factor for you? Most importantly: are the 6 and 6 Plus just too big?! Let us know below.

Related topics: Buying Tips, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. hadi
    June 11, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    iPhone 5s is the best you can buy. its in a true sense a "phone" and not a phablet like 6 and 6s . it has a cool design awesome processing and easy to hold . i recommend iphone 5s to feel complete

    • Varun
      March 6, 2017 at 6:18 am

      Can i buy iphone 5s in 2017
      5s -Rs12500
      6-Rs 20000
      Both r 64 gb
      Which one should i buy

  2. Anthony
    April 12, 2016 at 9:31 am

    5 is Good Steve made 5 not 6 now Steve gone Apple no good .

  3. beast boy
    April 5, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    mama it is so coll that i can wow!!!

  4. raven
    April 5, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    its coll,raven.

  5. Jack
    May 16, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I think that the iPhone 6 is nice. But if you have a 5s I do not recommend upgrading. Your iPhone 5s is very powerful. If you are going to get a new iPhone but you don't want it to much money you should go with the 5s. The disappointing thing about the 6 that they took away the 32g and added a128g. They also took away the 64g on the 5s from the local Apple Store . If you do want a 64g 5s you will have to shop on a store on the internet like eBay. I have the 6 and I like it a lot. But my mom has a 16g 5s silver. She should not upgrade until the 7 comes out. That is my Opinion .

  6. BJ
    April 21, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    I have had the 6 since Dec 14', but recently bought the 5s for a back or to switch out. The 5s is has the best form factor and weight to it. Of course I appreciate my 6 for the screen size, but the 5s is just right. Only down fall is that the 5s doesn't have voice and data like the 6, under Verizon.

  7. Jen
    April 13, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    As I'm currently using 28 GB, anything less than 64 GB would require constantly adding and deleting items. I've had the iPhone 3, 4, 4S, 5S, and 6. Everyone saying they love their 5 and don't like the 6/Plus don't actually have one. I haven't had any of the anecdotal problems the family and friends of 5S owners had. A 64 GB 6 for $299 vs a 16 GB 5S for $100 is a clear choice for the 6. If Apple hadn't purposely taken all the 64GB 5S phones of the market, it would be $200-$250, that is the real comparison as some of us need the extra space. I actually got the 6 for $100 plus tax buy trading my 4S in and receiving a store gift card instead of a merchandise credit. The 4S was also a free upgrade from Apple because I repeated brought my 4 in for repairs until they got tired of it and gave me the 4S so not everyone has a new phone to keep up with the Joneses. If the 5S suits your needs, that's great, and it is a good deal, this article just read like a droid user pointing out everything wrong with Apple. I find droids confusing, but I don't feel the need to trash them. This is a biased point of view, if you don't need or want some of the things the newer models have that's your preference, but it's very negative about the 6 for reasons that may not pertain to other people such as capacity.

  8. Aibek
    March 27, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    I have been through all models over the last 3 years. Currently on iPhone 6 Plus and it's BY FAR the best phone i ever had. I am sure the iPhone 6 is pretty good too but I do find it a bit small now :). I could never go back to iPhone 5s. Although there is just a year between iPhone 5s and iPhone 6, these are two very different phones. You need to try using iPhone 6 for few days to feel that.

    I would not recommend anyone buying iPhone 5s now.

    • Philip Bates
      March 31, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      That's interesting, Aibek. Personally, I'm the opposite. I really dislike the size of the 6, let alone the 6 Plus, and as I know quite a few who have had issues with it, I'd not recommend the 6 to anyone. But as you say, they're very different phones. People will be naturally drawn to one over the other. I'm afraid to say that size is a big issue!

  9. rick
    March 22, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Iphone6 is best from 6plus cuz apple is famous in sexy phones not in note series phone

  10. hp
    March 21, 2015 at 6:25 am

    Which will I choose? Hmmm.... oh, that's right! Another BlackBerry! There's more to life than iphone.

    • Philip Bates
      March 31, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      True, but if you're used to either system, you'll probably stick with it. I'm used to the iPhone and when I tried a BlackBerry, I couldn't get on with it at all. Nonetheless, I know they're the firm favourites for millions of people.

  11. Big E
    March 20, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    I am a hard-core Apple fan and own a 5S. I could upgrade but I have been completely put out by the size of the iPhone 6. I use a battery case because I am a power user. I could never imagine the size of a battery case on an iPhone 6.

    • Philip Bates
      March 31, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      Some may laugh at this, but the excessive size of the 6 and 6 Plus put me off completely. And I'm dreading when this contract comes to an end and my only upgrades will likely be the size of the 6 or bigger!

  12. Anonymous
    March 20, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    I like my 5S better than the 6.
    I will wait till the 6 has all the bugs taken out, then get the upgraded 6 later this fall.

    • Al G.
      March 21, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      I feel the same. I'm still rocking my 5s and still loving it. I'll skip the 6 and head for the 6s when it comes out.

  13. dan
    March 20, 2015 at 3:28 am

    you should think about the future how long will that little 16GB phone last you? my 128GB iphone 6 (not plus) will last a long time as long as i use free itunes to do my free updates and i havent had a single problem so far. i've had it since beginning of december. i do my updates as needed and use my phone a lot. i've had a tech 21 case on it since day one and not a scratch. i will get my money's worth by keeping it a long time.

    • Bar
      March 20, 2015 at 5:53 am

      Dan, every iPhone that came out was presented as "the best thing ever". Don't worry, Apple are genius' at marketing. They will make sure the 6S is attractive enough for you to upgrade to. If not, they will make sure the new iOS is perfectly optimized for the new iPhone but more taxing on the previous models.

      tl;dr: Your phone's hard disk memory is irrelevant.

  14. Tom
    March 19, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    My 5s came free with a two year contract extension. The 6 option was . . . uh . . . not free. No thinking required.

    • Emily
      March 20, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      Who are you with Tom? My carrier VZ is charging $99 for the 5s 16GB to upgrade with a contract extension.

  15. Doc
    March 19, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus came out seven months ago today...I think anybody who wanted either, or an iPhone 5/5C, has already made up their minds, thanks.

    • Philip Bates
      March 31, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Yes... unless contracts are coming to an end and an upgrade is possible. That's exactly what happened to me, and I didn't know which one to chose. Fortunately, some of my family and friends had gone for a 6, and I hated it when I used it, so I went for the 5s. Nonetheless, until then, I wasn't sure.

      And what about those who are only now switching to Apple?

  16. Hildegerd
    March 19, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Come on, you are enabling people to spend too much money on tech from 2013, that is not right even if it is an iPhone, instead you should advice them to save up some cash and wait for the upgrade of the 6 in sept/october.

    • Philip Bates
      March 31, 2015 at 7:56 pm

      But obviously I don't see it as too much money. I wouldn't particularly advise people to save up for whatever upgrade is coming this year: people who love everything Apple does will save up for the 6s (or whatnot) regardless; those who are thinking it over could be won over by the 5 quite easily. If you don't like the 6, you probably won't like the next thing Apple churns out. I'm merely asking people to think about it. Personally, I think you'd be spending a reasonably small amount for a 5s, while the 6 is far too costly.