Apple A14 vs A13 vs Snapdragon 865 performance comparison

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Every year, smartphone chips become more powerful as new technologies allow engineers to squeeze out more performance from the tiny mobile processors. And for the past few years, Apple has been the leader in mobile performance despite its iPhone chips having 6 cores to the competitors’ 8. This year, the leap forward is even bigger than usual as the new 5nm process allows for even more transistors to be crammed into the tiny package. 

Now that we have the new iPhones in hand and were able to thoroughly test them, it’s time to see how the new Apple A14 Bionic fares against its predecessor and Qualcomm’s best offerings this year, the Snapdragon 865 and 865+.

Before we get to the benchmark results, let’s check what each of these chips has to work with.

Apple A14 vs A13 vs Snapdragon 865 specs comparison

The only difference between the Snapdragon 865 and 865+ is that the latter is higher clocked. Apart from the main CPU core, the GPU also runs at slightly higher speeds. The differences between Apple’s and Qualcomm’s chips go way deeper than the different core count and clock speeds. While both processors originate from Arm’s initial core designs, they’re highly customized in ways that both companies prefer to keep a secret. 

As representatives for each chip, we’ve chosen the following phones:

Of course, the phone in which the chip is operating in slightly influences the results of the benchmarks, but since there’s no way for us to test the chips outside of their phones, we’ll have to use this sub-optimal solution.

Apple A14 vs A13 vs Snapdragon 865 benchmark results comparison

Time to take a look at the benchmark results from our four contenders. It’s worth noting that not all benchmarks can be made absolutely identical on both iOS and Android due to some core design differences, but again, that’s the best we have to work with.

Let’s begin with the AnTuTu results.

AnTuTu benchmark results

Between the iPhones, there’s a big jump in the scores with the iPhone 12 Pro scoring 30% higher than its predecessor. Quite a significant gain between the generations. 
Meanwhile, the clock boost gives the ROG Phone 3 a 7% advantage over the OnePlus 8T and puts it at first place overall. Both Android phones score higher than the iPhone 11 Pro, but only the Asus one beats the iPhone 12 Pro by a slim margin.

Now off to the next popular benchmark, Geekbench 5!

Geekbench 5 Single-core benchmark results

These scores give a good idea of how Apple manages to stay ahead in performance with chips that have two cores fewer than the competition. The single-core performance of the Apple A13 and A14 is unmatched. The new big core of the A14 and its higher clock speed give it almost a 20% gain over the A13. And if we compare the A14 to the Snapdragon 865+, the advantage is more than 60% despite both chips running their big cores at 3.1GHz.

Geekbench 5 Multi-core benchmark results

Naturally, in the multi-score race, the results are more even as the Snapdragons make up some of the difference with their extra cores. Still, the iPhones remain on top. The A14 Bionic edges out the A13 by only 5%, however, not nearly as impressive as the previous results. The difference between the Snapdragon 865 and 865+ is similar with the latter scoring 6% higher. Overall, when all cores are in use, all members of this pack are performing fairly similarly.

GFXBench Car chase scene benchmark results

GFXBench forces phones to render a demanding animation and the result is the average number of frames per second each phone achieved. The iPhone 12 Pro scored 58, which almost matches the phone’s 60Hz display refresh rate. At 56, the result from the previous Pro iPhone is almost identical. The ROG Phone 3, on the other hand, achieved only 49fps on average, far below the maximum of 144 its display can show you. Its overclocked GPU managed to render 3 fps more than that of the OnePlus 8T, however, which is still better than nothing.

GFXBench Manhattan scene benchmark results

The situation is quite different with the Manhattan scene. The iPhone 12 Pro, 11 Pro and OnePlus 8T have almost identical scores, just a single frame setting them apart. The ROG Phone 3 seems to be better optimized for the load of this scene because it managed to crank out 82fps, around 36% more than the other three phones. An impressive result, no question about it.

Jetstream 2 benchmark results

Jetstream 2 is a benchmark app that tests browser speed. From opening the browser itself to loading sites, it tests a variety of parameters that influence your internet browsing experience. In this test, the iPhone domination is quite obvious. The iPhone 12 Pro takes the crown with a result that’s 26% higher than that of the iPhone 11 Pro, which itself is beating both Android phones by a large margin. The Apple A14 scores two times higher than the Snapdragon 865+, with the regular Snapdragon 865 relatively close behind its overclocked version. It seems that when it comes to browsing, iPhones offer a much snappier experience. 

Conclusion

Apple has achieved great gains in performance with its new A14 Bionic. And that’s without taking into account the improved capabilities of the Neural Engine of the A14, something Apple highlighted during its presentation as a big leap forward as well. The question remains how much of those performance gains the average user can actually benefit from in daily use. We doubt many users notice if their apps open a few milliseconds faster. Still, if not today, then in a few years you’ll be happy to have the extra power for whatever new uses Apple and other developers have come up with.

And when it comes to the Snapdragon 865 chips, they’re behind in almost every test and by a lot in some of them. You’d be right to point out that the real challenger for the A14 will be the Snapdragon 875, which is due for release in about a month with the first phones powered by it expected to come out in early 2020. Don’t worry, once Android goes to 5nm, we’ll be comparing results once again and the fight should be far more exciting. 

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