A15 Bionic chip is even better than Apple claims

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iPhone 13 Pro
Good luck, Qualcomm.
Photo: Apple

It’s great when a company releases a product that meets its expectations. It’s even better when it exceeds them. But that’s what you can expect when you buy a new Apple device with the latest A15 Bionic chip.

Independent tests confirm that the A15, which can be found inside iPhone 13 and the newest iPad mini, is even more impressive than Apple led us to believe, easily outpacing the newest mobile chips from the competition.

A15 Bionic is faster than expected

Apple did tell us during its iPhone 13 event that the A15 Bionic was faster than rival chips. The same claims can be found on its website. But in both instances, Cupertino promises “up to 50%” faster performance.

As it turns out, the A15 is actually up to 62% faster than its closest competitors, according to tests carried out by AnandTech, which calls the A15’s four CPU performance cores “extremely impressive.”

They’re impressive not only because of the power they deliver, but also because even when they’re in full swing and being pushed as far as possible, the performance cores are still incredibly energy efficient.

“Usually increases in performance always come with some sort of deficit in efficiency, or at least flat efficiency,” the report explains. “Apple here instead has managed to reduce power whilst increasing performance, meaning energy efficiency is improved by 17% … versus the A14.”

What is perhaps even more surprising is that in certain cases, the A15 performs even better than the Apple M1 chip found inside the latest Mac models. It’s actually on “equal footing” with AMD’s latest Ryzen 5950X chip for desktop machines, AnandTech says.

GPU performance is outstanding, too

It’s not just in processing power that the A15 delivers exceptional results. In GPU tests carried out on an iPhone 13 Pro, Apple’s new chip proved itself to be up to 30% faster than last year’s A14 Bionic.

iPhone 13, which carries a slightly less powerful GPU (with four cores instead of five), graphics performance is up around 14%. “The peak performance here is essentially double that of the nearest competitor, so Apple is likely low-balling things again,” the report notes.

No Android smartphone comes close to iPhone 13 in graphics performance. The best available is the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra, and even that is only around half as powerful in some GPU tests. In fact, iPhone 11 is still faster than any Android in many cases.

“Overall, while the A15 isn’t the brute force iteration we’ve become used to from Apple in recent years, it very much comes with substantial generational gains that allow it to be a notably better SoC than the A14,” the report concludes.

That’s bad news for Qualcomm, Samsung, and any other company looking to compete with Apple in mobile chip performance.