Speed test shows original iPhone was a complete slug

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Original iPhone was a complete slug compared to iPhone 12
The original iPhone was tiny, but also slow at basic tasks like taking a picture or just opening its built-in apps.
Photo: PhoneBuff

If you remember the first-gen iPhone being a speed demon compared to today’s models then you’re in for a real surprise. A head-to-head comparison between the 2007 iPhone and the 2020 version shows just how pokey the original one was at even basic tasks.

The test doesn’t unfairly ask the 2007 iPhone to run software it was never designed for. No, the handset is slow running even basic applications.

On your mark…

A speed test by the YouTube channel PhoneBuff asked the iPhone 1 and iPhone 12 to take a picture, view that image in the Photos app, use the Calculator app, open a note in Notes, and other tasks using the software Apple bundled with the devices.

It wasn’t possible to test any other applications because nothing from the App Store today is compatible with the first-generation device, not even running iOS 3.1.3.

The iPhone 12 completed the set of basic tasks in 20 seconds. It took the original iPhone a full 86 seconds to do the same tasks.

2007 iPhone 1 vs. 2020 iPhone 12

The result shouldn’t really surprise anyone. Apple’s original handset came with a single-core chip running at 412 MHz, with 128MB of RAM. Apple’s latest iPhone boasts six processor cores running at up to 3.1 GHz, with 4GB of RAM.

The display grew from 3.5 inches and 320-by-480 pixels to 6.1 inches and 1170-by-2532 pixels in the iPhone 12. And that’s leaving aside the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max.

It’s easy to look at the past through the lens of nostalgia. This side-by-side speed test rips off those rose-colored glasses. It reminds us that the original iPhone couldn’t do much, but at least it was really slow.

Watch the full PhoneBuff comparison video to see for yourself.