Apple iPhone 5s performance review: CPU and GPU speed compared to top Android phones (benchmarks)
The iPhone has traditionally been the go to device for games as Apple steps up the graphics every time, and this year is no exception. Starting last year, however, Apple is also designing the CPU processor cores on its own and does not simply rely on ARM designs. Cupertino did a great job with the Apple A6 system chip in the iPhone 5 where it integrated its own Swift processor core. Now, in Apple A7, we have a brand new processor core called Cyclone that is among the best out there. Let's take a look at it all in detail.
1.1. Unmatched browsing speeds: Sunspider
1.2. The independent test: Mozilla Kraken
2. GPU explained
2.1. Top of the line: GFXBench - Fill test
2.2. Over 30 fps: GFXBench - T-Rex HD onscreen
2.3. Against Nexus 5: GFXBench - T-Rex HD offscreen
It is also the first ever to use an ARMv8 64-bit design and that’s an important step forward. You’ve heard about that before, but let’s explain why this is important. The transition to 64-bit processors first started on desktops around 2005 with a clear goal to allow for more RAM. 32-bit systems are limited to supporting only around 3GB of RAM, and 64-bit systems allow for 4GB and more. However in Apple’s case that’s hardly the reason. The iPhone 5 used 1GB of LPDDR2 RAM and the iPhone 5S remains at 1GB but LPDDR3 RAM. It will be no less than 2 years until Apple needs 4GB of RAM. There thus must be another reason for Apple to move to 64-bit than RAM and there indeed is. Adopting the ARMv8 64-bit design comes with backwards 32-bit compatibility, but Apple’s software tools already allow for apps to be 64-bit aware. In a few years when Apple completes the 64-bit transition, this means it will already have a huge number of compatible apps. Other tangible improvements from the move to ARMv8 and 64-bit are the bigger number of general purpose registers, FP/NEON registers, and new SIMD instructions. iOS 7 itself and all included apps have already made the move to 64-bit.
The 1.3GHz clock speed might look low in comparison to top shelf Android devices, but keeping it relatively low allows for optimal power efficiency. The Cyclone core itself seems to be an evolution of the Swift core. In it, Apple has doubled L1 cache from 32KB/32KB (two separate caches for instruction and data) to 64KB/64KB. Level 1 cache is a static and very fast memory where often accessed data is stored, and it’s key to improving the overall and multitasking performance of a chip. L2 cache remains 1MB, but comes with faster access latency.
Now, on to the tests.
Looking at the pure GFlops measurements, we see that Apple’s iPhone 5s is easily the most powerful platform currently available. The graphical performance of the iPhone 5s actually matched the iPad 4 at 76.8GFlops, and starts to approach console grade level. In comparison, gaming platforms like the Sony Playstation 3 score around 230GFlops. The currently available top shelf Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One score around 50GFlops.
On to the benchmarks, we start with Basemark X 1.0. This test runs game simulations running on-screen and at 1080p off-screen. The test is very complex and that explains the low results, yet the iPhone 5s approached very closely the coveted 30fps.
Basemark X on-screen
GFXBench, formerly known as GL Benchmark, is one of the most GPU-intensive tests out there and it gives a detailed breakdown of a video card’s performance. Fill rates are the first thing we measure and you’d see that Apple managed to double the performance in the 5s compared to the iPhone 5. The 5s emerges as a clear leader, beating all existing devices.
GFXBench T-Rex HD off-screen
The Apple iPhone 5s brings is one of the biggest under-the-hood upgrades to ever happen to the iPhone line. Apple’s A7 chip comes with a new Cyclone core that is very well optimized in terms of power consumption and still manages to deliver great performance. It’s a dual-core unit, but we don’t yet seem to have enough optimized software to consider this a downside compared to other quad-core chips. Moreover, the A7 is the first 64-bit chip and that brings tangible advantages and opens up the opportunity for developers to build 64-bit aware apps much faster. Another plus for the great Apple ecosystem.
Overall, the A7 is an impressive chip. The average user will notice its incredible speed in loading webpages and how it resolves amazing detail in games. It’s future-proof. Now, if only Apple could listen and bring us all this in a similarly well designed package with a bit larger display...
Lower is better
Apple iPhone 5s 415.7
Apple iPhone 5 712.7
Google Nexus 5 723.9
Sony Xperia Z1 746.2
LG G2 932.8
HTC One 977.9
Samsung Galaxy S4 1082.9
Basemark X on-screen
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 5s 27.685
Apple iPhone 5 17.961
Google Nexus 5 17.342
Sony Xperia Z1 17.007
LG G2 14.662
HTC One 8.236
Samsung Galaxy S4 9.148
GFXBench Fill Rate off-screen
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 5s 3317.1
Apple iPhone 5 1779.7
Google Nexus 5 1361
Sony Xperia Z1 1372.3
LG G2 1240.9
HTC One 883.7
Samsung Galaxy S4 820.4
GFXBench T-Rex HD off-screen
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 5s 23
Apple iPhone 5 6.8
Google Nexus 5 21
Sony Xperia Z1 21
LG G2 20
HTC One 15
Samsung Galaxy S4 16
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 5s 35
Apple iPhone 5 13
Google Nexus 5 23
Sony Xperia Z1 23
LG G2 21
HTC One 14
Samsung Galaxy S4 16
Lower is better
Apple iPhone 5s 5931.8
Apple iPhone 5 13888
Google Nexus 5 8871.7
Sony Xperia Z1 7636
LG G2 7812
HTC One 14598
Samsung Galaxy S4 12227
1. Lifengineer (Posts: 41; Member since: 15 Dec 2011)
The first 2 benchmarks are probably "Lower is better" and not "higher is better"!
7. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5464; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)
Victor, PhoneArena should do something with picture preview, because at the moment it is very uncomfortable.
30. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5464; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)
Victor, what Google Nexus 5 does in benchmarks? :)
61. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5464; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)
Hey guys, I have an interesting conspiracy theory about PhoneArena.com! :D
I think that PhoneArena.com knows more about the Nexus 5 than it tells to us! And here is few reasons why I think so:
1) I have noticed that before LG G2 announcement and after LG G2 announcement, PhoneArena.com were publishing a lot of articles with such label "This story is sponsored by LG.". That's mean that PhoneArena.com in a certain sense were collaborating with LG.
2) I have noticed that PhoneArena.com put 360-degrees photos into LG G2 profile VERY FAST after LG G2 was announced. Meanwhile on the internet there was not a single "Hands-On" video. All this leads to think that PhoneArena.com had LG G2 even before official announcement. And after I have wrote about all that in one of mine comment, it was silently hidden. :) ( Comment #6: http://www.phonearena.com/news
3) And now we can see that PhoneArena.com is teasing Nexus 5 benchmark results.
All this is only my speculations and opinion, each can draw its own conclusions. Also by posting all this I didn't have anything bad in my mind about PhoneArena.com, just sharing my discoveries. :P
149. sckortyman (Posts: 23; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
Im pretty sure most phone sites get the early information on devices (in some cercumstances).
33. blahb (Posts: 47; Member since: 16 May 2012)
In these benchmark comparisons where lower results are better in some tests and higher results are better in other tests, it would be helpful if the benchmark tool could indicate >>> for higher is better and >> for lower is better.
35. Victor.H (Posts: 406; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Thanks for the suggestion, we'll consider this option.
125. juandante (Posts: 237; Member since: 23 Apr 2013)
131. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5464; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)
"Victor, I have to complain about the picture preview again. I would like an option to easily open the original picture in the browser."
66. Synack (Posts: 659; Member since: 05 Jul 2011)
I would hope the benchmarks are better. All of the best Android phones released 6 months ago. A good comparison might be the Galaxy Note. Maybe.
70. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5464; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)
"All of the best Android phones released 6 months ago."
Sony Xperia Z1 and LG G2 wasn't released 6 months ago.
143. joey_sfb (Posts: 2574; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)
This sort of numbers from a dual cores, its really amazing optimization on Apple's end.
Let hope the next wave of Android phones are just as good or better.
3. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7409; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Obviously Apple did an incredible job of the A7 chip. Benchmarks says it all.
14. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7409; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Funny how before the iPhone 5, iPad 4 and iPhone 5S benchmarks meant the world, and now they don't mean anything..
20. darkkjedii (Posts: 10127; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
Lol he was on here the other day bragging about specs/benchmarks, now they mean nothing Smurf. Look man, all these phones are power houses. The 5S is simply a power house in a smaller package, and some will love that, some will hate that. I love it, great device. I've been comparing it head up with my note 2, I'd honestly say like 80% of the time the 5S is faster on the web. That should be expected with the new hardware. Gulenkov is hating bro.
122. saffant (Posts: 210; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)
What good is a 80% faster browser on a nearly 40% smaller display?
Browsing on a tiny 4" screen is a joke in 2013. But hey, i guess apps are everything for certain people.
44. Shatter (Posts: 1970; Member since: 29 May 2013)
It wins in graphics test because its resolution is horrid.
1136x640 vs 1920x1080.
1920-1136 = 784
1080-640 = 440
its pushing over 1200 more pixels, iPhone is pushing a total of 1776 pixel, a phone like the Z1 is pushing 3000 pixels, which is quite a bit more.
Theres not really any resolution benchmarks for phones so heres what the impact of more pixels does to your FPS. Since Apple doesn't even use 720p it would be an even bigger difference on the actual phones compared.
As you can see it is a pretty substantial difference, in some instances it can be as much as a 50% FPS hit and if adreno 330 was on a 720p device it would smoke the 5S in graphics.
45. Ninetysix (Posts: 1377; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)
Good job Qualcomm on an amazing chip. You suck Apple! Shatter will not give you credit for an
edit: You should look at the offscreen tests where the phone's resolution does not matter. L2 G2 is using the Adreno 330 and you'll see more offscreen benchmarks @anandtech.
54. Spikes9s (Posts: 28; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)
Your calculations are wrong dude, iPhone 5S got 727040 pixels to push (1136x640) while the Full HD screens have more than 2 milion pixels to deal with (2073600 for 1920x1080), anyway good job from Apple with the upgrade refresh in his hardware and thanx Samsung for manufacturing the chip for them! Still waiting for a true cross platform compatible Benchmark that can really give us real comparison results for the all available portable OS's (iOS, Android, WP, Ubuntu, BB etc)
62. livyatan (Posts: 657; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)
Gosh, what on earth was that??
This is the math you are looking for..
1920x1080 = 2 073 600
1136x640 = 727 040
2 073 60 ÷ 727 040 = 2.852
This means that android top gun phones push around 3 TIMES more pixels in the ON SCREEN tests.
That's why OFF SCREEN tests are for, dummy
135. ROG2000 (Posts: 1; Member since: 24 Sep 2013)
Exactly. And iOS 7 is a minimal architecture, while Android 4.3 has over 5x the features.
68. g2a5b0e (Posts: 2105; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
Shatter, I'm a big Android supporter myself, but you just proved how little you know about tech with that post. To figure out the number of pixels a screen has, you multiply the numbers, not add them. This actually lends to your point about the Android devices pushing more pixels, but some of those were off screen tests. That renders your point moot. Give credit where its due.
97. livyatan (Posts: 657; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)
His post was the craziest thing I've read in a long time.
109. g2a5b0e (Posts: 2105; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
I agree. Made himself look real dumb with that one.
81. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7409; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Sorry I couldn't reply on time due to me going to my History course in college. Actually, no, I'm not sorry. You just proved how little you know about technology. Here have fun learning a thing or two.
84. bigstrudel (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)
Offscreen tests are offscreen for a reason?
98. shahrooz (Posts: 109; Member since: 17 Sep 2013)
1080p phones dont have 3000 pixels it is 1920x1080 pixles. so iphone has 344960 less pixles than FHD android flagships
162. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7409; Member since: 14 May 2012)
You couldn't be more wrong... FHD flagships push about 1.3 million more pixels, or about 3x more pixels more than the iPhone does on on-screen tests.
121. phonemonkey (Posts: 162; Member since: 13 Feb 2012)
Yeah, the iphone resolution is HORRID.
Pixels with sharp edges everywhere
Can barely stand to look at it
123. saffant (Posts: 210; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)
Are you stupid? Read the "Off-screen" benchies. That's exactly what they're for.
126. juandante (Posts: 237; Member since: 23 Apr 2013)
Anyway, offscreen test are silly, who plays a game "offscreen" in the bus ? The iPhone, as a device, will have the fastest games, but the low resolution of the screen will not let me buy it at this price.
168. saffant (Posts: 210; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)
If it had the same res at a bigger screen size then yes, it'd be a valid concern. However, as it so happens, it still has a great PPI level. Now when the iPhone 6 comes i guarantee the res will improve as well with the display size.
176. WindowsiDroid (Posts: 106; Member since: 22 Jul 2013)
>.< I'm thinking of that too. Because of lower resolution it became more powerful what if ip5s have 1080p would it have that score ? of course it will not.
130. samsungIScopycat (banned) (Posts: 27; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)
because they still think or they want to believe copy company is better than apple...
those people only care about SCREEN SIZE...nothing else...
24. darkkjedii (Posts: 10127; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
You sound like a kid who's mom takes his favorite toy, and he lies and says "I don't want it anyway". The tears tell the truth though...my mom would say fix your face boy.
128. Deaconclgi (Posts: 210; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)
My mom would say the same thing and that is the same thing I tell my daughters. "Fix your face!" needs to be handed down from generation to generation. Too many whiners, pouters, pity parties in the real world these days.
Looks at daughter: "You better fix your face before we leave the house!"
For those that don't know, we are not talking about washing our face or girls putting on make up.
140. JunitoNH (Posts: 842; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)
well before the fandroids were saying benchmarks are everything, can you guys make up your minds.
161. N5110 (Posts: 13; Member since: 26 Apr 2013)
Numbers don't LIE. Sad but true especially for the Fandroids from SS.
169. MobileKicker (Posts: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
Ur and-roid has never changed
Continuing the same 4 version since 2008 and reached at just 4.3 lol
43. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 640; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)
Funny how amazing new iPhone did it, even at 1.3GHz
49. jdoee100 (Posts: 298; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)
I don't know, these benchmark numbers seem fishy to me like the 9 mil sold number. I wouldn't be surprised if apple used some sort of software trick to make it seem faster than it really is. If these numbers are indeed true, well they are very impressive(too impressive to be true in my opinion).
119. Pedro0x (Posts: 271; Member since: 19 Oct 2012)
It is because Apple uses new architecture, the 64-bit architecture is not just to be able to adress more than 3,5 GB RAM, however phonearena has no knowledge about CPU, either do I, but guys at anandtech do and there you will find out that a 64-bit CPU can do much more stuff than just adress more memory.
Also this new architecture uses the new armv8, and that is a huge step forward as you can see. ARMv8 architecture does not only add AArch64 but also adresses AArch32 (which is what everyone else except Apple is using right now) so it will have better performance in 32-bit programs as well. So if apps on IOS can make a good use of this new ''cyclone'', well just imagine what they can do with it. Apple is right now ahead of everyone else.
150. jdoee100 (Posts: 298; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)
Many people have already pointed out that 64 architecture does not improve speed of a device significantly. Moreover, like 5s, Z1 has the latest ARM chip as well(snapdragon 800). It's hard to imagine 5s being so much faster than Z1 without so sort of trick being used for these benchmark tests. I could be wrong but when something looks too good to be true it rarely is.
65. Knightmare64 (Posts: 29; Member since: 11 Sep 2013)
Did you mean SAMSUNG!! did an incredible job with the A7 chip?
90. techspace (Posts: 530; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
Apple made the a7 chip....Sansung only manufactures it....apple has really done a great job, only two cores clocked at such low speed but the a7 still manages to top the results.
127. juandante (Posts: 237; Member since: 23 Apr 2013)
It is a real slap in the face for every Android device which where boasting 2.3Ghz in their phone and quad core CPUs.
But, Apple is 1M km late because I hardly see myself with a 640p (not even 720p) brand new high end phone in 2013.
138. tuminatr (Posts: 656; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)
you hit the nail on the head the iphone is not even HD display it should beat the phones that have near triple the resulution in a graphics test. its a no brainer
154. techspace (Posts: 530; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
the a7 has performed equally well on the benchmark tests(including the graphics tests) that have nothing to do with the screen resolution...
156. tuminatr (Posts: 656; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)
yes but all things are driven to the display. I know this if I lower the resolution on my computer all of its speed test get faster. I will consult with my uber geek friends for a better explanation.
157. techspace (Posts: 530; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
the a7 has performed really well in the off screen benchmark tests which don't involve the resolution of the device...
...you are talking about the on screen benchmark tests that involve the resolution of the screen...
the a7 has done really well on screen and off screen...
141. JunitoNH (Posts: 842; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)
If Samsung designed the chip, it would had been in the S4