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A Retina Display With 44%-Greater Color Saturation? Whoa.

Apple iPhone 5 Review: CPU, GPU, Battery, Wi-Fi, And Display Testing
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Apple's A6-powered iPhone 5 gets the Tom's Hardware treatment as we benchmark its twin processing cores, its triple-core graphics engine, and its more vibrant display. Battery life testing and Wi-Fi performance measurements round out our analysis.

We spend a lot of time talking to marketing folks, many of whom are great, great people. But it's their job to sell you something, and it's our job to figure out if their claims are true or not.

When Apple introduced its Retina Display on the third-gen iPad, the company made a big deal about improved color fidelity and sharpness. In fact, the screen's name came about due to pixel density so high that the human eye is purportedly unable to discern the individual elements that compose an LCD screen.

The iPhone 5 enjoys even higher pixel density than the third- and fourth-gen iPads, but this is actually necessary to compensate for a shorter typical viewing distance. That is to say you're expected to hold an iPhone closer to your face than an iPad. But the iPhone 5's pixel density isn't any better than the iPhone 4S, or even iPhone 4. They both offered 326 pixels per inch as well, translating to 57 pixels per degree of view angle (53 is Apple's cut-off for applying its Retina Display marketing).

Apple does claim, however, that the iPhone 5 enjoys 44% more color saturation than its predecessor. This means that the dominance of each hue in a given color should be stronger, and we can indeed concur that colors appear more intense on the latest iPhone iteration.

The iPhone 4/4S had a good display, but a side-by-side comparison between those earlier models and the iPhone 5 makes it easier to subjectively favor the iPhone 5 (don't worry, the next page is full of more scientific data).

iPhone 4S: Focused zoomiPhone 4S: Focused zoom

It's difficult to put the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 under a microscope and, using the same settings, create a side-by-side comparison. The iPhone 5's pixels are closer to the surface of the glass than before, resulting in the following shot:

iPhone 5: Same zoom setting as 4S; too closeiPhone 5: Same zoom setting as 4S; too close

We can unzoom just a bit and get a clearer view of the iPhone 5's subpixels.

The touch sensor is now integrated into the iPhone 5's display, whereas it was previously underneath the cover glass on past models. This is a contributing factor to why Apple's iPhone 5 is thinner than its predecessor.

iPhone 5: Readjusting zoomiPhone 5: Readjusting zoom

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  • 33 Hide
    g-unit1111 , November 28, 2012 3:19 AM
    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.
  • 14 Hide
    merikafyeah , November 28, 2012 7:03 AM
    $30 for an adapter........

    Pffffffwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha......HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAhohohohohohohohohohoooo...
  • 14 Hide
    acku , November 28, 2012 4:02 AM
    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.
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 28, 2012 3:14 AM
    Great GPU performance. Apple/PowerVR consistently beat the competition in this.
  • 33 Hide
    g-unit1111 , November 28, 2012 3:19 AM
    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.
  • -6 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 28, 2012 3:20 AM
    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 ?
  • 7 Hide
    reprotected , November 28, 2012 3:40 AM
    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.
  • 9 Hide
    kensingtron , November 28, 2012 3:56 AM
    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
  • 14 Hide
    acku , November 28, 2012 4:02 AM
    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.
  • 7 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , November 28, 2012 5:04 AM
    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.
  • 3 Hide
    acku , November 28, 2012 5:22 AM
    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.
  • 5 Hide
    ojas , November 28, 2012 6:31 AM
    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?
  • 1 Hide
    dare2blink , November 28, 2012 6:53 AM
    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.
  • 8 Hide
    vaughn2k , November 28, 2012 6:59 AM
    "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...
  • 14 Hide
    merikafyeah , November 28, 2012 7:03 AM
    $30 for an adapter........

    Pffffffwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha......HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAhohohohohohohohohohoooo...
  • 3 Hide
    darkchazz , November 28, 2012 7:26 AM
    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.
  • 7 Hide
    halcyon , November 28, 2012 7:28 AM
    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 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , November 28, 2012 8:12 AM
    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.
  • 5 Hide
    cinergy , November 28, 2012 8:42 AM
    I love how you ignore Lumia 920 totally in your reviews.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 28, 2012 9:26 AM
    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
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