iPhone 6 and 6 Plus vs. Samsung, HTC, and LG: Battle of the benchmarks!

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are here and that means just exactly what you think it means — we're running them through the benchmarks. Rather than simply present you with some drab numbers, however, especially for the new Apple A8 system-on-a-chip (SoC), I reached out to John Poole of Primate Labs, the makers of Geekbench, for his take. The results?

Geekbench 3 shows that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are 15% faster than the iPhone 5s. While this difference isn't as dramatic as the one between iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5 (the 5s is twice as fast as the 5), a large part of last year's difference came from the switch from the 32-bit ARMv7 architecture to the 64-bit ARMv8 architecture.When compared against other flagship handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S 5 or the Motorola Moto X (2014), the iPhone 6 has significantly better single-core performance and comparable multi-core performance.Single-core performance is arguably the most important performance metric for smartphones. Every application will benefit from improved single-core performance while only specialized applications will benefit from improved multi-core performance.

Poole also provided the following comparative analysis:

Of course, there's still fun to be had in numbers, so I loaded up Geekbench 3 (opens in new tab) to test the central processing unit (CPU), the Manhattan test on GFXbench 3 (opens in new tab) to test to the graphics processing unit (GPU), and SunSpider to test JavaScript performance. iPhone 5 on the left, then iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus on the right. (The iPhone 5 can't run Open GL ES 3.0 so I didn't include a GFXbench screenshot of that.)

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The iPhone 6 Plus has a slight edge over the iPhone 6, but not by much. Perhaps the biggest surprise is how well the iPhone 5s still holds up. Perhaps that's because Apple's second-generation 64-bit core is just that, 2nd generation, and it's focused on things beyond raw power, like power efficiency.

Now, these tests are by no means comprehensive nor definitive. There are numerous other tests that can be run, and how a devices performs and responds to you, in your hand, day in, day it, is by far the most important metric. Benchmarks are just what they say they are — a standard point of reference.

If you've upgraded to an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, let me know — how's your performance?

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Any clue why the 6+ puts out a slightly higher score than the 6 when they are running essentially the same thing? I know that difference in real world between those 2 scores will be pretty much non existent, but just curious.
  • This is a good question. I heard that the 6 Plus has a slightly higher CPU clock speed over the 6 but these tests show 1400MHz for both so it's hard to know what's what. It makes sense that the Plus is clocked a little higher to help accommodate the extra pixels it needs to render and to help with the scaling of the resolution down to 1920x1080.
  • That make sense. I had assumed it had something to do with the higher screen resolution but wasn't sure.
  • 6 Plus is clocked a little higher than 6.
  • Slightly higher clock speed?
  • Better thermal dissipation
  • it may be that the larger battery has a better load performance than the smaller one. a chip that is being fed less milliamps will perform poorer.
  • To my amateur eyes, opening any non-gaming apps is the same between the 5 and my 6. Or at least, the difference is negligible enough for me. Was playing around with my 5 before selling it, and am grateful for the 2 years where it operated as fast and smooth as it did in 2012.
  • I moved from iPhone 5s on iOS8 to iPhone 6 Plus. Yes much faster, battery lasted me a day and a half. Awesome! Sent from the iMore App
  • Just a few minutes before seeing this article I read one on AnandTech where their results basically showed the 6 beating the 6 Plus in most tests (and by quite a lot in a certain fps-based test). It's hard to know what's what. http://www.anandtech.com/show/8559/iphone-6-and-iphone-6-plus-preliminar... What does everyone think about this? I know these tests don't exactly equate to real life but it's interesting nonetheless.
  • In some tests, the GPU might lag a bit on the 6 Plus over the 6 because the Plus is pushing many more pixels. Personally, I cannot dell the difference.. Thats why I always put 'benchmark' tests in the, nice to know, category but prefer to do hands on to see how it responds.. and the Plus responds very well to everything I do so I'm happy.
  • Any option to how to downgrade from iphone4 ios7 to ios6 ? Sent from the iMore App
  • Nope, no way
  • Omg this TOTALLY equates to real life performance omg it's such a big fucking deal Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Butthurt? Sent from the iMore App
  • LOL!
  • Truth hurt? Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • You see that benchmark they've been throwing around at Android Central? Now that the tables have evened out a little bit...now we see the butthurt. XD
  • It's all part of the fun :)
  • "Posted via the iMore App for Android" Of course, you'd be bleating h ow Android is better if the S5 had beaten the iPhone. Hypocrite.
  • Any reason why the Lg G3 was left out???
  • Who knows, doesn't really matter. The newer phone performs better than the phones about 6 months old. Posted via iMore App
  • Basically not possible for a lot of these review sites to have scores for every phone using consistent testing methods and software. There's always going to be someone chiming in that this or that phone wasn't included. ;)
  • Is that a dog with a Chewy mask?
  • Numbers! Great Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • More numbers...yay!!
  • "Perhaps the biggest surprise is how well the iPhone 5s still holds up." Damn it! I really want to upgrade to 6 and just because! :(
  • These things are the visual equivalent of Charlie Brown's teacher talking to me. Wa waa wa wa waaaa wa waaaaaaaa. It's a bit all greek to me.
  • It's a scoreboard. Clearly.
  • I went to the Apple Store today to pick something up and to see the new iPhones. The 6 was too similar so far as upgrading for the screen itself. The 6+ is better for reading and a bit ungainly for my long fingers, but if I made the plunge it would be for the 6+, which would NOT replace my iPad Air by any stretch. For now I'm waiting for my iPhone 5 battery to go south or fo a killer reason to upgrade to emerge. I'm not seeing it yet. What I did get was an Airport Extreme. What a difference compared to other wireless routers we've had. The range is phenomenal! It used to be I couldn't go in the yard and have the WiFi reach. Now I can go behond my neighbor's yards and still get a signal. I really really recommend this thing!
  • Interesting what a minor bump in performance the A8 is over the A7. I guess we'll have to wait for next year's models for something to rival the Tegra K1.
  • "Every application will benefit from improved single-core performance while only specialized applications will benefit from improved multi-core performance." - is this true? I would have thought iOS would allow all apps to use multi-core without being specialized. Kind of crappy if it's true.
  • It has to do with computer code and the nature of how computer code runs. Essentially, one app can only make use of multiple cores if it uses multithreading, which is basically simultaneous execution of different parts of the app's code. The code must be explicitly written and organized with multithreading in mind, which can be tricky. That's what they mean by "specialized applications". So unfortunately it is true--for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc.
  • So nothing groundbreaking in terms of performance, I was expecting more to tell the truth, but I guess it's hard to beat the advance they made last year with the 5s. Only reason I would get the 6 is because of the big screen, but these numbers don't convince me.
  • Benchmarks may not be what real performance is but most of the results for the comparison of flagship handsets have been manipulated to show iphone 6 at the top ......htc one m8( its still a 32 bit chipset ) gives an mutlicore score of 3015 .
  • I'm surprised the benchmark doesn't cover the outstanding capability of iOS devices to process sound. As you can see here, Android is left way behind in the field: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR5bfLL7RBU No wonder iPhones and Macs are branded as "artist's devices"...