For such an incredibly profitable and well-regarded company, Apple has had a tough last couple of months. Consequently, there's a lot riding on the next iPhone, especially now that the current one is almost a year old, and that Wall Street's mysterious, long-rumoured Apple TV and iWatch are still nowhere to be found.
Besides, the iPhone 5 already looks surprisingly dated. I say "surprisingly" because it was pretty drool-worthy when it was unveiled last September, but a lot can happen in a year. Remember that the iPhone 5’s display finally got a size boost for the first time ever? A lot was made of the 4in size back then, because it's easier to hold, but wasn't as roomy as some of the larger Android smartphones at the time. Now, practically every smartphone has a larger screen than the iPhone. Models with 5in screens are practically flying off the shelves, while Samsung and LG are finding buyers for 5.5in and even 6.3in handsets.
There are a lot of other great things about today's smartphones, though. The obvious alternative is one of many Android phones, and they come with plenty of benefits: Better Google account integration, more powerful notifications, customised home screens and widgets, and cameras and camcorders with more features, just to name a few.
Hardware-wise, you can get quad-core processors, 1080p HD displays, HDMI outputs, memory card slots, and swappable batteries, depending on the model. And don't discount Microsoft. Windows Phone is also doing much better than many people expected, with Nokia's camera-focused handsets leading the way, and Microsoft's app catalogue is growing by the day.
If you need a new phone, but don't want to feel short-changed next month when Apple unveils the new iPhone, then these handsets are the best iPhone 5S alternatives you should consider. Granted, none of them are gold – but we don't think that's going to bother very many of you.
HTC One (£425)
The innovative, well-built, aluminium-clad HTC One is a slick smartphone with HTC's latest Sense UI and an ultra-sharp 4.7in display. Read our full review of the handset here. It’s currently available for not much more than £420 on Amazon, as we pointed out in our deals section recently.
Samsung Galaxy S4 (£485)
Even better than its excellent predecessor, the 5in Samsung Galaxy S4 is the ultimate kitchen-sink Android phone of the year, with something for everyone. Check out our Galaxy S4 review, and also our Best Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone deals piece, which is updated regularly (you can get it cheaper if you go for a GT-I9500 grey import, too – these can be had for around £440, as we point out in the deals article).
Nokia Lumia 1020 (£TBC)
The Lumia 1020 isn’t out just yet, but it’s expected to be released very soon in the UK. Previous rumours have indicated that it will retail at around £600, and that the handset will be unleashed in September, most likely before the iPhone 5S hits retail shelves. The real attraction here is the 41-megapixel camera, which is an impressive feat on a smartphone. Have a gander at our Lumia 1020 review.
Sony Xperia Z (£440)
The Xperia Z benefits from a lovely design, and a superb 5in full HD display. It’s also dust and water resistant, has plentiful connectivity options, and an impressive 13-megapixel camera. If you’ve not considered a Sony handset before, the Xperia Z presents a compelling case. See our full review of the Sony Xperia Z for further details on this phone, and you might also want to look at our Xperia Z best deals article.
Apple iPhone 5 (£529)
Wait, didn't we say that the iPhone 5 looks dated in the introduction to this very article? Indeed we did, but if you're okay with the 4in screen size, remember that any day now this will be a much less expensive phone. And thanks to Apple's smooth OS update process, you'll be able to run the new iOS 7, and likely whatever comes after it, too. You can read our full iPhone 5 review here.
Got your watch set to count down mode ahead of Apple's big 10 September unveiling? Follow our live updating coverage of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C launch for all the latest news and analysis and be sure to join us on the day!