Apple has upgraded the processor in the iPhone 5 but despite the A6 being an extremely fast chip its capabilities aren’t immediately obvious. This is because the iPhone 4S still feels very fast and capable and there are few apps that really tax even that phone, particularly as Apple’s nice animations that accompany your every move round the interface mean that any delays are cleverly masked. That said, it’s always good to know the extra power is there for the future, plus there are just about enough occasions where the extra speed of the iPhone 5 is noticeable that it seems worthwhile.
Putting the A6 to task with a few benchmarks, it absolutely wipes the floor with all before it, both in CPU tests...
...and GPU/gaming ones.
Another big performance upgrade for the iPhone 5 is its ability to connect to the UK’s EE 4G network. 4G can potentially offer many times the download and upload speed of 3G but with EE currently the UK network to offer 4G, you have to pay quite a high price for the privilege. Nonetheless, the increase in speed is impressive while EE's coverage is, in our experience, excellent.
In fact, we've tried the iPhone 5 on many different networks and had no issues with signal strength, nor was there a grip of death issue, or at least not one that you should ever encounter. Like the iPhone 4/4S you can short the aerials by spanning the little lines of plastic that split up the metal edges of the phone but here you have to cover all four bits of plastic to cause a problem, and we don’t envisage anyone doing this in normal day to day use.
As for call quality, it seemed very good, with it having improved slightly over the iPhone 4S, a phone that already offered good calling.