System Performance

One of the more popular and pervasive beliefs in this industry is that specs increasingly don’t matter. In a lot of ways, this review isn’t really the right place to address whether or not this matters, but the short answer is that things like SoC performance matter quite a bit. Outside of the display, the SoC and RF subsystems are one of the biggest power consumers in a phone today and unlike the display or RF systems the CPU and GPU can cause short spikes of enormous power consumption. At this point, we’ve seen SoCs this year that consume anywhere between 6 to over 12 watts when faced with a full load situation. The important part here is that when an SoC uses that much power, it needs to be delivering enough performance to justify the power consumption. In order to test aspects of the phone like the SoC we use our standard suite of benchmarks, which are designed to test various real-world scenarios to get an idea of what peak performance looks like.

Kraken 1.1 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Google Octane v2  (Chrome/Safari/IE)

WebXPRT 2013 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

WebXPRT 2015 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

In the standard web browser benchmarks, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are clearly in the lead. The difference in some cases is significant, but given that the benchmarks that we’re running here are all enormous optimization targets it's still a reasonable comparison point. In the interest of trying to avoid optimization targets I decided to look at some new JavaScript benchmarks that aren’t regularly used right now. One interesting benchmark is Ember Performance, which is a JavaScript app framework that is used in a number of popular websites and applications. This isn’t as popular as AngularJS at the moment, but in the absence of a good mobile benchmark EmberJS should be a reasonably good proxy.

EmberJS (Chrome/Safari/IE)

In this benchmark, we can see that there’s a pretty enormous performance uplift that results when you compare the iPhone 6s' to anything else out there on the market. Weirdly enough, on average it looks like Samsung’s S-Browser ends up slower here than Chrome, but it’s likely that this is just because S-Browser is using an older build of Chromium which negates the advantages of platform-specific optimizations that Samsung is integrating into S-Browser.

Basemark OS II 2.0 - Overall

Basemark OS II 2.0 - System

Basemark OS II 2.0 - Memory

Basemark OS II 2.0 - Graphics

Basemark OS II 2.0 - Web

Looking at Basemark OS II, once again Apple is basically taking the lead across the board. The differences aren’t necessarily as enormous as they are in single-threaded browser benchmarks, but the iPhone 6s’ retain a significant overall performance lead over the next best mobile devices.

Overall, in benchmarks where CPU performance is a significant influence the iPhone 6s is pretty much at the very top of the stack. Of course, Apple has also had about 6-8 months of time since the launch of SoCs like the Snapdragon 810 and Exynos 7420 so this is at least partially to be expected. The real surprise and/or disappointment would be if future Exynos and Snapdragon SoCs continue to lag behind the A9 in CPU performance.

A9's GPU: Imagination PowerVR GT7600 System Performance Cont'd and NAND Performance
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  • IanHagen - Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - link

    Something fishy must be going on! Someone call Nick Farrel, quick! Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    "BTW, didn't Anand himself went to work for Apple last year? "

    Indeed he did. Which is why he no longer has any kind of stake in AnandTech, and is the very last person we'd ever talk to about Apple products.
    Reply
  • NEDM64 - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    Yes, he's now one of the 100,000 Apple employees. He is an Engineer (EECS, I think), so what's so surprising? Reply
  • Caliko - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    You're in such denial it's sad.

    That guy you speak of sold this site a year ago.

    Regardless it means nothing either way. There's good factual info here and the fact you don't own a single Apple product and refuse to only cements the idea of a jealous troll and fanboy.

    Still shaking my head at someone who has a business but won't use the right tools.
    Reply
  • daveedvdv - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    "BTW, didn't Anand himself went to work for Apple last year?"

    You keep making ad hominem remarks (the other one claiming the reviewers were paid): It doesn't help your case.
    Reply
  • AEdouard - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    And as always, thanks for the most in depth review on the web. Reply
  • zeeBomb - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    Amen! Reply
  • djsvetljo - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    I agree about the SoC. You guys are praising everything in this phone, you even make the negatives look good. Professionals have reviewed the camera really poorly and yet in your summary it feels you almost called it "the best" again. Reply
  • AEdouard - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    ''Professionals have reviewed the camera really poorly'' Well hi there well reasoned person. So what you're insinuating here is that the critical consensus from ''good'' reviewers rate the camera on the 6s as poor compared to what should be the relative best in a smartphone.

    You can't seriously believe this? If the camera in the 6s is not necessarily the best, it's excellent for a smartphone camera as said in pretty much every smartphone review of this phone.
    Reply
  • djsvetljo - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    Well, he was calling it the best phone, "excellent for a smartphone " that people use mostly to take pictures for instagram an FB ...hm...wait a second, what's wrong here Reply

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