As it turns out, everything that we'd seen from the rumors were true: the iPhone 5s is faster, of course, with a dual-LED flash and the much-vaunted fingerprint scanner on the home button. And yes, it comes in a gold color, which actually looks better in person compared with the many leaked images we've seen. The sapphire crystal home button is not nearly as concave as previous models, a necessary change for Apple to integrate its new Touch ID finger scanner. it's almost flat but still maintains a nice, tactile feel when you click on it. We watched the fingerprint sensor unlock the phone quickly and easily (though we didn't get to try it ourselves), but presumably these were ideal conditions with iPhones that were fully acclimated to their handlers. That's not to say we don't think the fingerprint will be a great and fast experience for most users — Apple has clearly put more effort into this sensor than the failures we've seen on some Android phones — but we can't vouch for it until we've tried it ourselves.
Another big change on the iPhone 5s is the new A7 processor, but it's pretty hard to get a solid feel on whether or not Apple's claims about increased speed are real or not — one-to-one comparisons with an iPhone 5 running iOS 6 aren't especially helpful because there are so many other optimizations under the hood of iOS, including the new 64-bit architecture. That said, everything felt fast and fluid — although the animations in iOS 7 are still a little slow to our tastes — but scrolling in the new Safari was better than before, if only by a tiny amount.
We couldn't really give the new camera nor its improved dual-LED flash a test under tough conditions — Apple actually lights its hands-on areas so you can see the products.. That's great for getting impressions of a device, but not for putting the camera under stress. All that said, the quick snaps we took were at least up to par of the iPhone 5's standard. If Apple's claims about improved processing and larger-sized pixels on its sensor pan out, the iPhone 5s, like its predecessor, will have the best smartphone camera for the average user on the market.

While the 5c may stay closer to the iPhone 5 when it comes to components, the 5s is closer to it it terms of looks and feel. Consisting of the same aluminum build, chamfered edges and overall industrial design, there isn't much to the 5s that haven't already seen on its predecessor. Of course, this is to be expected on the odd-year version of the flagship, as current trends go, but there were a couple new elements to this particular model; it offers a dual-LED flash, and the home button swaps out the square etching for a more fancy ring around the outside.
But what is that ring there for? The iPhone 5s' defining feature, frankly, is the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The device is now capable of detecting the unique ridges in your fingertips, allowing you to bypass the passcode completely, not to mention downloading and purchasing apps and iTunes content. It's able to store up to five individual fingerprints, which is helpful if you have multiple people in your family who want to use the same device. Once everything is set up, the unit we played with worked flawlessly, as all we had to do was place our finger on the button to unlock the screen. It made for a much faster and enjoyable experience, one that will likely appease plenty of users who aren't happy with the idea of putting passcodes on their phone.
The only tedious part of the whole process was actually getting it set up in the first place. Since the contours of your finger are three-dimensional, the phone asked us to place our fingers on the button several times and in several angles -- sometimes we could lay our finger flat on it, while other times we were prompted to roll the finger to the left or right. Even then, it only took about a minute to get everything set.
Also, the gold 5s color is actually pretty nice. It's lined with white on the top and bottom, and the gold itself is a rather subtle color; it's not going to blind anybody when you take it out of your pocket. It has a little bit of a shine to it as well, depending on which angle you hold the phone at. The white version is basically the same as we've enjoyed on the iPhone 5, and the space grey is more of a gunpowder look, with black highlights on the top and bottom.
In terms of performance, the A7 promises twice the CPU and GPU speeds as the A6, so we're definitely looking forward to giving this a solid go in our full review -- especially since a brief amount of time is never sufficient to judge a phone's performance. It was definitely quite fast when we used it, and it didn't sputter or give us any reason to believe it can't handle most if not all possible tasks.
All told, the iPhone 5s is essentially what we expected it to be. It's mostly an iterative improvement over the iPhone 5, but Touch ID is a great addition and some of the new camera features are clever; not to mention the fact that iOS 7 is a huge change over previous versions of the OS.