The inclusion of the A13 Bionic processor in the
- Geekbench 5 score for iPhone SE
- AnTuTu 8.2 score for iPhone 11 Pro Max
- AnTuTu 8.2 score for iPhone SE
The story is repeated with AnTuTu: 505,552 for the iPhone 11 Pro Max, but only 375,748 for the iPhone SE — a drop of 25%. Looking at the “CPU Multi-Core” breakdown, AnTuTu scores the iPhone 11 Pro Max at 84,782 whereas the iPhone SE gets just 58,349 — a 30% dip.
The iPhone SE completes Speed Test G in one minute 15 seconds compared to one minute and 14.5 seconds for its bigger sibling. But as the Geekbench and AnTuTu scores show the A13 in the iPhone SE doesn’t perform the same as the A13 in the iPhone 11 series. Speed Test G actually shows the same thing. The GPU section of the test is a complex “fly over” written in Unity. The iPhone 11 Pro Max is faster by half a second.
The iPhone SE should actually beat the iPhone 11 Pro Max… but it doesn’t.
Doesn’t sound like much, does it? But the iPhone 11 Pro Max has a screen resolution of 2,688 x 1,242, whereas the iPhone SE (and its small 4.7 inch display) has a screen resolution of just 1,334 x 750. That means the iPhone 11 Pro Max is pushing around 233% more pixels than the iPhone SE (1,000,500 pixels vs 3,338,496 pixels). The iPhone SE should have beaten the iPhone 11 Pro Max significantly, but it didn’t.
iPhone SE vs Android: It’s all about heat
Why does the iPhone SE have a better single-threaded performance than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, but a lower multi-threaded score? Why does the iPhone SE complete the Unity test in Speed Test G slightly slower than the iPhone 11 Pro Max, but yet has a significantly lower screen resolution? As I said, the iPhone SE is full of contradictions.
There are several possible answers. The A13 processor in the iPhone SE could be under-clocked compared to the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Maybe a different CPU clock frequency, or a different GPU clock frequency, or even a different RAM frequency. There could be less L1, L2 or SLC on the A13 in the iPhone SE. It is hard to know and Apple sure won’t tell.
Remember, these are passively cooled devices, no fans.
However, personally I think it is about cooling. The iPhone SE is a much smaller device. Smaller means there is less surface area to dissipate heat. When the processor gets warm then iOS is forced to lower the clock speeds until the temperate drops. Remember, these are passively cooled devices, no fans. From using the iPhone SE and the iPhone 11 Pro Max side by side for the last few days, it is clear that the iPhone SE is running warmer to the touch. Also my initial testing of the performance of the SE when running hot shows a significant performance drop. When my testing is complete I will make a video on the Speed Test G channel.
So, while the iPhone SE can sprint out of the gate faster than the Galaxy S20 Ultra, it seems that after the first few meters it slows down, particularly when all the cores of the CPU are being used simultaneously. In the end, it manages to get over the finish line ahead of the S20 Ultra, but that seems to depend on where you draw that line.
Want to read more about Android’s biggest rival? Check out our Apple content below:
- 8 things iOS does better than Android
- Apple iPhone buying guide: Which iPhone is right for you?
- We asked, you told us: An iPhone SE-style Android phone deeply divides AA readers
- The iPhone SE is a real threat to Android in India
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Author: Gary Sims