System Performance

Performance-wise, the inclusion of the new A13 chip should essentially blow the iPhone 8 out of the water given it’s two generations newer than the A11. For more details about the A13, please read our in-depth coverage of the chip in our review of the iPhone 11 series.

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView JetStream 2 - OS Webview

In the steady-state Javascript web benchmarks, the iPhone SE unsurprisingly matches the newer iPhone 11. In JetStream, the phone even gets a boost here, which might be due to the newer iOS version. I haven’t had the chance to re-test the older iPhones, but I’m certain the scores will level out across the A13 generation devices.

WebXPRT 3 - OS WebView

On WebXPRT 3, the iPhone SE did score quite a bit worse than the iPhone 11 phones. This test is more interactive in its workloads and more impacted by DVFS responsiveness, rather than just being a continuous stead-state load. It’s very much possible that Apple has tuned down the DVFS of the chip in order to remain at the more power efficient frequency states for more workloads. I haven’t had the time to update Xcode to run our workload ramp test yet – but it’s something that can be easily verified in a follow-up update on the topic.

Update April 29th: 

I was also able to verify the CPU frequencies of the A13 in the iPhone SE, and the phone tracks identical peak frequencies as on the iPhone 11. This means that we're seeing 2.66GHz peak clocks on the Lightning cores when a single core is on, and up to around 2.59GHz when both cores are enabled. The Thunder cores clock in at up to 1.73GHz as well, just as on the iPhone 11’s.

The DVFS of the two phones is also identical – with the same ramp-up times between the SE and the iPhone 11. In general, any performance differences between the new SE and the flagship phones should simply be due to thermal characteristics of the smaller phone, possibly throttling things faster when under more strenuous workloads.

Overall Performance

Whilst I haven’t had too much time on the SE, the first impressions of the device are very much that this is just an as good experience as the iPhone 11 series. Much like on the iPhone 11 series, I actually feel that the raw performance of the hardware is actually hampered by the software, for example animations could be much shorter or even disabled in order to improve the user’s experience of speed and responsiveness. In either case, the iPhone SE’s performance is fantastic, and that’s due to the A13 chipset’s raw power.

Introduction & Design GPU Performance
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  • JCheng - Saturday, April 25, 2020 - link

    I just tried it and the two options I get are Settings and Cancel, and Cancel does not enable it. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, April 26, 2020 - link

    You just tried the random pop-up? How does one go about summoning it?

    Apple must have changed the behavior if that's the case.
    Reply
  • cha0z_ - Wednesday, July 29, 2020 - link

    Learn how to use and configure your phone before you go on some articles comment section to type bs. ;) Reply
  • sprockkets - Sunday, April 26, 2020 - link

    Wow, totally deep there. Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Sunday, April 26, 2020 - link

    Not true - the whole reason for the iPhone is the undying slobbering subservience of the iSheep. Reply
  • star-affinity - Tuesday, April 28, 2020 - link

    I thought it was the many superior audio apps available, such as the stuff from Moog and Reason Studios. At least that makes it for me. :)

    The Moog Model 15 app is just wow in my opinion:

    https://www.moogmusic.com/products/model-15-modula...
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, April 27, 2020 - link

    I think the world-class hardware design and unmatched network of stores providing on-site support are pretty big reasons too, tbh... especially given that Android is comparable or better in many UX regards these days. Reply
  • melgross - Monday, April 27, 2020 - link

    Jeeze, every so often I read something like this. People don’t buy iPhones to put Android on them, though some have tried to put iOS on a crappy Android phone. I don’t know which idea is worse.

    We know Apple doesn’t cheat on these tests. It’s just manufacturers with slower chips that feel they need to do that.
    Reply
  • sonny73n - Saturday, April 25, 2020 - link

    What to be impressed about? It’s just a freaking phone with outdated design combined with a spy OS. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, April 25, 2020 - link

    You get the spyware feature no matter what device you choose.

    Both in hardware and in software.
    Reply

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