For people interested in learning a device’s actual performance apart from the baseline specs sheet, AnandTech has long been the gold standard of benchmarking websites. Because of this, we were eagerly anticipating the site’s take on “Batterygate,” the controversy that popped up this week when it was revealed that iPhone 6s models with TSMC-manufactured A9 chips deliver slightly stronger battery life than iPhone 6s models with Samsung-manufactured A9 chips. On Friday morning, the website delivered an early verdict, although it’s not as conclusive as we’d hoped.
Basically, AnandTech just doesn’t think there’s enough reliable information either way to say whether there’s a difference between battery power on the TSMC A9-equipped iPhone 6s and the Samsung A9-equipped iPhone 6s. It notes the perils of trying to make inferences from aggregate Geekbench scores and says that right now it’s tough to find a reliable Apples-to-Apples (see what we did there?) comparison of the two phones.
“1-on-1 comparisons under controlled conditions can provide us with some insight in to how the TSMC and Samsung A9s compare, but due to the natural variation in chip quality, it’s possible to end up testing two atypical phones and never know it,” the site explains. “To that end I suspect that Apple’s statement [about there being just a 2% to 3% difference in the different A9 chips] is not all that far off.”
The site also explains why it’s understandable that Apple wants to stay on top of this story, however, even if the differences between A9s is small.
“Having a wide variation in battery life on phones — even if every phone meets the minimum specifications — is not a great thing for Apple,” the site concludes. “It can cause buyers to start hunting down phones with “golden” A9s, and make other buyers feel like they’ve been swindled by not receiving an A9 with as low the power consumption as someone else.”