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


View All Comments

  • crimson117 - Friday, April 24, 2020 - link

    More than decent, this is stellar value.

    Best performance on the market, perfectly good camera (though not mind blowing), for like 1/3 the price of high end iPhones and Android flagships.

    And a smaller screen, which is preferred by many, though not all.
  • duploxxx - Friday, April 24, 2020 - link

    best performance when you just look at benchmarks on an optimised benchmark OS

    IOS made for dummies, where you cant change anything besides what has been defined by marketing nerds.

    dont count the time that the device will be on charger (because of the fake real stats) everywhere in the world, most device i see on chargers in congress around the world…. IPHONE

    DeLorean alike design with large beezels and stupid home button. Broken screens and beezels everywhere.

    sure it will sell, perhaps now 20% off all the IPhone users running around with a broken screen that can't afford a fix can finally have the budget to buy a new one and want to stay with the fame of the Wannabee vendor.
  • Peskarik - Friday, April 24, 2020 - link

    my mom has older small iPhone, it is enough for her and she is used to the platform. I have an iPhone XR at home, got it for free. I tried, but I rather stay with my old Pixel XL Android 10, much easier to operate and customize. Reply
  • trparky - Saturday, April 25, 2020 - link

    Most people don't customize their phones though. Hell, I'd go so far as to say that most people don't even change their ringtone for God's sake. I can tell what carrier they have just from their ringtone. Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Sunday, April 26, 2020 - link

    Wait, you can change the ringtone? Reply
  • haukionkannel - Friday, April 24, 2020 - link

    A phone that gets douple to triple time os updates compared to Android... Yes sir, very impressive indeed. This will easily last useable 6 to 8 years! It is ingredible good for cell phone! Reply
  • sonny73n - Saturday, April 25, 2020 - link

    You and your dumbass updates. Every time I open AppStore, there’s always updates for the apps that already got updated a week before.

    And iOS update. Give me a f**king break. I have iPhone 6s which I accidentally updated to iOS 11. You know Apple always nag and trick you unlocking iPhone with passcode and update with passcode. Give me back iOS 9 that I bought the phone with. Scam!
  • justareader - Saturday, April 25, 2020 - link

    Updates for 6 to 8 years? I have 2 ipads and a macbook that say you are wrong. Reply
  • cha0z_ - Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - link

    Really? What macbook? As my 2015 macbook air is receiving the next macos. There is the list for you:

    MacBook: Early 2015 or newer
    MacBook Air: Mid 2013 or newer
    MacBook Pro: Late 2013 or newer
    Mac Mini: Late 2014 or newer
    iMac: Mid 2014 or newer
    iMac Pro
    Mac Pro: Late 2013 or newer
    Developer Transition Kit

    So dunno, but even some 2013 models are supported (7 years old) + my 2015 model is already at 5+ years old and as it will receive all the big sur updates - that makes it atleast 6 years full support, so the statement is true. Dunno about tablets tho, but we are talking about iphones anyway.
  • Deicidium369 - Sunday, April 26, 2020 - link

    and invariable one of those updates sets the date it will die. Reply

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