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iPhone 5s slaughters quad-core rivals in performance tests despite dual-core CPU and just 1GB of RAM

Published Sep 19th, 2013 9:55AM EDT
iPhone 5s Benchmarks

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Falling into the speeds and feeds trap when discussing mobile devices can be tricky, especially when the specs that smartphone vendors share most frequently only paint a small piece of the picture. It’s easy to look at things like CPU cores and clockspeeds and make assumptions, but dozens of factors contribute to a smartphone’s performance. Case in point: when the 1.3GHz dual-core A7 processor powering the new iPhone 5s is lined up on paper against quad- and eight-core CPUs clocked at more than 2GHz being used by Apple’s rivals, one might assume that the beastly chipsets powering various Android phones would have the upper hand. As it turns out, however, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.

When Apple announced last week that its new iPhone 5s is powered by a new 64-bit A7 processor, people scoffed and said that without 4GB of RAM, the upgrade would barely make a difference. When we found out Apple’s new chipset still only has two CPU cores, many immediately pointed to the quad-core Snapdragon 800 and Samsung’s eight-core Exynos 5 Octa as the obvious market leaders. And when we found out earlier this week that the iPhone 5s’s processor is clocked at just 1.3GHz, some smartphone enthusiasts wondered aloud when Apple would finally catch up.

Catch up?

As always, master of all things mobile Anand Lal Shimpi gave the iPhone 5s what is unquestionably the most thorough review from a technical standpoint that we have seen to date. In doing so, he ran a number of tests on the new iPhone in order to see how the phone stacks up against leading rival devices from Samsung, LG, HTC and Motorola. If you think core counts, RAM and clockspeeds tell the whole story, you’re in for a surprise.

Anandtech found that the iPhone 5s bested leading rival smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and LG G2 in each and every CPU performance test performed, often by a fairly wide margin. In some tests such as the Sunspider Javascript Benchmark and the Google Octane, the iPhone 5s’s margin of victory over most rivals was staggering.

The iPhone 5s outshined rivals in most GPU performance tests as well, and while I won’t spoil Shimpi’s conclusions, he came away very impressed. Those interested in analyzing the iPhone 5s from a technical standpoint should absolutely read Anandtech’s full review.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.