System Performance

System performance of the new iPhones should be again excellent given the hardware advancements on the part of the new A14 chip. Alongside iOS14, we should really see no problem with everyday tasks on the phone.

Unfortunately, our benchmark suite for iOS here is still relatively barren, and we have to mostly rely on web browser benchmarks – which isn’t all too much of an issue given that’s the heaviest and most demanding every-day workload for mobile devices.

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView

In Speedometer 2, the new A14 showcases a large performance boost of 30% for the new iPhone generation. This is likely both due to the clock frequency increase of the new CPUs as well as the fact that the new microarchitecture has in particular a larger amount of FP/SIMD resources available to itself.

Usually at this point we would point out that it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison to other devices in the chart, and that Apple’s Nitro JavaScript engine could simply be much superior to Google’s V8 engine, but the new release of the Apple Silicon Macs where we could finally compare Safari versus Chrome has shown very little performance discrepancy, meaning the performance here is actually due to the CPUs themselves.

Having that in mind, it means that Apple’s performance advantage over Android devices has grown even bigger this generation, with little hope for upcoming Cortex cores to catch up with such a gap.

JetStream 2 - OS Webview

JetStream 2 has heavier workloads and also make uses of WebAssembly, averaging out a smaller performance increase for the new A14 chip, but still showcasing class-leading performance amongst the competition.

WebXPRT 3 - OS WebView

WebXPRT is a browser workload that tries to mimic real-world interactions and workloads. The new iPhone 12s here actually show very little progress in terms of performance.

This small progress in WebXPRT is actually quite representative of my overall impression of responsiveness of the new iPhones: The A13 and iPhone 11 devices were already so performant and responsive that the actual speed limit for user interactions nowadays are just OS animations and just general SoC DVFS, the latter which Apple has already optimised to an ideal operation a few years back.

I would be lying if I were to say that I noticed that the new iPhone 12s are any faster than the iPhone 11 in everyday usage, but that’s simply because these are already are outstandingly fast devices.

The Apple A14 SoC: Firestorm & Icestorm GPU Performance & Power


View All Comments

  • Bob Todd - Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - link

    Basically every smart phone released since forever has quite a few threads about battery drain problems from some users. You also need to take into account the population size here. I'm sure Apple has sold more than a million units across the range already. My anecdotal rebuttal to anecdotal accounts of problems is that my 12 Mini with the smallest battery has surprised me with how good the battery life is. I skipped charging it a few nights ago and went to sleep with 62%. In the morning it was down to 56%. No low power mode, no turning off any radios, and it was losing less than 1%/hour at idle with all the usual suspects like multiple Gmail accounts, an Exchange account, Facebook etc. setup. Just before midnight the next night it was down to 10%. TL;DR: I think they can all make it through a day of "average" use easily. Reply
  • PickUrPoison - Saturday, December 12, 2020 - link

    There are definitely some 5G issues with this switch to a new modem/radio. I’d think that between Apple and Qualcomm they have enough engineering resources to dial it in. Reply
  • theblitz707 - Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - link

    its a shame you guys dont test minimum brightness anymore :( Im very interested in black clipping Reply
  • Ranger1065 - Wednesday, December 2, 2020 - link

    I understand some members of your staff have problems, but this is ridiculous. In the interests of self preservation, isn't it time to get a GPU review done? Reply
  • 29a - Wednesday, December 2, 2020 - link

    Let me guess, no 3060 ti review? Reply
  • zeeBomb - Thursday, December 3, 2020 - link

    that's tough!!! Reply
  • Frantisek - Friday, December 4, 2020 - link

    Phones looks simmilar. Difference is much bigger then you picture even it does not look like that in normal use. Let see all differences.

    128 GB so real difference is 150 (130) USD
    6 GB RAM
    Telephoto: ƒ/2.0 aperture with OIS
    2x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 4x optical zoom range
    Digital zoom up to 10x
    Night mode portraits enabled by LiDAR Scanner
    Apple ProRAW
    Dolby Vision recording up to 60 fps
    Durable steel frame you do not preffere
    Brighter display

    I think RAM, extra lens with OIS, Lidar and brighter screen can easily justify hugher cost.
    And 100 USD for Max is really small difference for bigger screen and battery, better image sensor with extra stabilisation when we speak in Apple prices.

    I hever had rounded phone so can not comment your feelings from flat edges. ... Sorry I had 3/3GS but it so long time ago and were quite bulky.
    I would try to compare those phones in cases as many ppl wear them anyway.
  • s.yu - Friday, December 4, 2020 - link

    Not exciting at all...Personally that move back to the iP4 design is the biggest "upgrade", as I've always felt that to be more premium, just like Razer etc. are all making their laptops more boxy. The camera would be more of a sidegrade. Reply
  • sharathc - Friday, December 4, 2020 - link

    Boring 🙄 Reply
  • iphonebestgamephone - Sunday, December 6, 2020 - link

    More exciting than whatever you are doing, atleast. Reply

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