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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  • bernstein - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    Given a 4 year lifespan (which at this point is very likely as new iphones bring basically nothing to the table) the XR costs $7/month less than the XS max ($23/month). So unless you have an EXEPTIONALLY cheap monthly plan or have to get the newest cheapest iphone every year, it's just not worth saving to get the XR.
    I'd rather get a cheaper plan (currently $25 all unlimited)....
    Reply
  • melgross - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    When pointing out sales, several things have to be taken into account. The first is that sales of smartphones has fallen overall. That affects Apple too. Second are the problems related to the arrest of the Huawei executive. Unlike hitting a Chinese company, this targeting a Chinese official from a major Chinese company, is considered to be a major breach, even if she, and the company are guilty of the accusations, resulting in a lack of “face”. As a result, major corporations in China have been directed to discourage employee purchasing of iPhones in favore of Huawei products, which iPhones purchasers being fined for that purchase.

    Then, China is in a massive economic slowdown the latter part of 2018, which is continuing into 2019.

    All of this results in a slowdown in iPhone sales there. China has been 27% of Apple’s sales overall, so a slowdown there hurts. However, in almost every other area, Apple’s sales were up.

    So this issue is more complex that just a matter of pricing.
    Reply
  • ksec - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    The Table mentions XR of Cat 12, and 1Gbps. which doesn't go together. The XR max out at 600Mbps. The same as last year iPhone X, and it doesn't support LAA. Reply
  • jakeuten - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    Cat 12 is 600 Mbps. The XS/XS Max are the Cat 16 which is 1 Gbps, which the chart accurately reflects. Reply
  • ksec - Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - link

    The Chart has been corrected since I posted. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    Thanks! Reply
  • yeeeeman - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    You should add to the title: "and a back to the past travel to 2010 experience". How stupid can a person be to buy a phone with 750$ and have a worse display than most 100$ Chinese phones? Heck, 70$ phones have 720p display. Damn! Reply
  • FreckledTrout - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    Apple is getting the third best battery life behind only the Huawei Mate 9 and 20 which both have very large batteries and are only Full HD. Personally I would take the battery life over the nicer screen and I think a lot of people are in my camp. The price just needs to come down $150-200 on all the iPhones models, if Apple would like to start selling more of them. Reply
  • jakeuten - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    The resolution on the panel is greater than 720p, and the iPhone 8 also had the same pixel density. Reply
  • Maxpower2727 - Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - link

    How stupid can a person be to sincerely think that resolution is the one and only factor that determines display quality. According to the article your commenting on (if you even bothered to read it), the XR has a phenomenal display in every measure except resolution. Reply

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