Conclusion & End Remarks

Today’s investigation into the new A15 is just scratching the tip of the iceberg of what Apple has to offer in the new generation iPhone 13 series devices. As we’re still working on the full device review, we got a good glimpse of what the new silicon is able to achieve, and what to expect from the new devices in terms of performance.

On the CPU side of things, Apple’s initial vague presentation of the new A15 improvements could either have resulted in disappointment, or simply a more hidden shift towards power efficiency rather than pure performance. In our extensive testing, we’re elated to see that it was actually mostly an efficiency focus this year, with the new performance cores showcasing adequate performance improvements, while at the same time reducing power consumption, as well as significantly improving energy efficiency.

The efficiency cores of the A15 have also seen massive gains, this time around with Apple mostly investing them back into performance, with the new cores showcasing +23-28% absolute performance improvements, something that isn’t easily identified by popular benchmarking. This large performance increase further helps the SoC improve energy efficiency, and our initial battery life figures of the new 13 series showcase that the chip has a very large part into the vastly longer longevity of the new devices.

In the GPU side, Apple’s peak performance improvements are off the charts, with a combination of a new larger GPU, new architecture, and the larger system cache that helps both performance as well as efficiency.

Apple’s iPhone component design seems to be limiting the SoC from achieving even better results, especially the newer Pro models, however even with that being said and done, Apple remains far above the competition in terms of performance and efficiency.

Overall, while the A15 isn’t the brute force iteration we’ve become used to from Apple in recent years, it very much comes with substantial generational gains that allow it to be a notably better SoC than the A14. In the end, it seems like Apple’s SoC team has executed well after all.

GPU Performance - Great GPU, So-So Thermals Designs
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  • haukionkannel - Monday, October 4, 2021 - link

    Well A14 was already very fast so making A15 more efficient was right call! IMHO
    I need longer battery life and if these changes give that. The better!
    Reply
  • herozeros - Monday, October 4, 2021 - link

    Granted I’m coming from an Xs, but battery on my 13 pro is nothing short of incredible. Reply
  • 13xforever - Monday, October 4, 2021 - link

    Same, upgraded from Xs to 13 Pro and now I charge once every two days on average, and Xs had amazing battery life compared to 6s before it as well, so let's hope the trend continues. Reply
  • Kangal - Monday, October 4, 2021 - link

    I think ProMotion takes its toll, but the new (LTPO) display should be more efficient. And the previous 5G antenna has probably been improved for better reception and less power drain. Combine these with the efficiency gains from the CPU/GPU and it adds up. Then there's the noticeable increase in battery capacity.

    All in all, I'm expecting the iPhone 13 models to have slightly less battery life than their iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 devices... but do it all while being faster and using the display in 120Hz Mode. And when it comes to certain Apps, I think it will scale down to 60Hz or 30Hz or even 1Hz, and save plenty of power... which should see the iPhone 13 embarrass its siblings. These were my predictions during the announcement, before this article.

    But Andrei says he's got all the data, so we will see if my predictions/deductions were even remotely close in the coming week in the next article.
    Reply
  • Trackster11230 - Monday, October 4, 2021 - link

    I'm expecting the battery life to be better than both. The LTPO and reduction in screen Hz should enable better battery savings (I'm assuming more time is spent at 10 Hz [the lowest; it can't do 1 Hz], than at 120 Hz).

    Either way, it's been a significant jump in battery life from my X.
    Reply
  • markiz - Monday, October 11, 2021 - link

    Incredible compared to XS, or in general?
    Why do iPhones have such poor battery when put through a standardized workload, like e.g. gsmarena?
    Reply
  • Wrs - Thursday, October 14, 2021 - link

    As GSMarena wrote in the iPhone 13 review, it's primarily because of low call/standby efficiency. That's understandable because the cellular chip is discrete; most the comparison phones have it integrated and some stick to LTE only. Inasmuch as 89h for the normal 13 is over 3 days and nothing to complain of, their modeling for 1 hour each of calls, web surfing, and video each day is also a tad unrealistic for many. With more active use on wifi the battery life becomes way more competitive Reply
  • michael2k - Friday, October 15, 2021 - link

    Anandtech's standardized workload disagrees with you:
    iPhone 13 Pro from 2021: 16.62
    iPhone 11 Pro from 2019: 13.33 hours
    Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 2020: 12.96 hours
    iPhone 12 Pro from 2021: 12.95 hours
    iPhone XR from 2018: 12.95 hours
    Galaxy S21 from 2021: 12.86 hours
    iPhone 12 from 2020: 12.53 hours
    Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra 2021: 11.70
    Xiaomi Mi 11 2020: 11.63 hours

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/17004/apples-iphone...
    Reply
  • deil - Monday, October 4, 2021 - link

    I am still not happy about their battery life, as andro phones get 150% more even on cheap devices.
    when they give you 3500 mah, and ando can get up to 18000 mah, something needs to be said.

    Interesting result from S21U, 2.9W for 75 frames, seems like very good result, is it locked by something ? that chip can go just as high as a15 can, wattage-wise, what's happened there ?
    Reply
  • Stuka87 - Monday, October 4, 2021 - link

    Deil, not sure where you saw a phone with an 18,000mAh battery, it would have to be the size of a tablet to get anywhere close to that big. Even the Galaxy Note, which is pretty large, has a 4000 mAh battery. iPhones consistently score well in battery life tests, even against Androids with much larger batteries. Reply

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