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

  • Caliko - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    Never will I settle for less. Especially a knockoff. Reply
  • kael13 - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    6P apparently breaks very easily. (As in, super easily bent - far easier than original iPhone 6 plus.) Reply
  • Caliko - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    The s6 bends a lot easier and shatters at the same time.

    But you won't see a media circus over non Apple devices.
  • halcyon - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    Nexus 6P is a slow dog with overheating Snapdragon 810, compared to Apple's A9.

    Worse even than Exynos 7420 on Galaxy Note5.

    It's a mid-high end or high mind-end phone.
  • AEdouard - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    Oops, sorry forgot about size. Reply
  • Shadow7037932 - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    Hold on to that small Moto X. Because no one is going to go back to making small phones. Reply
  • hans_ober - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    First world problems.... only if they would release a slightly updated version of that beauty. Reply
  • michael2k - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    It's too bad you don't understand why you're wrong since you refuse to read the article. They clearly measure CPU performance, battery life, display performance, white point and black point, read and write performance, graphics performance, NAND performance, use cases for 3D touch and faster encrytpion, etc, and where they are weak. The "best" title isn't empty here. Reply
  • Caliko - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - link

    "I don't wanna hear it Lalalalalala!" Reply
  • AEdouard - Monday, November 2, 2015 - link

    And yeah, he went to work for Apple. How strange, the behemoth of technology attracts talent from the tech world. Insane I tell you! Reply

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