Apple iPhone 5 Review: CPU, GPU, Battery, Wi-Fi, And Display Testing

The Lightning Connector

Apple also made a significant change to the connector used for synchronization, charging, and A/V connectivity. Gone is the 30-pin dock connector introduced back in 2003, replaced by a new Lightning connector. Naturally, this caused considerable angst amongst Apple enthusiasts with complete ecosystems of cables, cars, and clock radios sporting the older interface. At the end of the day, though, the change was necessary to support a slimmer iPhone 5.

Yes, we would have liked to see something like a Mini-B USB connector, the Lightning connector still allows Apple to handle the same functions as the 30-pin version using all-digital signaling, and still offer compatibility with older devices through adapters. 

Let's say you recently bought an alarm clock with a dock that uses the 30-pin connector. Rather than tossing it, you have the option to pay an extra $29 for a Lightning-to-30-pin adapter. There are also adapters for converting the Lightning interface to HDMI and VGA, similar to the previous 30-Pin Digital AV Adapter, and they sell for $49 each.

Thirty bucks or more for an adapter seems pretty steep, but this isn't a case of blatant gouging. As mentioned, the Lightning is a nine-pin, eight-signal interface (there are eight gold contacts that carry the signal, but Apple considers the aluminum shell to be a contact as well). It's all-digital, though. The previous 30-pin interface included USB, video, and line-level audio outputs. Thus, Apple uses logic inside of its Lightning adapters to facilitate signal conversion.

If you buy a docking connector adapter, it will let you do the following:

  1. USB-based audio output, providing your sound system accepts digital input over USB
  2. Analog audio output to any device that uses a 30-pin connector to receive audio
  3. Synching and charging

Now, we've been plenty frustrated about the Lightning connector and what it might mean for our cars, our built-in iPhone/iPod docks, and subsystems that cannot be changed out, like steering wheel controls. Many of those concerns have been addressed through firmware updates, fortunately.

Kia and Hyundai owners had the most reason to worry, perhaps, because their audio systems use a breakout connector from the 30-pin interface to a 3.5 mm audio and USB data cable. However, car owners are reporting back that Apple's new adapters seem to allow full functionality. If you had steering wheel controls in the past, they should continue to work with the iPhone 5.

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    Top Comments
  • g-unit1111
    Why can't everyone - Apple included - agree on a standardized power adapter like mini USB?? It would make not only our lives easier but the manufacturers who make these accessories able to have one device and on cord that works with everything.
    33
  • acku
    kensingtronGreat article ^_^Second to last paragraph:"For example, Samsung's Galaxy S III has been on the market for a while, and its LCD is a market leader"LCD = AMOLED


    My apologies. On page 6 we mentioned that S3 uses AMOLED. I'll make a correction. Thanks for the shout out.
    14
  • merikafyeah
    $30 for an adapter........

    Pffffffwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha......HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAhohohohohohohohohohoooo...
    14
  • Other Comments
  • mayankleoboy1
    Great GPU performance. Apple/PowerVR consistently beat the competition in this.
    3
  • g-unit1111
    Why can't everyone - Apple included - agree on a standardized power adapter like mini USB?? It would make not only our lives easier but the manufacturers who make these accessories able to have one device and on cord that works with everything.
    33
  • mayankleoboy1
    The LCD tests puzzle me a little. Most other reviews said that the SGS3 has a poorer display and the iphone5 has a better display , with much better contrast ratio and sRGB compliance.

    Maybe i am reading it wrong ?
    -6
  • reprotected
    There needs to be more explanation in the quality of the screens. We all know Galaxy SIII covers a larger colour gamut, but does it beat the iPhone 5 in terms of accuracy is one big thing we want to know based on your eyes, not numbers and graphs.
    7
  • kensingtron
    Great article ^_^

    Second to last paragraph:
    "For example, Samsung's Galaxy S III has been on the market for a while, and its LCD is a market leader"

    LCD = AMOLED
    9
  • acku
    kensingtronGreat article ^_^Second to last paragraph:"For example, Samsung's Galaxy S III has been on the market for a while, and its LCD is a market leader"LCD = AMOLED


    My apologies. On page 6 we mentioned that S3 uses AMOLED. I'll make a correction. Thanks for the shout out.
    14
  • dragonsqrrl
    Excellent article as usual, very comprehensive. Hopefully this helps to dispel some of the performance myths about the iPhone that seem to circulate here on Tom's.
    7
  • acku
    mayankleoboy1The LCD tests puzzle me a little. Most other reviews said that the SGS3 has a poorer display and the iphone5 has a better display , with much better contrast ratio and sRGB compliance.Maybe i am reading it wrong ?


    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57524291-37/color-me-prettier-galaxy-s3-display-outdoes-iphone-5s/ Check that one out. :)

    I'd still like to add an accuracy test at some point. I need to think about how to approach that problem. The way people normally talk about color accuracy (besides deltae and gamma) are sometimes too abstract with color terms that professionals use. I'd like to find a way to present the information in a more intuitive manner.
    3
  • ojas
    g-unit1111Why can't everyone - Apple included - agree on a standardized power adapter like mini USB?? It would make not only our lives easier but the manufacturers who make these accessories able to have one device and on cord that works with everything.

    Agreed...though don't most smartphones today use the microUSB B-type connector?
    5
  • dare2blink
    Seems apple has not inovated for a couple of years now. I´m shocked that the most inovative and arguably the best phone of the year is not even mentioned in this article. Nokia Lumia 920 is definitely the most inovative na the most complete phone reseased so far. It has much better build quality, a better screen and camera than the iphone 5, not to mention a much more inovative OS.
    1
  • vaughn2k
    "The iPhone just doesn't have the magical hold on the smartphone market that it once did."
    yeah and there are more better options out there...
    8
  • merikafyeah
    $30 for an adapter........

    Pffffffwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha......HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAhohohohohohohohohohoooo...
    14
  • darkchazz
    mayankleoboy1Great GPU performance. Apple/PowerVR consistently beat the competition in this.

    True. The low resolutions do help the iphones though. Wish android manufacturers used PowerVR GPUs.
    Instead we get crappy Tegra chips that are not good at anything other than marketing hype.
    If nvidia f***s up gpu performance and memory bandwidth again in Tegra 4, I'm going to stay away form tablets powered by it.

    I'm looking forward to the next samsung galaxy device w/ ARM A15 and Mali600. hopefully the display won't be PenTile.
    3
  • halcyon
    That weak-@$$ soft alumiinum body should be tested too. That's a particularly sore spot for me. So much for Apple's nice build quality that the iPhone 4 had. "Handle with care." Everyone is not me so everyone doesn't handle their belongings with care.
    7
  • shompa
    merikafyeah$30 for an adapter........Pffffffwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha......HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAhohohohohohohohohohoooo...


    You clearly don't understand what the lightning adapter is. Its something in a different league then your 15 year old USB plug.

    Each pin is programmable. There is a small processor on each cord. This is genius since the same cable can be used in many different ways. Great technology cost money, or use 15 year old USB.
    -10
  • shompa
    g-unit1111Why can't everyone - Apple included - agree on a standardized power adapter like mini USB?? It would make not only our lives easier but the manufacturers who make these accessories able to have one device and on cord that works with everything.


    No. Why compromise?
    USB is to limited. To low voltage. Cant do anything beside send data. Its better with a programmable interface that can be used with a bunch of assessors. Its actually ballsy that Apple continues to push the envelope. Just the simple thing that you can put in the adapter any way you want is huge.
    -16
  • shompa
    dare2blinkSeems apple has not inovated for a couple of years now. I´m shocked that the most inovative and arguably the best phone of the year is not even mentioned in this article. Nokia Lumia 920 is definitely the most inovative na the most complete phone reseased so far. It has much better build quality, a better screen and camera than the iphone 5, not to mention a much more inovative OS.


    Hint: Lumia 920 uses almost 2 year old technique and weights over 60% more then iPhone5. Its CPU is 50% slower. GPU 60%+ slower. The hardware is dictated by Microsoft. Nokia can't/don't do anything.
    Lumia is hyped by tech nerds who haven't used GalaxyS3/iPhone5.

    But:
    There are only 3 phones that people should consider buying:
    iPhone5
    GalaxyS3
    and
    Lumia920.

    People who loves integration = iPhone
    People who loves openness/fragmentation = GalaxyS3
    People who loves photography = Lumia 920.

    The sad thing is that we have to many MSFTdrones and Fandroids.
    -11
  • Someone Somewhere
    shompaNo. Why compromise? USB is to limited. To low voltage. Cant do anything beside send data. Its better with a programmable interface that can be used with a bunch of assessors. Its actually ballsy that Apple continues to push the envelope. Just the simple thing that you can put in the adapter any way you want is huge.


    I believe both lightning and USB carry power at 5V. If you can show me a source that says otherwise; that they have an internal stepup/stepdown DC-DC converter; I would be quite surprised.

    USB is a programmable interface. It can be set to a variety of modes, for things like bulk transfer (data), interrupt (guaranteed quick responses; eg keyboards), and isochronous (guaranteed data; eg webcams). These could be, and are, expanded to other purposes such as audio etc.

    Besides; all lightning does is send data. What else does it do that is not data (or power)? Audio is data, files are data, control signals are data. The only upside is that you can put it in both ways, but I prefer compatibility. The number of microUSB cables in my house is uncountable, but I could count on the fingers of one amputated hand (ie none) how many 30pin/lightning cables I have.

    By the way; I assume you think we can never have too many iSheep? Personally I prefer Android, as you can change a whole lot more about it, and the hardware has reached the point where (imo) it's significantly better. And cheaper.
    7
  • cinergy
    I love how you ignore Lumia 920 totally in your reviews.
    5
  • Anonymous
    Just ran a test on my stock Samsung Galaxy Note II Scored a 2067 all stock. Username is Tripneye to see the results on geekbench
    3