System Performance

Performance-wise, the inclusion of the new A13 chip should essentially blow the iPhone 8 out of the water given it’s two generations newer than the A11. For more details about the A13, please read our in-depth coverage of the chip in our review of the iPhone 11 series.

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView JetStream 2 - OS Webview

In the steady-state Javascript web benchmarks, the iPhone SE unsurprisingly matches the newer iPhone 11. In JetStream, the phone even gets a boost here, which might be due to the newer iOS version. I haven’t had the chance to re-test the older iPhones, but I’m certain the scores will level out across the A13 generation devices.

WebXPRT 3 - OS WebView

On WebXPRT 3, the iPhone SE did score quite a bit worse than the iPhone 11 phones. This test is more interactive in its workloads and more impacted by DVFS responsiveness, rather than just being a continuous stead-state load. It’s very much possible that Apple has tuned down the DVFS of the chip in order to remain at the more power efficient frequency states for more workloads. I haven’t had the time to update Xcode to run our workload ramp test yet – but it’s something that can be easily verified in a follow-up update on the topic.

Update April 29th: 

I was also able to verify the CPU frequencies of the A13 in the iPhone SE, and the phone tracks identical peak frequencies as on the iPhone 11. This means that we're seeing 2.66GHz peak clocks on the Lightning cores when a single core is on, and up to around 2.59GHz when both cores are enabled. The Thunder cores clock in at up to 1.73GHz as well, just as on the iPhone 11’s.

The DVFS of the two phones is also identical – with the same ramp-up times between the SE and the iPhone 11. In general, any performance differences between the new SE and the flagship phones should simply be due to thermal characteristics of the smaller phone, possibly throttling things faster when under more strenuous workloads.

Overall Performance

Whilst I haven’t had too much time on the SE, the first impressions of the device are very much that this is just an as good experience as the iPhone 11 series. Much like on the iPhone 11 series, I actually feel that the raw performance of the hardware is actually hampered by the software, for example animations could be much shorter or even disabled in order to improve the user’s experience of speed and responsiveness. In either case, the iPhone SE’s performance is fantastic, and that’s due to the A13 chipset’s raw power.

Introduction & Design GPU Performance
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • star-affinity - Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - link

    Why is it wasted? Should make it last many years, as long as the 3 GB RAM doesn't limit it, that is…
  • nfineon - Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - link

    // EUROPE PRICES (in usd)

    $532 belgium
    $610 bosnia
    $575 croatia
    $513 czech
    $539 denmark
    $521 germany
    $531 spain
    $531 france
    $542 ireland
    $542 italy
    $513 luxembourg
    $521 nederlands
    $512 norway
    $521 austria
    $527 poland
    $542 poland
    $542 portugal
    $464 switzerland
    $542 finland
    $608 serbia
    $517 uk
    EU Average Price = $536 usd

    // ASIA PACIFIC (in usd)
    aus $473
    hkd $439
    kor $446
    myr $459
    nzd $477
    php $523
    sgd $455
    twd $482
    thb $461
    mop $439
    AP Average Price = $466 usd

    $399 is only the promotional price used in the US (not including tax), the actual price globally is higher. Europe gets hit the hardest with the average price about $536, Asia Pacific is about $466 average and no pricing data yet for Latin America. This brings the current world average price to +/- $500 usd.

  • zeeBomb - Saturday, May 16, 2020 - link

    The best review. My goodness.
  • sdfdsf - Thursday, May 28, 2020 - link

  • techjam - Tuesday, June 9, 2020 - link

    Wow I can't believe the love this phone is getting.

    Such an outdated design, CPU and GPU performance matter so little to the consumer now. They've been more than powerful enough for years.

    To put out such a lazy rehashed design just shows how complacent Apple are and the fact it's getting such praise shows just why they have gotten so complacent.

    This simply wouldn't be acceptable in the Android world.
  • nd_marshall - Sunday, June 21, 2020 - link

    It's like putting a Ferrari engine in a Lada.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now