/ Technology

Is speed top of your smartphone buying priorities?

iPhone 5S

As Jamaica has become synonymous with Olympic 100m champions, Apple has long been associated with producing the fastest smartphone. Has the iPhone 5S retained the crown? And is speed really that important to you?

When you buy an iPhone, you just assume it’s got speed in spades to handle the latest game or video editing app. That’s what you pay extra for instead of ‘settling’ for a Samsung or HTC. At least it used to be…

In our fastest phone test of flagship handsets earlier this year, the iPhone 5 came bottom of the list – it was the proverbial wooden spoon winner.

Although more recent mobiles like the Samsung Galaxy S4 had been released since the iPhone 5’s launch, we weren’t expecting it to do quite so badly. Even the cut-price Google Nexus 4 outperformed Apple’s handset, a disastrous result for the company whose premium mantra usually stands for much more than plush aluminium casing.

When the iPhone 5S was unveiled last month, the mobile’s ‘ground-breaking’ 64-bit processor promised much. Enough to make the 5S the fastest phone money can buy? We asked our test lab…

Is iPhone 5S the fastest phone?

The answer we got was a victory for Apple. You can read the full results on Which? Tech Daily, but the iPhone 5S is the fastest phone money can buy. That’s great news for those who’ve signed up to £40+ per month contracts for the flagship smartphone. Even when you’re paying a lot for something, you still want to feel like it’s offering you value for money.

Of course, speed isn’t everything. A phone is only as fast as the operating system it runs on, apps it has installed and internet connection it has available. Plus, any phone that passes through our test lab gets assessed on its battery life, storage space, camera quality and a whole smorgasbord of other factors. So for the full iPhone 5S verdict – read our expert review.

When it comes to smartphone speed, I’m glad the iPhone 5S is sprinting to the front. Just as I want to watch Usain Bolt crack the 100m world record again, it’s amazing to see technology manufacturers stretch the limits of what technology is capable of.

The question is; is speed at the top of your priority list when you buy a smartphone? Are you sold on the iPhone 5S now that you know it’s the fastest phone we’ve tested?


Although I have an iPhone 5S, processor speed is not my top priority. Functionality, of both hardware and software, is more important. Nevertheless I’m delighted to read Which’s results, particularly after the iPhone 5’s dismal result last time.

Why do you suggest that one has to buy a service contract of £40+ per month for the latest iPhone? I pay only £9 per month to use my iPhone 5S. I think you’re confusing the price of the goods and the price of the service.

David Young says:
18 October 2013

Having the fastest is not my highest priority, neither is having the latest. The contract on my Galaxy S2 is about to run out and having looked around I’ve decided to keep it. It’s a perfectly good phone, does all that I require, has Android 4.1.2 which is pretty recent (I’m amused to see articles saying ‘Samsung Galaxy S2 Android 4.2 Update Prospects Look Bleak’). For now I’ll pay £10 per month to GiffGaff instead of the £27 I was paying to T-Mobile, or whatever an S4 would cost me now.
I’ll wait until it becomes unusable or new features which I really need become available. Then I can decide again what to do.
The whole upgrade thing is a gigantic con. How many of us really need the shiny new phone we’re offered as though we are being done a favour?


Any of you read this ?


Funny when the Samsung was fastest it was OK. Now Apple has taken the top spot …Does it matter !!


some people buy bottled water, other people pay £500+ for a mobile phone, whilst having a computer at home. You can fool all of the people, some of the time, and some of the people, all of the time, but you cant fool all of the people all of the time.

RA Midlands says:
21 October 2013

You get what you pay for.
Apple also put quite a lot into developing the Apple software environment so that Apple devices work together. I have a fairly upscale Android phone – which is very good value for money indeed for the overall package and performance, but the Android world seems amateurish. Every time there is an operating system upgrade curious things stop working the way they did – it speaks to me in a foreign language or an appalling US accent, for example, and keeps changing my keyboard app. You have to get apps for things that should be part of the operating system. It is a tribute to Apple that they can show the way while other manufacturers have quite a cost advantage by jumping on the Android bandwagon. My contract is up in 4 months so I an looking at ways to get into the Apple eco-system.


Why do you have to wait until the minimum term of your service contract is reached before buying an iPhone? You can just buy one from Apple; the goods and service are separate. At the end of your minimum service contract period, make sure you’re on a cheap SIM-only contract for no more than £10 to £15 per month.

Whatever you do, don’t get your iPhone from your mobile network, especially with a disguised loan for the iPhone from the network. You will end up paying much more overall than buying the goods and service separately.

RA Midlands says:
22 October 2013

Probably not going to get an iPhone – my phone is OK as a phone but a new iPad – depending on what they announce today…