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


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  • soliloquist - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    From the charts, you are talking about 0.6 mm. Seems hard for me to believe that translates to "infinitely" more comfortable. Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    As I mention in the review, it's not about absolute mm's, it's about the % difference. Take into account that what actually matters for in-hand feel is the edge thickness as well as the distance from edge to edge over the back. There is a very big difference in feel from the X/XS/XSM to the XR. Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - link

    While this is beyond the review of the phone itself, somebody else here pointed out that many buyers of such expensive phones will add a case to protect their investment. I certainly have a slim case around my (Android) phone. In that regard: Andrei, could you comment on drop resistance and likely damage? To be clear, I wouldn't expect you to actually try it out - not at those prices. Reply
  • peterfares - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    0.6mm of extra thickness makes it too thick? I'm not sure I'd even be able to notice that. Reply
  • colinstu - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    Man if I could get the XS Max with the XR's screen & price tag I'd be happy. Reply
  • sing_electric - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    I still think that your initial guess - that the XR would be the best-selling model - will turn out to be true. Although launch dates/quarters of iPhones certainly bring a sales bump, the VAST majority of users out there just walk into a store when they've paid off their old phone, or it's starting to die, or they just feel like it's time, not caring whether the model launched a day ago or 6 months ago.

    Those people will buy the phone that looks like an iPhone and suits their budget - and that's going to be the XR. Moreover, by putting the XR in the MIDDLE size-wise, people who prefer bigger phones (which, based on people I've seen, includes a lot of older people with so-so vision, who wouldn't care about resolution), customers who walk in with say, an iPhone 7 Plus will look at the XR and not feel that it's a "step down" in terms of size, meaning that the XR is likely going to be an upgrade path for both budget-conscious owners of 4.7" iPhones AND the larger 5.5" Plus models.
  • howieb2001 - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    My wife has my XS Max as I prefer the XR. Couldn't care less about bezels, benchmarks and the like. This phone does everything very smoothly and has fantastic battery life. You can hammer it mercilessly for an 18 hour day and you won't get anywhere near to draining it. The camera is close to Pixel 3 standards. Great phone. Reply
  • rrinker - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    I'm still using a 5S (go ahead, laugh, but it works perfectly fine, battery still lasts me all day, nothing wrong with it). All this talk of display and bezels - really? Panning a slight bezel is the whole reason we're in these stupid crazy phone wars in the first place. I'm an engineer, not a designer - I don't give a hoot as long as it works. In fact, the wider bezels just makes it easier to hold the phone without accidentally touching the screen and making pages flip or something else happen that you don't want. The screen density on the XR is exactly the same as my 5S. Close up - without magnification, I can't see the pixels. It's PLENTY sharp enough. A special zoom camera? My 5S already gets better photos at concerts than my GF's Samsung, which is also a WAY too huge a phone to hold to boot. The XR is probably still too big but there's not a lot of options these days. I have a tablet for reading, I don;t need my phone to be tablet size to make a damn phone call and occasionally web browse or read emails while on the go. The real question is, why WOULDN'T I get the XR as an upgrade, over the others. The others don't really do anything better for the extra money, and frankly I've never been a big fan of OLED displays. 4 year life span? See my first sentence. I keep using things until they break beyond economical repair. I'd still be on my old iPad if I hadn;t fallen asleep while reading on the patio last Summer and dropped it, it was the first one that had a lightning connector, still worked fine and did what I need a tablet to do, no reason for an upgrade just for the sake up upgrading. XR seems to be my best choice to upgrade if I bother - really can;t see a compelling reason to stop using the 5S yet though. Reply
  • ZeroPointEF - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    I agree. I was in the market for a new phone, and picked up an XR for US$375. It is one of the best decisions I have made. I get 3 to 4 days out of a single battery charge, the screen is fantastic, and it is comfortable to hold. For someone that had nothing but disdain for iPhone, the changes that they made for the X series were just right for me to embrace the device. Android was always a sad comparison to my Windows Phone devices, but now I am firmly entrenched in the iOS and iPhone camp. If the XR still had a home button and didn't have the notch, I am not sure that the experience would have been as wonderful as it has been. Reply
  • cha0z_ - Monday, February 11, 2019 - link

    375$ for that phone is more than a great price. Reply

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