iPhone 5s vs. Amazon Fire Phone: Which should you get?

The iPhone 5s has been on the market for a while now and remains a perennial best seller around the world. The Amazon Fire Phone is brand new, just in the U.S., and only on AT&T at the moment. Both command a premium price. The iPhone has a bleeding edge 64-bit processor, a great camera, Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor, and apps from every major provider, including Apple, Google, and Amazon. The Fire Phone has even more faux-3D than iOS 7, a hardware shopping system in FireFly, a Mayday button for instant help, and last year's chipsets warmed over. So, which one should you buy?


The Kindle Fire phone is currently U.S. only. If you buy it in the U.S. and try to use it internationally, you'll have to give up major features like Amazon Streaming Video.

The iPhone 5s is a world phone that can work in almost any region.


The Fire Phone is currently AT&T only. You can try to run it on other GSM networks, but see Regionalism (above).

The iPhone 5s is available on the vast majority of carriers on planet earth.


The Fire Phone has the Amazon Appstore, which doesn't include apps from Google — which some would argue are the lynchpin of Android — and of course, no apps from Apple. There are Amazon's apps, and many but not all major third-party apps.

The iPhone 5s has the Apple App Store, which includes apps from Apple, as well as all major apps from Google and Amazon, and pretty much any and all major third party apps you could want or imagine.

And more

The Fire Phone has some interesting features. The interface looks terrible, and the faux-3D will likely make anyone bothered by iOS 7 parallax run for the hills. The FireFly button, to a cynic, is just a way to get Amazon Prime whales to spend even more, but to an optimist is an interested way to compare real world and virtual world shopping and gather information. The Mayday button can get help for people not used to smartphones... but that probably isn't anyone who'd buy a Fire Phone to begin with. It's about the same price but starts at 32GB and comes with a free year of Amazon Prime, a $99 value, to subsidize the price. FireOS is an Android fork that gets none of the Google Play services and since this is a version one, it's untested. Unfortunately, the chips inside aren't cutting edge either and its hard to tell how well it will age or hold its value.

The iPhone 5s has an industry-leading 64-bit Apple A7 processor that allows for features like the Touch ID fingerprint identity scanner. It has AppleCare and Apple Genius bars for support. It starts at 16GB and there's no kickback, but it holds its resale value incredibly well. It also runs iOS, soon to be iOS 8. If Apple holds to pattern, there will also be a new iPhone 6 (or two) this fall, perhaps with bigger screens and even more advanced technology.

Bottom line

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.