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

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

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 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 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 zoom
  • mayankleoboy1
    Great GPU performance. Apple/PowerVR consistently beat the competition in this.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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 ?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply