System Performance

System performance of the iPhone XR isn’t something that we expect to differ from the higher-end XS models. Here Apple employs the same SoC at the same clocks, and fundamentally there isn’t any technical reason for the phone to perform differently in every-day tasks. It’s to be noted that our iPhone XS review models were of the biggest storage capacities – both at 512GB, while the iPhone XR model tested today is a 64GB variant. I’m still working on getting our mobile NAND testing suite modernized, but I do expect a difference in speeds here as the bigger storage variants allow for better NAND die parallelism on the part of the storage controller.

Our iOS system benchmarking suite is limited to in-browser tests, nevertheless let’s take a look:

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebViewWebXPRT 3 - OS WebView

As expected, the iPhone XR performs within the margins of error for the iPhone XS. Which means it’s at the very top for mobile performance, currently outperforming every other device, and we’re not expecting this to change anytime soon for 2019 (at least until Apple's A13).

In our review of the iPhone XS, we dedicated a lot of analysis to the A12 and we were just impressed with the performance of the chip as well as Apple’s new CPU microarchitecture.

Since then, we’ve had the opportunity to test the newer generation SoCs from HiSilicon as well as Qualcomm, both employing Arm’s new Cortex A76 CPU cores. While both SoCs have shown fantastic gains, especially in regards to energy efficiency at peak performance, absolute CPU performance and ISO perf/W of the Android vendors are still very much lagging behind Apple’s best. As a result, these latest-generation Android SoCs are having trouble competing with even last year’s A11, never mind the A12. The new Exynos 9820 is the only other important chip for 2019 on which we don’t have data on – and I’m not expecting any miracle on Samsung’s side, which means the A12 and subsequently the iPhone XR will remain very much a top performer for the rest of the year.

Introduction & Design GPU Performance


View All Comments

  • Lolimaster - Thursday, February 7, 2019 - link

    The resolution is just craptastic vs a 5.8" S9 where you can have TRUE 1080p RGB AMOLED when going 1080p in the options down from 1440 pentile mode. Reply
  • darkich - Thursday, February 7, 2019 - link

    Wow, just wow.
    I find this comment to ironic because the only gripe I have with the XR is not the display not how ridiculously big bezels it if it has a bumper case.
    That some people can't see this is beyond me..
  • ss96 - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    Hi Ian, do you have a number for the display's contrast ratio? Interested to know how it compares to previous iPhone LCDs.
    Also, what happened to the charts comparing contrast, color accuracy to the competing smartphones? Really miss those.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    1450 to 1550:1 to depending on brightness.

    As for the the accuracy charts, I think it lead to a lot of readers to too quickly jump to conclusions and misunderstand what the figures actually meant, and for example in the past we had some cases of phone A having a dE of say 2 vs a dE of 1 - in both cases the actual differences in this case are extremely small and in isolated conditions probably imperceptible. However because they had just looked up the chart they determined that phone B was that much better because the bar graphs were that much shorter. I think this was quite counter-productive to the analysis of some devices and something I wasn't that big of a fan of.
  • ss96 - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    Hi Andrei, thanks for your answer. I liked those because it was easy to know what other devices scored without having to go to their respective review, but I understand that it may be misleading. Reply
  • MarcusMo - Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - link

    I get what you mean regarding the dE comparison charts, however removing them all together seems like the nuclear option.

    Having review sites such as anandtech calling out poor accuracy again and again is part of the reason we’re seeing manufacturers finally care about this metric. Shaming them on a public comparison chart is a much more effective means towards that end then burying the numbers in each individual review.

    A suggestion would be to include a cutoff line in the chart, declaring anything below this to be imperceptible to the human eye. That, and the Anandtech readerships ability to parse objective data (why we visit this site), should be enough to assuage any fears of misinterpretation.
  • mkozakewich - Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - link

    You should turn those charts into some kind of logarithmic efficiency thing, where a dE of <=1 is 100% and a dE of 3 is 90%, or something like that. Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    @Andrei: Thanks for this review. I largely agree with your analysis, but have an addition to your interpretation of Apple going below Full HD for the XR's display. Yes, build costs may well have been a little bit lower, but my suspicion is that, had the XR had even just an FHD display (otherwise identical in specs to the current one), the value proposition for the XS and XS Max would have been even more doubtful than it already is. Not that the XR is, by any means, a cheap phone - $ 749 for the 64GB entry-level model is a lot of money. But, I believe that Apple's decision to go with a below-FHD display for the XR was mainly to make it just that little less attractive so enough people still go for the premium models. Reply
  • fasterquieter - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    I think the answer is much simpler. They determined years ago that 326ppi is sufficient as far as clarity goes. They have approaching a decade of software optimized for this 2X pixel count. Going slightly denser would have resulted in negligible image quality improvements and the need to downscale the image, like the Plus phones. That came with its own disadvantages. I think they made the right call. Reply
  • Zeross - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    I think that you're perfectly right and In my opinion, something often overlooked is that the X and XS OLED displays are higher resolution mostly to compensate for the PenTile subpixels arrangement : the 458ppi figure is only true for green subpixels. Red and blue subpixels have a 324 sppi definition. So basically Apple have determined years ago that ~320ppi is good enough and the X (XS) screen resolution was chosen to ensure that all subpixels achieve this number. Of course I have no insight knowledge and I may be completely wrong but it would be a weird coincidence if by pure luck, the red and blue sppi of its latest phones is almost exactly the same that the one chosen in 2010 for the first retina iPhone. Reply

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