iPhone 5s is the fastest phone ever tested – Which? test lab

Fastest phone

The iPhone 5 won plenty of plaudits when it launched back in September 2012. After we put it through its paces at our lab we described it as “the best phone we’ve ever seen” and praised its speedy A6 processor.

But times change fast in the competitive world of mobile phones. In June of this year we found the iPhone 5 had been eclipsed and that the Samsung Galaxy S4 had seized the number one spot for processor speed. In fact the iPhone 5 languished back in 7th place.

But Apple is back. New Which? lab tests have revealed that the recently released iPhone 5s has broken all records in our processor benchmarking tests, proving almost twice as fast as the old version and around 50% faster than the Samsung Galaxy S4.

For the full results, cast your eyes below.

iPhone 5s review – find out what else our lab tests revealed about Apple’s new phone.

Which phone is the fastest?

Fast phones info

The results from our benchmarking tests make the iPhone 5s the fastest phone we have ever tested. It may only have a dual-core 1.3GHz processor, rather than the quad core processors found on many rival smartphones, but as our tests show, more cores do not necessarily mean better performance.

What do the scores mean?

We use the industry-recognised Geekbench software to accurately assess a phone’s speed. Geekbench is designed to replicate real-world tasks and calculates both single core and multi core performance.

The phone is run through a number of performance tests each of which are given a score. The scores are then combined and weighted and then calculated into a final numeric score. This score is measured against a Mac mini computer with an Intel Core i5 processor, which has a baseline score of 2,500 points. Higher scores are better, with double the score indicating double the performance.

See our league table below for the raw Geekbench scores:

  1. Apple iPhone 5s: 1410 (single core score), 2561 (multi core score)
  2. LG G2: 882 (single core score), 2355 (multi core score)
  3. Samsung Galaxy S4: 687 (single core score), 1939 (multi core score)
  4. HTC One: 643 (single core score), 1805 (multi core score)
  5. Apple iPhone 5c: 711 (single core score), 1281 (multi core score)
  6. Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini: 649 (single core score), 1135 (multi core score)
  7. HTC One Mini: 477 (single core score), 880 (multi core score)

Mobile phone reviews – read our verdict on all the latest handsets.

What does the iPhone 5s Geekbench score mean in real life?

These benchmarks are useful as they let us compare phones against one another but they aren’t the be all and end all. In truth most of the top phones feel fantastically smooth in everyday use.

The iPhone 5s will feel a little snappier when swiping through menus and opening apps– and that fraction of a second when you launch a programme is not to be underestimated when you consider how often we use our phones. But premium handsets, like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, also feel lightning fast.

The iPhone 5s is, however, built for the future. The power of the processor really comes into its own when you’re running power-hungry apps, editing videos, or playing advanced games. Developers will continue to build better but more demanding apps and the iPhone 5s is built to handle them.

High speed equals high prices

The cheaper iPhone, the 5c, is in 5th place in our table, while the affordable Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and HTC One Mini (both from £17 per month) came in 6th and 7th. None of these can match the raw power of the iPhone 5s though they’re still relatively speedy when compared to most other phones.

If you need a super-fast processor then the iPhone 5s is certainly the phone for you. However it’s incredible power isn’t necessary for everyone and the processors in the other phones featured here will usually be fast enough.

Would you buy the iPhone 5s because of its speed? Let us know in the comments section below.

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69 replies

  1. It’s no surprise. Despite the Samsung phones getting better they are still a long way behind the iPhone just like everything else. If you want the best tablet or phone you have to buy Apple.

    1. News Flash: The iPhone and its multi-touch OS preceded the first multi-touch Android OS and phone by more than 3 years!

      Every feature you see in Android appeared first either in Apple’s iOS, in App Store apps, or in jail-break apps.

      And if you believe that iPhones are “overpriced” at $0, $99, and $199 (or less) on contract, then every other smartphone (Android, WP8, Blackberry, etc.) are also “overpriced”. ;-))

    2. Like stated the iphone 5 was nr. 7
      This phone like the 5c is about €599,-
      The iphone 5s is €699

      The galaxy s4 costs €499,- and is already several months old.
      Apple still sells the iphone 4 ( several years old) for €399,-

      So value for money without doubt is the Samsung.

    3. When you say value, you mean cheap. Plastic is cheaper than aluminum, oled is cheaper than ips, large batteries are cheaper than compact batteries, etc.

      You have to remember that Samsung make profit from manufacturing the iPhone, so the Galaxy phone is not only made from cheaper parts, but has lower overheads.

      And Samsung have no development costs, no OS developement, they use off the shelf ARM chip designs, no interface developement costs, and use a photocopier for a design department.

      Selling your old Galaxy will get you less than selling an old iPhone.

      And all that plastic that ends up in the enviroment, because it isn’t worth selling second hand, we all have to pay the cost of desposing of it properly.

      There is a big difference between Value and Cheap, you seem to be confusing the two.

    4. @ceee:
      Cheap? Now, who are you to decide what is cheap and what is not? Are you some kind of Authority to classify things as cheap or costly?

      I would say Plastic is costly and premium, and aluminum is cheap. Its my opinion and I would stick with it. Also, don’t go on around pushing people as if you are a big shot or something. You are nothing but a nerd who fights over phones and sticks to Apple as if Apple is your favorite sports team.

      I can’t believe you such so much “ceee”

  2. To the above poster. The best product is what is best for you. Not because of the name. Apple products are no good for me because I wouldn’t be able to side load apps or load content for testing like you can with an Android device.

    I’d say that Sony devices are among the better handsets out there and their Xperia Z tablet is a great bit of kit. I’ve used it for testing.

    1. “side-load apps”, “load content for testing” – so you’re one of about 1% of customers. Android is fine for you but what about everyone else who just wants a phone that works reliably and is not too complex to use? I am very technical but I also have to get my work done so I don’t have any interest in the things that you, as a hobbyist, regard as important. Smartphones are not a hobby for most people, whatever you might think, but a tool.

      Personally I also think that talking about performance is totally missing the point – it’s a PHONE, and let’s face it, an iPhone 4S is PLENTY fast enough to perform its task.

    2. Well my Android phone works very reliably, is less complex than Apple’s offerings, is cheaper to buy, has cheaper but better apps, does not insist I rent expensive music and video from Apple’s own overpriced store and finally has more storage space on a secondary storage card than any iPhone can manage. And then their is the comic style display introduced with iOS7. I wouldn’t use a iPhone if the company gave me a 5S or a 6 today. They were excellent, they invented the Smart phone, but they have been caught up and overtaken by Android phones that do not tie the customer in to Apple’s single option. My daughter, a long term user of 3 different iPhone’s, has realised how much better the competition is and has had enough, she is selling her iPhone5 because of the cost, the lack of memory and, her last straw, the comic icons. Apple are past their best, are loosing both form and function to their competitors and are no longer providing value for money for their individual customers.

    3. Cheaper and better apps? LOL The pricing is set by creators not Apple, and there are hundreds of thousands of free apps, including Apple’s iWork and iLife suites, nothing approaching Pages available on Android.

      Evidently you have never seen the same apps side by side on iPhone and Android, where the iPhone versions often have more functionality than the Android versions, Facebook being but one example.

      There is no music rental on the iTunes store, you own them, can always redownload them, store them on iCloud etc and again the prices are set by the record and movie companies. Strange, because if you check Google Play, the same albums are… the same price.

      And of course, you have completely seamless integration between devices, your laptop, desktop, and via web versions of apps, not so easy to do with Android and your PC.

      Value for money is a subjective term, not just the price of the thing, but what it can do for you and your life. It’s like numbers, they are often pointless, quality of lens and aperture is better than more pixels for instance, just look at pro cameras lol.

      If you just want to make a few calls, FB and take some pics and post YouTube videos, buy a cheap phone. If you want to do serious work and need reliability, there’s only one choice.

    1. I’m sure they didn’t include BlackBerry as they are effectively dead in the water: Sales of the 10 series phones have been far under market predictions and the devices feel around five years out of date when compared to an Windows, Android or iOS device. The company is moving from hardware into corporate services, which to be honest doesn’t look that great for them either as their new Enterprise Server solution is a dreadful monstrosity of software modules.

    1. Absolutely agree. Lumia every time!
      These speed tests are of practically zero value. Processor speed is just one of a myriad factors to consider.
      Can we look forward to a car test that simply shows how far each car will go on a front set of tyres and then ranks them?? Farcical, I know, but no more so than this phone test.
      I hope that publishing this in isolation does not mean that Which? is retreating into the unreal world of geekdom. The test itself is called Geekbench – that should tell us something!
      Come on Which? You had been making such good progress, don’t slip back.

  3. Using benchmark should be to baseline things.
    Especially when using ONE benchmark.
    Samsung has proven recently you can fool these… as well, pure power doesn’t necessarily equate speed, even if geekbench tries to replicate real usage.
    What about page loading/rendering?
    Data connectivity?
    How quickly does it pick up a GPS signal?
    These are the factors that are important for users.

    And no, I’m not trying to pretend the iPhone wouldn’t win these too, however, I find the methodology for testing dubious.

    Nota: I am an android user (for full disclosure) and I use a Nexus 4. Not the fastest phone, but the lack of bloatware ensures a fine use on a daily basis, and consistent updates.

  4. I currently have Galaxy S4 on 4G having previously had an iphone and Htc1. The galaxy is by far my favourite, never was impressed with iphone… glad to go back to andriod and would not go back to an iphone. Galaxy is fast,responsive, does not lag and much prefer the apps available then apples.

  5. I use a Blackberry Z10, and it is great for business purposes, not so good as a toy. It deals with emails beautifully, it has enough apps for a business purpose, and even the preloaded maps produce a useable Satnav. There is no doubt that it does not have the fun factor of an iphone 5, but the proof is in the pudding – my kids have iphones and I have a Blackberry. Theirs are great for sitting at home bored on the sofa, mine is great for helping me to run my business, theirs will scratch or even worse break if dropped on the floor, mine survived a fall onto paving slabs from an upstairs window.

    All that said, I also have an ipad which, whilst not a telephone, and far bigger, is also better than bot for nearly everything

    1. The company I work for recently ditched Blackberry as their corporate supplier in favour of Apple whose phone and tablets running iOS6 can be locked down more easily. The solution included commissioning a range of specialist business apps and the purchase of external protective casing. The latter worked well three weeks ago when an iPhone5 had fallen from a pocket onto tarmac and was run then over by a caterpillar tracked vehicle before being noticed. Not a scratch.

      This company has purchased 2000+ iPhone5 and 1500+ tablets. BT plc has done similarly for similar reasons and on a similar scale, perhaps this is where Apple’s future lies.

  6. It would have been helpful if all the phones reviewed for speed had actually been reviewed by Which? overall. The LG one mentioned hasn’t been so there’s nothing else to provide a comparison on. Also, can we get processor speed & type (single, double, quad etc) into the full specifications on reviews. this is clearly one of the key aspects to compare phones against yet is not covered!

  7. The new iphone OS is rotten, bad on the eyes, disconcerting, hard to read text at times, over bright and not as user friendly as the previous OS I wish I had not upgraded. My Iphone 4s is perfect for my everyday needs why spend a fortune on a 5s? Other than to try to impress.

    1. No, architecture would only benefit applications optimised for 64 bits.
      It’s there to say they were the first, and to future proof the phone.

  8. I have an iphone 4s, it works extremely well at everything it does. It fits in my pocket comfortably, I have no desire for anything bigger. It is tough has not scratched or stopped working when dropped, and most of all finds a signal even in areas that have been poor with other phones. I have no desire to ‘upgrade’ when my contract runs out, I will go to a sim only contract and keep it working as long as possible.

  9. >What does the iPhone 5s Geekbench score mean in real life?

    well apparently to Which it means running benchmarks, after all what else is a phone for? personally I use my phone for making a few calls, using the internet and running apps google maps etc and as a handy camera too..

    just about any of the phones test are good enough for that.

    if you have to have the fastest phone, and tell all your mates its the fastest then the iPhone is apparently what you need (not to mention the most expensive too lol)

    seems to be another entirely pointless who’s got the biggest best’est fastest bling’est phone article from Which. (if not deliberately to stir up the fanbois or fandroids one way or another once again)

    What has happened to Which? it used to be a good source unbiased real-world advice, sadly no more.

    1. I agree, I have noticed that Which? has lost much of it’s testing and unbiased reviews in favour of self promotion and pandering to a mass market, as this sort of unreal speed benchmark report shows.

      The most processor heavy thing I, and I suspect any of us use a phone for these days is to watch downloaded videos and record the odd video using the camera, and there must be 50+ Android (including the Nokia Lumina and Sony Z) and 4 Apple phones that all do this happily, including all 7 in this review, so what was this test lab testing and above review. Which? is not a magazine trying to sell copy, it is supposed to be sensible, adult and accurate. Nothing in this review helps Which? subscribers decide which phone is for them.

  10. Oh dear. The only reasons for buying an i-anything is to further bloat Apple’s profit margins. Any real world comparison says the i-phone etc are no better and no worse (on average) than their competitors. (Thinking HTC, LG, Samsung)
    However, they are seriously overpriced in comparison to their competitors.
    More of a fashion item really….
    If you like Apple products, fine, but I dislike being ripped off!

  11. Usual android trolls and what’s all about, just glad of the update had Samsung 2 yrs ago worst thing ever now follow all our customers who seem to be iPhone, now looking at the web traffic apart from the online trolls all paying customers are iPhone

  12. Recently (28/10) purchased a Lumina 520 Windows Phone. £140 + case.

    Totally useless for my use – far too complicated. Not user friendly !

    Had to take out a Contract on Galaxy Fame.

    Anyone wanting a lumina – mine is going cheap!

  13. Still using my Galaxy S2. It’s a great phone and has done everything I want including navigating around India using Google Maps/Nav, read books everywhere – including 3-miles high – using Kindle App, texted, phoned and emailed from everywhere. Just off to Sri Lanka where I hope it performs just as well.

    I’d like a slightly larger screen, but as it’s perfect in every other department I’m hardly going to splash out hundreds of pounds upgrading.

    And the iPhone screen does come anywhere near the quality of the Super AMOLED Plus screen of the Galaxy.

  14. Once again Which review fulls short of professional evulation-not included sony xperia z1
    I am get really hacked off with Which for yet another amateur review content

  15. My phon is still an old Nokia 6303 ‘candy bar’. It makes and receives calls, with the advantage of the ability to text. And it takes reasonable record pictures. It seems to be that smartphones lead to a very vicarious lifestyle with lots of ‘friends’. Unfortunately, I’m old enough to have met all my friends and therefore have no interest in a smartphone – and so what if an app takes a microsecond longer to load, it’s is the speed of what happens after the app has loaded is the important bit – and that is usually down to the human.

  16. I find it interesting that people keep mentioning “future proofing”. In my experience the mobile phone makers constantly drive there users to new phones – the idea of future proofing seems redundant. Am I missing something?

  17. I’ve still got the now ‘old’ iPhone 5, and it’s lightening, so can’t really imagine how it can be improved! Apps open in a fraction of a second, internet viewing is lightening, and apps that run in the background, run silently and efficiently. My view is that the iPhone is SO user friendly, it’s family friendly too, meaning that both my wife and I have one, and enjoy seeing photo’s of the kids when I’m at work, and sharing diaries etc. without the hassle of trying to configure an andriod to try and do the same tasks… Apple all the way for me!

  18. Sony Xperia Z Ultra with Snapdragon 800 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with Exynos 5420 are both faster than iPhone 5S

    Proof – mobiltelefon.ru/post_1382265922.html

  19. Perhaps for balance….. I am a happy Iphone5 user with IOS7. It took a little getting used to but it has grown on me and generally better than its predecessor. I have used HTC and found that it wasnt intuitive. I have a nokia lumia for work and dont like it all all. Again its not intuitive for me. Fellow Iphone fans of mine say similar things about other phones not being able to find things where they expect them to be

    My wife has a Samsung S3 and loves it. She cannot use all the features though and i cant fathom how to use it. Again it doesnt feel intuitive. I like my apps and she thinks hers are Ok until she looks at mine. She has an Iphone 4 for work and doesnt like it.

    I dont feel cheated by the price, itunes or apps prices. The after sales support is great. No android provider does this as far as i know.

    The balancing message may be: Have what works for you. Which’s information does just that. Inform.

  20. I think you’ll find the Note 3 is the fastest mobile out there.
    The Sony Z1 (where is it?) Is also faster. I’m afraid Which? Is becoming well known for Apple bias and as a member for over 25 years I am questioning its independence. Is there something it isn’t telling us?

  21. Have a Samsung Galaxy S2 on Vodafone network…works amazingly fast in Southbank area of London and Colmore Row area of Birmingham…mostly poor web connection elsewhere (West country) and not much good at all in pre 3G Wiltshire where I live…have to drive into Bath to update apps etc and then usually north of the river! Vodafone advise taking the back off, removing SIM card, re-insert battery and then reverse the procedure to force phone to search for a stronger signal…hey ho!

  22. Why does everything have to be “fast”anyway? Does it make anything better? This obsession with speed is absurd and mystifying. Fast boiling kettles, high speed trains, instant communication, it is having an appalling effect on peoples lives. SLOW DOWN life can be beautiful if you learn to look and absorb what is around you. There are millions of people who cannot even think about a flash mobile phone as their first priority is putting food on the table. Not only that take life slowly you will live longer and have less stress. Which should get away from testing expensive technology and concentrate on the basics such as nutrition or exposing rip-off deals in supermarkets.

  23. Iphone 5s

    “The power of the processor really comes into its own when you’re running power-hungry apps, editing videos, or playing advanced games.”

    I bet the average Which subscriber can’t wait for these features….

  24. Really surprised and disappointed that the Note 3 was excluded from the test given that it launched just a couple of weeks before the 5s and is the latest Samsung. Could Which? explain who it wasn’t included?

  25. El test es un fraude ya que revisando a fondo los procesos que realiza el celular solo ocupa un nucleo y no es a toda la potencia , si utilizas android tuner te daras cuenta que los cpus del galaxy s4 solo funciona 1 y no es a toda su capacidad cuando juegas uno de los ultimos titulos asphalt 8 a la maxima resolucion apenas y funcionan 2 procesadores , para rapido las aplicaciones todavia no estan optimizadas para sacarle todo el rendimiento a estos potentes celulares. Depende mucho de los fabricantes dar un mejor software. Que note vean la cara de wey es mejor saber antes que irte con la finta.

  26. My grumpy E63 may not be the bee knees, but it works. Battery life for the best
    part of a week. And I can make a phone call or text when I want to.
    After all, Its a phone.

  27. This thread is all a little pointless, and will have as much impact on the Which test team as trying to convince the BBC that the Guardian isn’t the most sooperdooperist newspaper in the world. It’s all about standpoint and perception!

  28. I’m intrigued to see so many peeps getting so seemingly excited. Most mult-functioning products aren’t all things to everyone and never have been; cars, houses, phones etc. it’s pretty easy to determine one’s main requirements, buy for those functions and compromise on the rest. Don’t let the marketing boys convince you otherwise! I.e if you don’t use the camera much or don’t need blistering speed etc etc, why worry if you have YOUR main requirements covered? And certainly not worth paying for an upgrade. As others have pointed out above, if an old phone answers your requirements keep it. It’s only the marketing boys who encourage our self-greed to upgrade unnecessarily. If Which? isn’t performing to your requirements tell them! I have several times (but nothing changed!) and I’m going to vote with my feet one day. I agree with RICHARD above, slow down, do less and take the time to enjoy the things you like.
    Here ends today’s reading, sorry about that!

  29. Which? never seems to take into consideration the price of the items it reviews. If something is only marginally better technically, aesthetically, then Which? says it is a best buy, ignoring that we are all prepared (I think) to compromise technical competence for price. If a Samsung and an Apple do, by and larger, the same things, why spend 50 – 75% more on the Apple? And this ignores the added advantages of not being sucked into Apple’s “ecosystem”.
    PS, slightly off subject, but I suspect one reason why Apple products are so expensive is because of all the product placement fees Apple has to pay for in Hollywood movies!

  30. Any phone that is physically bigger in any dimension than a iPhone 4/4s is too big.

    Chavs and people in the thrid-world like massive phones, when I saw some bozo walking around talkng on a 7″ phablet, I just thought you are poor and trying to style it. He was looking around to checking that everyone could see him!

    I want a iPhone the size of the 4 with a screen that goes edge to edge, top to bottom and a return to glass back panel. The leverage that 64-bit will give me as a photographer editing images on a device more portable than a laptop is very important and I will be getting the iPad mini and keeping my iPhone 4 until Jony makes the phone I want.

    When I hear someone say ‘Customised interface’ and ‘Power-user’, what they mean is ‘I refuse to pay 69p for an App, screw the developers’.

    That is why 64-bit on ‘Roid IS a marketing ploy, they won’t be able to roll out Apps.

    Pure marketing like eight core processors, pixel density higher than is nessacery and massive screens, marketing to sheep. Remeber, Google spent 0.5bn on marketing one phone, Samsung Mobile 9.5bn and Apple… spent 1.3bn on its entire range of products.

    1. a phone under 5.5 is a phone and is portable s4 a 5inch phone hit its sales at 40million mark, 4 inch is outdated as smartphones shud have considerable bigger screen so above 4 is not “too big”

      Customized interface’ and ‘Power-user’ ,means screw monopoly , at least be able to transfer a nice click to my friends cell phone and yes a blueshare (its never about paying about the app one can pay hundreds of dollar for a smart phone surely paying for app is nothing) ,

      entire range of products apple …that was fun

  31. Iphones had its day im bored ov them dont use mine anymore note 3 the best den htc one then s4 den lg g2 I currently own s4 but kinda want my htc one back but there both good iphone 5s is a bit too chavy for me with the fake gold

  32. I am bored with all this phone talk.
    Everybody just seeks to justify their own purchase – as I do with my Nokia 620 – Brilliant!!
    Lets move on …. how about brands of coffee. The real chance of a decent argument with just as much subjectivity!!

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