Battery Life And Wi-Fi Performance
The iPhone 5 is the first smartphone from Apple with a 16:9 aspect ratio, which works well with media files optimized for those same native dimensions. If you enjoy passing the time watching video, you'll be happy to know that the iPhone is a class-leader, boasting more than 11 hours of playback time with its screen set to 200 nits and Airplane Mode enabled.
Our talk time test is pretty simple. Using a land line, we call each smartphone and stream music over a microphone. This provides a constant stream of input that gets played back, helping keep the connection alive. The screen is naturally allowed to time out, which means LCD power consumption really isn’t a variable in this metric.
If you need a work day's worth of talk time, the iPhone 5 does suffice. However, the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III are clearly better, outpacing Apple's latest and greatest.
As enthusiasts, we increasingly expect to have Internet access on all of our devices, no matter where we are (particularly in light of the speed enabled by 4G LTE). Our hotspot test, which consists of streaming YouTube video, tells us how long we can expect to use these phones as connectivity enablers for other pieces of technology.
Again, each phone's display is allowed to sleep automatically, which helps extend battery life. And surprisingly, Apple's iPhone 5 rises to the top in this metric. That's good news for mobile warriors looking to stay connected on, say, a notebook out of range of a readily-accessible Wi-Fi network.
Did you know that charging from an AC adapter is quicker than charging from a PC or Mac's USB port? Check out the two charts above the the two below; you can shave off quite a bit of wait time by simply hooking your iPhone up to the wall.
We also know from experience that most devices charge from 0% to 90% battery life fairly rapidly, but then slow down quite a bit as they approach 100%. The difference that last 10% makes is clear in both recharge scenarios.
In the interest of generating the most real-world results possible, we've been toying with new ways to measure Wi-Fi performance. In the past, we used IxChariot. It’s a professional tool for measuring network performance and helping diagnose issues. However, it's highly synthetic, and we wanted to conduct a test that'd be more representative of a task you might actually perform.
As a result, the throughput numbers we’re generating now come from configuring a local network share and downloading a 1 GB file. It's a simple enough test that should help determine maximum real-world transfer speeds.
The 5 GHz band is really only beneficial to the iPhone 5. Apple's iPhone 4S only supports 2.4 GHz, and the Galaxy S II/III demonstrate similar performance, regardless of the band we use.
HTC's One X does support 5 GHz connectivity, but we encountered an issue whereby it allowed us to browse the Web over the 5 GHz band, but wouldn't let us download our 1 GB test file.