The iPhone XS and XS Max have been out in stores for over a week now, and while most reviews focused mainly on the basic user experience, AnandTech on Friday published a “deep dive” review of Apple’s new flagship phones, which included an attempt to gauge the technical superiority of the company’s new A12 Bionic processor over last year’s A11 chip.
As noted by AnandTech‘s Andrei Frumusanu, the A12 Bionic system-on-chip is the first consumer processor of its kind to be manufactured using Apple supplier TSMC’s new seven-nanometer architecture. This, according to Frumusanu, means that Apple can use more transistors in one area, thus allowing the system-on-chip to perform more intense, complex tasks than its predecessor.
On paper, Apple’s A12 processor includes two 2.5GHz Vortex cores and four 1.59GHz Tempest cores, which the company claims perform about 15 percent better than the Monsoon cores found on the A11. Frumusanu pointed out that Apple might have been “a tad conservative” when marketing the iPhone XS and XS Max, as the A12’s “real” performance appears to be much better than advertised, making the chip’s CPU cores almost as fast as those that power certain top-of-the-line desktop computers.
“Apple’s marketing department was really underselling the improvements here by just quoting 15 percent – a lot of workloads will be seeing performance improvements I estimate to be around 40 percent, with even greater improvements in some corner-cases,” read a previous version of the AnandTech review, as quoted by 9to5Mac.
“Apple’s CPU have gotten so performant now, that we’re just margins off the best desktop CPUs; it will be interesting to see how the coming years evolve, and what this means for Apple’s non-mobile products.”
Talking about the A12’s GPU, AnandTech‘s Frumusanu explained that this part of the processor is mostly as good as Apple advertised. He added, however, that Apple might need to improve its throttling mechanism, as the current system makes the iPhone XS and XS Max appear “extremely power hungry” and tend to heat up during the first few minutes of a mobile gaming session.
Although AnandTech spent a lot of time discussing how the A12 appears to be so much better than the A11, the publication also looked at the iPhone XS and XS Max’s other features, including the dual 12-megapixel rear camera setup that now comes with improved light sensitivity. The two new flagships’ batteries were also discussed, as AnandTech observed that Apple, despite advertising the phones’ batteries as the biggest ever for the iPhone, is “still a tad behind” Android phone manufacturers when it comes to battery density on larger smartphones.