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iPhone 5S and 5C warmly received in review round-up

Two days ahead of the new iPhone 5S and 5C appearing in the shops, the first reviews have appeared online. Here's what they had to say.

Nick Hide Managing copy editor
Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
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Ding ding! It's the last stop on the iPhone hype bus -- two days ahead of the new iPhone 5S and 5C appearing in the shops, the first reviews have appeared.

The consensus seems to be that they're the best iPhones yet, each with distinct strengths. But their 4-inch screens are looking increasingly insufficient next to bigger Android mobiles, and they're still very expensive.

Let's get quoting. First up, of course, is our sister site CNET.com. Scott Stein's had a busy week, reviewing both the 5S and 5C. And not content with one new name, he's considering another:

"I'm tempted to call the iPhone 5S the iPhone 5P, for 'potential'. The 5S introduces technologies that could transform the future of iOS as a computing platform, and maybe pave the way for future products in 2014... Check back in two months; after new apps emerge, maybe the iPhone 5S will start seeming like a truly new iPhone. But, for now, it’s more of refined improvement."

That's in reference to the fingerprint scanner ("It's impressive tech. It worked on all my fingers, and even my toe (I was curious)."), the 64-bit A7 chip and the M7 motion processor, all of which are brand new and as yet untapped by third-party developers.

As for the junior sibling: "The iPhone 5C is a great $99 phone that basically replicates the well-reviewed iPhone 5 in a more colorful case," Stein says.

Watch this: Apple iPhone 5S

Elsewhere on the Internet, the New York Times' veteran David Pogue reckons, "Apple may have set its own bar for innovation too high," with nothing outwardly very different about either phone. He does call the fingerprint scanner "genuinely awesome" but notes using it to buy apps and stuff is buggy. Pogue also reckons iOS 7, out later today for current devices, is "more efficient to navigate".

The venerable Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD believes "the new iPhone 5s is a delight. Its hardware and software make it the best smartphone on the market." Mossberg loved the fingerprint scanner too -- "one you can confidently use, without a thought".

AnandTech's Anand Shimpi says the iPhone 5S is "quite possibly the biggest S-update we've ever seen from Apple". With its trio of promising new features, "in many ways it's an evolutionary improvement over the iPhone 5, but in others it is a significant step forward."

Over at Engadget, Myriam Joire is a little bit in love with the iPhone 5C's new plastic shell. "The 5C just triggers some reptilian part of our brains that screams, 'OMG, color!'" she squees. "It brings a breath of fresh air to the iPhone lineup and will appeal to consumers at an emotional level."

A more sober Darrell Etherington at TechCrunch reckons its price tag might calm punters down though. "Apple has delivered is far from a 'cheap' device, in terms of both quality of experience and hardware, and in terms of price," he writes.

Here in the UK, the Telegraph's Matt Warman makes a great point about the 5C. "Plastic is cheaper for Apple to make, more durable - and more novel. Its novelty, rather than new features, is the 5c's major selling point," adding that "it's a great replacement for a 4 or a 4S, whose glass many owners will have broken but put up with".

TechRadar's Gareth Beavis is smitten with the 5S, saying it's "a step far and above what we expected from Apple with its usually boring iterative update". But he damns the 5C with faint praise: "a well-made yet ultimately uninspiring iPhone," he writes.

What do you make of the two new iPhones? Do you think the Internet's seers have been fair, or over-enthusiastic? Pop your thoughts in the comments, or on our eclectic Facebook page.

Watch this: Evolution of the iPhone