Apple's ability to control the entire information chain, down to the point of limiting leaks, appears to be gradually slipping as it grows as a company. Case in point are the numerous hardware and performance leaks surrounding the newly launched iPhone 4S. Little did we know that several weeks ago we were staring at photos of the 4S' PCB, and more recently we've seen the first performance results from Apple's first A5 based smartphone thanks to a few eager users around the web. We've compiled these results here from various sources (all linked below) and compared them to our existing database of tests.

The results are pretty much as expected. Javascript performance finally catches up to Tegra 2 based Honeycomb devices, while general CPU performance is significantly higher than the iPhone 4. I suspect Ice Cream Sandwich will bridge the Android smartphone gap (the Honeycomb equipped Gtab 8.9 is here to give you an idea of where a more modern Android browser ends up).

Keep in mind that all of these tests measure performance of the software stack in addition to the hardware. In particular the web browser tests depend largely on browser optimizations, which is why we see differences between similar hardware running different browser versions. Also note that all results were run at stock, with the stock browser. Finally, although these browser tests were captured on video we'll still be running our official tests once our 4Ses arrive and will update accordingly.

Update: We made a mistake in our original presentation of the SunSpider numbers and compared the iPhone 4S' 0.9.1 results to our existing database of 0.9.0 scores. We have since updated the graph to compare directly to our 0.9.1 numbers. The rest of the results are unaffected. I apologize for the confusion.
The distribution is a lot tighter than before, however the relative standings don't really change. I still fully expect ICS to narrow a lot of this gap between iOS and Android devices - if we look at the lone Honeycomb result you get an indication of that.
Note that we always run our benchmarks on a stock OS/browser configuration. 

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9.1 - Stock Browser

Rightware BrowserMark

Using some of the integer and fp tests of published Geekbench scores we can already conclude that Apple is shipping a lower clocked A5 in the iPhone 4S than it does in the iPad 2. This naturally makes sense as the iPhone 4S has a much smaller 5.25 Whr battery. Based on the Geekbench results it looks like the iPad 2 is clocked around 25% higher than the iPhone 4S, pegging the latter's clock speed at 800MHz.

Geekbench - Overall Results

Geekbench - Processor integer performance

A lower clock not only means higher yields from the factory, but likely a lower operating voltage as well. Dropping a CPU's core voltage, yields a greater-than-linear decrease in power consumption, making the marginal loss in clock speed a good choice. At a lower operating frequency than its Android competitors, Apple does have to exploit its strengths in software to avoid any tangible performance penalties. Apple has traditionally done this very well in the past, so I don't expect the loss of frequency to be a huge deal to the few who do cross-shop iOS and Android.

Unsurprisingly, memory bandwidth doesn't appear to have gone up either compared to the iPad 2's A5 (taking into account scaling due to CPU clock increases). The Samsung part number on the iPad 2's A5 indicates two LPDDR2-800 die on package, it's safe to assume that whatever Apple clocked the memory interface at in the iPad 2 remains unchanged in the iPhone 4S.

The GPU results tell a similar story courtesy of some early GLBenchmark 2.1 results. The 960 x 640 results are useless as they are bound by vsync at ~60 fps. Luckly GLBenchmark 2.1 added an off-screen render mode at 1280 x 720 where we can really see the differences between the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S A5 implementations:

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Egypt - Offscreen

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Pro - Offscreen

Here the iPad 2 holds a ~21% performance advantage, which once again I assume to be all related to clock speed. Also note the huge advantage over the existing iPhone 4. The GPU power in the 4S should be more than enough to run any well written, current generation title at well north of 30 fps on its display.

We'll be reviewing the iPhone 4S in the coming weeks, stay tuned!

Source: GLBenchmark Database, Geekbench Database, Macrumors



View All Comments

  • seanleeforever - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    hi Anand.
    you have to standardize the test. i am getting HUGE differences using different browsers. why not run all the test using the same browser (i.e. Opera Mini, since it is available for both andriod and ios).

    case in point, my n900 scored 21631 with default browser, but just over 9000 with opera. i suppose this doesn't mean my hardware suddenly went from 900 Mhz to 2 GHz.

    use some sort of standard, and re-run all the test to give us a more accurate performance.

  • mzinZ - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    He is using stock OS's and default browsers because that is what 99% of people use. Reply
  • seanleeforever - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    except most people use browser other than stock.

    and that's the questions. why not use a standard browser, like opera, to test stock OS , stock phone across the board?
  • uhuznaa - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Most people use other browsers than stock? Really? I doubt that very much.

    And there IS no common browser available on both platforms. Opera Mini is not a browser at all, it renders on Opera's servers and sends the results back.

    Comparing stock browsers on a stock OS as delivered in a phone you can buy is just the only sensible thing you can do.
  • seanleeforever - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    wasn't long ago Opera was the number 1 download app across the globe in every single country for idevice. you should probably google that.

    you have a point for the opera mini, i suppose opera mobile is a better choice for the test.
  • andynormancx - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Opera Mobile would be a lousy choice for the test, because it isn't even available on iOS. Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - link

    Yeah - a lot of people like me downloaded Opera, tried it a few times, and then went back to Safari... Reply
  • doobydoo - Sunday, October 16, 2011 - link

    So what if Opera was the number 1 downloaded app?

    Most people still use the stock browser.
  • frijo84 - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    I'm liking this community and comments posted, I don't know if its because you delete the endless fanboy babble (on both sides), but alot of this is a good civil discussion, without meme's or namecalling, good info all around!

    I'm a long time reader, I think since the AMD Athlon Thunderbird days if I remember right. Great article, and I look forward to the full teardown and review this upcoming week, I'm in a tough spot deciding on whether or not to upgade or hold on for a prime. I'm in a Sprint WiMax area (Overland Park actually, right by Sprint HQ!), but with the announcement of going to LTE (and 2 years till that), my Evo isn't cutting it anymore, need more RAM and actual hard drive space, without relying on SD cards. 32GB iPhone looks like a good choice for my mobile multimedia use so far, but the Evo has been pretty good to me, so I'll give the Prime a chance to shine too! Either way, with all these smart phone wars going on, the only ones that really win are the consumers, alot of good choices.
  • DerekMorr - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    ARM has submitted several patched to V8 to improve performance -

    That blog post was from April 2011. It claims "It takes a few months of work for Google to integrate and test the latest V8 engine with new devices, so you will not be able to see these performance improvements appearing in products until the second half of 2011." So I suspect that these improvements are not part of Honeycomb, but will be in ICS. It will be interesting to see ICS's Javascript performance.

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