Spec wars: iPhone 5s vs. Nexus 4 vs. HTC One vs. BlackBerry Z10 vs. Lumia 1020

Spec wars: iPhone 5s vs. Nexus 4 vs. HTC One vs. BlackBerry Z10 vs. Lumia 1020

Here it is, iPhone 5s vs Nexus 4 vs HTC One vs. BlackBerry Z10 vs. Lumia 1020! Since Apple has just released all the information regarding tech specs of their latest flagship phone, the iPhone 5s, it's time to put them head to head with the competition.

The most noticeable updates to the iPhone 5s over its predecessor, the iPhone 5, are internal changes. That's pretty much what we expected anyways. One of the biggest updates is the processor which received a significant bump to an A7 chipset that features 64-bit architecture along with an M7 co-processor which will greatly help many apps better sense and track motion, particularly fitness apps.

Apple's next flagship feature unique to the iPhone 5s is the Touch ID fingerprint sensor which consists of four layers and complete 360-degree readability. If it works as well as Apple claims it does, it could make security a heck of a lot more convenient.

The camera has also received some improvements including a better flash that Apple is calling a True Tone flash. Instead of boosting megapixels, they chose the route of increasing the sensor to 1.5µ pixels. This is similar to what HTC did with the HTC One in order to handle low light settings better. It isn't as good of an increase as HTC's 2.0µ pixels but it's definitely a better choice that just adding raw megapixels.

What were your thoughts on today's events? Did you get everything you hoped for? Are these features enough to make you want an iPhone 5s over the competition? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Spec wars: iPhone 5s vs. Nexus 4 vs. HTC One vs. BlackBerry Z10 vs. Lumia 1020


Is it me or the BlackBerry Z10 specs really stack up... top 2 on every physical specification...

It seems pretty dang comparable or better sometimes. But I was hoping this chart had the 5C specs too. I'm hoping to get one of those.

I'm still digging through all the posts to see if it has AWS. :D It'll be a considerable buy.

Z10 & Nexus 4
Z10 is the best business work horse out there, it has a powerful hub with the great quality screen and no need for a case.
Nexus4 for best android pure experience. Thinking to swith the nexus with a 5s but afraid of the ios7 issues and the small screen.

I dont use it so much after experiencing the Z10 quality, just using it for some apps that cant be sideloaded on the Z10

Read it and weep, fandroids: 64-bit processor.
Now Apple is bringing superior specs to an experience fight.
Game over.

Do you actually understand what 64-bit means?
If not then I'll explain.
32-bit has a maximum of 3.5GB of RAM accessible, whereas 64-bit just increases it to a theoretical 16.8 million terabytes. Seeing as the 5s will be unlikely to implement more than 2GB of RAM this is not a feature to boast about.

OMG. You're trying to spin 64-bits as a RAM feature?

Well, in case you didn't read the full Wikipedia entry, TLDR-boy, a 64-bit processor has 64-bit instruction registers *as well as* 64-bit address registers. Not to mention a 64-bit data bus. So overall processing speed can be vastly increased if the OS and apps are also 64-bit enabled.

Get it? No? Then go back to Android Central for some more grief counseling.

I don't need to read a bloody wiki entry to know that 64-bit over 32-bit does not 'vastly increase processing speed'. Streamlining does occur between the two which will give you maybe a 10% increase AT BEST. The only reason that 64-bit was implemented was to break the barrier of 3.5GB of RAM and allow an almost indefinite limit to how much can be used in the future. And 64-bits is as much a feature as it is a 'specification'.

From my experience, the 64bit processor will likely be running a 32bit virtual mode most of the time just to ensure the apps work. I STRONGLY doubt that apple will rigorously test and fix every app just to perform 1-10% better on the newest O/S on their newest device alone.

Not really talking about virtualization here but a valid point. Mostly just that the OS itself will only have a small boost in speed than if it were on 32-bit. Apps themselves will work fine on both, as anything 32-bit will run on 64-bit, just that as soon as the 4GB threshold is breached on mobiles there will be a noticeable difference on most tasks, multitasking, apps etc that are able to take advantage of it.

I don't know what your experience is, but Apple does not run a virtual 32-bit anything. Apple has the biggest experience with moving to newer architectures quicker and smoothly than most companies, they had a lot of major successes in the last few decades with this. (PPC > Intel, 32-bit > 64-bit Intel, that's off my head)

Apple already announced that iOS 7 runs in 64-bit everything; kernel, built-in apps, etc.

In addition, Apple doesn't have to fix anything, Xcode handles everything before developers upload their apps for both 32-bit and 64-bit modes. That's the benefit of having both hardware/software integration, they know what needs to be done and optimize it on the fly.

In addition, Apple already said that the new A7 chip has twice the hardware registers, which speeds up the instructions a lot. 10% increase is still very good on a mobile CPU.

Does it turn the screen into something that is HD or bigger than 4"? Can you talk up 64-bit more, even though they still only have dual core and 1GB RAM?

I almost hate to break this to you, but he's right. The biggest benefit of a 64 bit CPU and bus is the ability to address more than 3.5GB of RAM. I'm a systems engineer. Intel processors went 64 bit almost a decade ago, alongside AMD. Windows XP introduced a true 64 bit edition, as did Vista. 7 and 8 ship by default in 64 bit configurations, and OSX showed up to the party with extensions later.

The 64 bit CPU architecture will be important in future iDevices, it won't matter in iPhone 5s.

what does matter: still no HD screen, still no NFC, and a camera that pales in comparison with the competition, especially the Lumia 1020.

IPhone 5S is just another piece of evidence that innovative thinking left Cupertino the day Steve Jobs died.

I didn't post anything inaccurate, and you apparently didn't read the link yourself. The primary benefit of 64 bit computing is the ability to use more than 4GB of RAM. Another benefit is the ability of CPU's with 64 bit registers to more effectively handle FILES larger than 4GB in memory. I don't think it's hard to infer here, that in order to use either of those benefits, you need *at least* 4GB of memory; more if you actually want to run your OS at the same time as you're dealing with 4GB files.

Once again: 64 bit CPU's are great for some future device down the road, but it's going to mean very little for iPhone 5S. It simply doesn't have the hardware resources to make a meaningful difference, and right now it's the only 64 bit iOS device on the market, so it's not going to be the primary target for most app development anyway. Developers will do as they SHOULD do: build their apps to be compatible with the broadest range of iDevices possible.

Don't go pretending this is some kind of revolutionary device. It isn't. It is iterative, and only marginally so.

Game over... umm no this is not the "end all others: iphone". It seems to stack up well, but like many iphone users have been saying for years, it isn't about the specs it is about the user experience. Which I totally agree with.

hehe... so the comparison to the iphone 1 in terms of speed.. of course they had to use the iphone 1... cause if they did a comparison to the iphone 5 or 5c .. it would have only been like 0.3 times faster...

still a 8mp camera.. whoopie better sensors.. still dual core... still probably only 1gb of RAM.. and still ......ready?? and small 4inch screen!

yes i will give u that specs really don't matter as iOS is pretty optimized to work well with the hardware it has.. and hence why there is no real overhaul of iOS.. cause they would lose all that optimization ...

Possible to squeeze in the GS4 (as Samsung's flagship) and the iPhone 5 (so those of us teetering on upgrading can easily see differences) in this chart?

No joke. BB and Windows Phone devices have negligible marketshare, I don't even like the GS4 but leaving it off seems silly.

And this comparison is not really flagship to flagship - some of these phones are OLD! What about the Sony Xperia Z1? What about the Samsung Galaxy S4?

With that in mind, the iPhone's greatest strength, and at the same time it's greatest weakness, is that it just works, and for most folks all this spec mumbo jumbo is pointless - those who love their iPhones will continue to do so, and those who hate on them, will obviously continue piling up hate.

For the record, I am neither - I was a proud and happy iPhone user since the original one, all the way to and including the 4S, until I've switched to Android, and never looked back (and even when I tried, iOS 7 killed it for me, design wise). I am much happier with my Galaxy Note 2, and looking forward to buying either the Note 3 or the Sony Xperia Z1 (or even Ultra).

I've invested in Apple related hardware heavily over the years, having owned 3 Macbooks over the past 6 years (typing this from my mid-2012 MBA), various Mac minis, 2 Apple TVs (one original still going strong), innumerous iPods and etc. Recently though, the quality level started deteriorating. I had to take my brand new MBA in for service, 3 weeks after I got it, and I got 2 DOA iPhone 4S, one after the other, when they first came out...

Let the flaming begin...

yea, everyone knows wanting the 'most bang for their buck' is unfashionable. What's the new fashion? yolo ??

We the educated people always look for specs. That's one of the things that gives iPhone fans a bad reputation. People mindless buying iPhones without knowing the specs or anything at all.

Wireless charging would have been nice. Longer battery life as well. Maybe next year...Looking forward to next Nexus. The LG G2 has by far the highest spec's what with its Snapdragon 800, would have rather seen that up there then the rarely purchased Win or BB phones. Or even the Sony Z1, they'll sell more of those then Win and BB put together. It also sports the Snapdragon 800.

I hope you get an end of year bonus for the sales lol. Those that know do not care about the sales.. they just want a phone that is modern and works brilliantly and guess what.. the BlackBerry Z10 does just that. Take off your hater shades dude that is so old school and trollish.

I came here to see how "bad" the Z10 compared to all of the others and was pleasantly surprised to see that it stacks up pretty good!! A little competition is always better for us as it appears and it is funny because I am personally a BB user but a fan of tech in general and it amazes me that even I have apparently started to buy into all of the negative press that BB has been getting about its products. Well done BlackBerry, well done indeed!

I have to agree with everyone else about the BlackBerry specs...quite impressive. I have a Z10, and I can definitely say it's the most snappy phone I've ever had. Can't wait for the 10.2 update with jellybean sandbox...Most people don't realize you can play most Android apps on BlackBerry with barely any lag at all.

2 months later...
Breaking News! Samsung releases Galaxy S4S! Adds fingerprint scanner and 64 bit architecture! Oh boy, they always know how to innovate!

I think these specs are throwing off what should be the "main" focus here? All the phones are fairly up-to-date specs and yes the BlackBerry is one of them. The issue is the user experience, don't you guys think? I have tried all these phones before switching to the BlackBerry Z10. The software is new which is initially a downfall in the APP department however, once you learn the new OS, its amazing to use! Its very efficient to use in all aspects, love the HUB, keyboard, integration and the balance is great for work (now I only use one phone for both work and personal, separated by Balance!) I came close to switching to the Nexus which is another great phone but the BlackBerry 10 phone to me offered me a more fluid user experience. The iPhone which changed the user experience many years ago in my opinion is just old and not very efficient to use falling behind more with the 5S. The windows phones, simply a mess to use.

I wonder how many people have been swayed by specs and hyperbole. My son, a friend, and myself are all lamenting the fact that we have strayed from our Blackberrys. My son has the Galaxy s3, my friend, the iPhone 4s, and I am using a Windows 8 phone--which, in my opinion is the next best thing to a Blackberry. (Personally, I have used Androids and iPhones in addition to Windows phone 7 and 8.) All three of us have made the comment that our Blackberrys were the best phones we have ever used. The sound, the screen, the call experience, and the dependability of the Blackberry phones have not been matched, in my opinion. I believe that it is the reps in the phone stores that are the main reason Blackberrys are not selling as well as they should. They know little or nothing about them and instead of learning, they just tell us that Blackberry is not popular and is going under. That in turn makes consumers afraid to upgrade to a Blackberry.

You bring out a great point! If the rep at the store at least offered as much information about the NEW Blackberry phones and you guys tried the BlackBerry head-to-head, you may have chosen a Blackberry again? The sad part is many people are not even trying the new BlackBerry phones due to this public perception issue. I think the biggest issue is BlackBerry themselves in that they screwed-up their marketing campaigns and initial training sessions for sales staff selling the phones? Unfortunately BlackBerry has they best "overall" phones on the market today and very few people know this, I hope this eventually changes.

First, i switched from a 9900 to Nexus4. I was traveling and needed Skype and many other missing apps. To be honest i was surprised with the huge variety of apps found on google play.
But after using the Z10 i am actually totally neglecting my Nexus4, productivity issues mainly.
Z10 is a great productive tool.

Once u use the HUB, there is no coming back ;).
I only use my nexus4 a little since i baught the Z10.
Only missing some apps that couldnt be sideloaded thats all.
Many apps can be side loaded even instagram.

Actually owning a Z10 and Nexus4.
Z10 best productive tool ever, once there is the hub there is no coming back i think.
Nexus best for Media and apps, welcome to Google play.
Do not know if i should replace my nexus 4 to a nexus5 or an iphone 5s...!