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

A6 Processor Performance: The 400 FPS Camera Tells All

It's hard to compare the raw processing performance of each SoC's architecture, since each one runs at a different frequency. The A5X found in Apple's iPhone 4S and third-gen iPad operated at 1 GHz, while the iPhone 5's A6 is clocked at 1.3 GHz (at least according to Geekbench 2.3.6). Initial reports claimed the A6 was a 1 GHz part, but that appears to be inaccurate.

In terms of raw performance, the iPhone 5's A6 posts benchmark results close to 2.5x faster than the A5X (iPhone 4S). Apple's newest smartphone-oriented SoC is even able to stay competitive with the 1.5 GHz MSM8960 featured in HTC’s One X and Samsung's Galaxy S III.

The sub-tests suggest that Apple trails Qualcomm's custom design when it comes to floating-point performance, though, as we discussed in Snapdragon S4 Pro: Krait And Adreno 320, Benchmarked, mobile developers tend to focus their code more on integer math due to the limitations of today’s SoCs.

Apple enjoys a lead in memory performance, its 1 GB of LPDDR2-1066 easily delivering a lot more bandwidth than the iPhone 4S' 512 MB of on-package LPDDR2-800.

Alone, of course, those numbers mean very little. But in the video below, we see the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and One X opening and rendering the mobile CNN website using a 400 FPS high-speed camera. Every 14 seconds of video is roughly one second in the real world. We're simply magnifying the difference between each phone to illustrate the implications of hardware specs on what you'll see using the devices.

Web Rendering Performance: iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4S vs One X (High Speed Camera)

There are some variables in play here. The Web browsers, to begin. Also, you have networking performance to consider. And of course there are the SoCs themselves. But the experience is what matters most to us, and using the iPhone 5 is clearly a snappier experience than the iPhone 4S before it, even if you leave competition out of the comparison.

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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