Lab Tests: How long does the iPhone 5's battery last?

The iPhone 5 doesn't match or exceed its predecessor's battery life, though it comes close

Given some of the iPhone 5's other improvements--thinner body, larger screen, and greater number of pixels to illuminate--it wouldn't seem that the new phone could also match, much less exceed, its predecessor's battery life. And, in fact, it doesn't, though it comes close.

Apple has claimed that the iPhone 5 would deliver "up to 10 hours" of video playback on a single charge--the same as the 4S. To see how good the new iPhone's battery life really is, I ran it through our standard battery test and then compared the result to those of the iPhone 4S, and iPhone 4; for good measure, I also compared it to the third-generation iPad and iPad 2.

More specifically, I first updated those older devices to iOS 6. I then took a luminance meter and set the screens of all of the devices to 200 nits. I turned off Auto-Brightness and put each device into Airplane mode. Lastly, I set the volume two clicks up from its lowest setting. Then, with the same 120-minute video playing at fullscreen on repeat, I timed each device to see how long it would take to drain the battery and power off.

The results: Simply put, the iPhone 5 did not last as long as the iPhone 4s or 4. It lasted 8 hours and 21 minutes--about 6 percent less than the iPhone 4S and about 4 percent less than the iPhone 4. Compared to the two current iPads (which have much bigger batteries), the iPhone 5 lasted 27.5 percent less time than the iPad 2 and 17 percent less than the third generation iPad.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Galbraith

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?