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


View All Comments

  • michael2k - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    What's wrong is that you won't read the article. Reply
  • vFunct - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    There really isn't a better cameraphone than the iPhone.

    I haven't read any review that said any camera was better than the iPhone.
  • artificialintel - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    I certainly have read such reviews. There's quite a number of camera phones that are significantly better at taking pictures than an iPhone could possibly be, because they attach the phone to basically a full consumer-level quick shot camera with vastly larger apertures, optical zoom, etc. The iPhone has a very good camera, arguably the best of its kind, but I've definitely read reviews that said other cameras were better. Reply
  • V900 - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    Oh yeah, how can we forget about all the phones with optical zoom out there! Like the ehm... Ehm. Could you name one? Samsung made one a few years ago think!

    The whole concept of camera-phones doesn't really make sense anyways.

    The best smartphone cameras, like the iPhone and a few competitors, can come close to the kind of pictures you get with a dedicated point and shoot camera, but cellphones will never take pictures as good as a dedicated camera. (Not unless they more or less jam a phone into a camera!) Any photographer will tell you that.

    It's not something that can be solved with bigger or better sensors, it's a matter of physics. Cameras suck up photons in the form of light, the more the better the picture. And the tiny lens in a smartphone will never be able to compete with a dedicated camera, with lenses many times bigger.
  • Shadow7037932 - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    Oh, are you talking about the DxOMark rating? No one knows exactly how they derive those ratings. Reply
  • halcyon - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    DXOMark's weighting algorithm is much more public than any of this subjective hand-waving that passes for "testing" even here at Anandtech:

    Sorry, but for camera tests. Anandtech is NOT the place. Not even smartphone camera tests.
  • vFunct - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    Which is why you should never trust DXOMark, because quality is supposed to be subjective.

    A good critic is better than an algorithm.
  • vFunct - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    You never judge a photo by how many numbers it adds up to. You shouldn't just a camera that way either.

    People that think camera quality is an objective experience don't know anything about photography and cameras.
  • dangerzone - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    "Professionals have reviewed the camera really poorly"

    Hardly. It's no longer the top smartphone camera, that's a true and fair statement because the top Android phones have come out swinging with cameras this year. But pretty much every review still calls it great.
  • daveedvdv - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    Also, in a "blind evaluation test" on an Android news site the iPhone 6S was preferred against a crop of modern Android cameras. (

    That's just one survey, but its bias was certainly no pro-iPhone.

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