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
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  • anshelanancy - Wednesday, December 2, 2020 - link

    This iPhone 12 is really well designed but high cost and released in some countries normally we can buy it online. I want to buy this but it isn't released in my country. I must buy this phone but this time I am so much busy with my office work here doing work as a marketing executive since 2017.
  • Byte - Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - link

    I kept my X to play games on and found it hurts to hold the X now because the the whole side feels sharp now. Am i weird?
  • Laga Goteborg - Thursday, June 24, 2021 - link

    iPhone 12 LCD screens are much tougher than before, we had cases that glass was intact but LCD under glass was shattered. However we could always fix the problem via
  • KPOM - Monday, November 30, 2020 - link

    The 12 mini hits the sweet spot for design and features this year, and I’m surprised it isn’t selling better (apparently Apple is seeing more demand than expected for the Pro and Max and somewhat less for the 12 and mini).

    I agree that the 12 Pro is a bit heavy and the new design isn’t as easy to hold as the 11 Pro. But the mini is only slightly bigger than the original iPhone SE/5/5s, and is the most comfortable phone to hold that I’ve seen in years.
  • Bob Todd - Monday, November 30, 2020 - link

    I assume some of it is just that people have gotten accustomed to gargantuan phones over time and it can be a bit of a shock to scale back down. After holding the 12 mini in one hand and my OnePlus 6 in the other, I was certainly hesitant to give up that much screen. It was mostly fond memories of my Essential Phone's form factor that pushed me to choose the mini. My wife on the other hand is eyeing the regular 12 for this exact reason. She's accustomed to the size of her OnePlus 7T and the progressively larger phones that have landed her there.
  • lmcd - Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - link

    I personally think that it's due to upgrade cycle timing -- why buy a 12 mini if you just bought an SE 2020?

    I think a lot of people in that niche picked up an SE and also are already the type to hold onto their phones longer.
  • techconc - Monday, December 7, 2020 - link

    Agreed. I have the 12 Pro, but after feeling the 12 mini in my hand (and in my pocket), I think I may go mini next time.
  • ikjadoon - Monday, November 30, 2020 - link

    The Mini is limited to 12W peak MagSafe, unlike “up to 15W” on all the other models.
  • Jetcat3 - Monday, November 30, 2020 - link

    12W peak with a 2227 mAh cell is non issue in my opinion.

    Andrei, in your testing did you notice increased black levels with low APL’s at brightness levels between 0-40%?
  • ikjadoon - Monday, November 30, 2020 - link

    I don't think a single person genuinely cares or notices peak charging rates: minutes at best? Though the first page chart is a little incorrect.

    On displays, I'd be much more interested in power consumption of the two panels, so we can compare with the 11 Pro.

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