Benchmark tests: Apple's new A15 Bionic processor increases iPhone's power advantage

There is a significant difference between high-end Android phones and the new iPhones.
There is a significant difference between high-end Android phones and the new iPhones. Photo credit: Supplied

Apple's new iPhone 13 range goes on sale in Aotearoa this week with the majority of the updates incremental rather than a major overhaul of the device.

That saw some of the much-rumoured new functionality, like the always-on display and satellite calling, missing completely from the 'California Streaming' announcement.

While a 120Hz refresh rate was introduced, that is only on the Pro models, leaving rivals like Samsung, Oppo and Xiaomi with advantages in display quality over the standard iPhone 13 and Mini.

But one area in which Apple fans aren't disappointed is in the processing power, despite some suggestions the new A15 Bionic processor is merely a small update.

Benchmark tests have now been published that show the iPhone 13 range is powered by a chip that is considerably more faster than its rivals. 

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, author of the Power On newsletter, said the move from last year's A14 to the A15 wasn't as big as the change in camera technology on the new phones.

"According to some company watchers, it might have made more sense to call the new phones the 12S (the branding style Apple uses for smaller advances), but that would have been bad marketing," he wrote.

"The company is comparing its CPU and GPU speeds to the rest of the industry, not the iPhone 12's A14.

"That means Apple touted that its speeds were 50 percent faster than Android rivals, rather than focusing on the 10 to 20 percent gain compared with its own phone."

While a 10 to 20 percent gain over last year's model may not sound like a massive boost in performance, it's the difference between that and its competitors that is most significant.

TheNextWeb puts it succinctly: "Apple is roughly a generation or more ahead of its Android competition when it comes to raw power."

The site used Geekbench 5, the popular benchmarking software that allows cross-platform computing performance comparisons, to compare high-end Android devices with both the iPhone 12 and 13.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor is used in many flagship phones including the Samsung Galaxy S21 in Japan, the Xiaomi Mi 11 series as well as the OnePlus 9 Pro and Oppo Find X3 Pro. It tends to score around 1100 in single-core speeds and 3500 for multi-core performance, according to TheNextWeb.

Last year's iPhone 12 clocked up 1597 and 4140 in single-core speeds and multi-core performance respectively, so any jump in this year's chip is merely extending the power advantage.

How big is that extension? The A15 is clocking in at 1728 for single-core and 4695 for multi-core speeds, leaving its Android competitors further in the dust, according to MyNextWeb.

So if raw power is more important to you than the operating system or 120Hz refresh rates, the iPhone 13 range may well be your ideal phone.