Every year phones are getting quicker and quicker but which one is fastest?
The specs are the easiest place to start. The iPhone 6 is definitely down on paper with only a dual core processor and one gigabyte of RAM compared to a six core chip and three gigs of RAM on the LG G4 and a whopping eight cores on the Galaxy S6 edge. Things aren’t quite so simple however. Kicking things off we have the graphics benchmarks. These are mostly helpful for measuring gaming performance but also affect how smooth the phones run in everyday use. First off we have the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test and here all three are reasonably well matched although the Galaxy S6 edge is the clear winner. Move over to GFXBench Manhattan and things change up slightly with the iPhone beating out the G4 in the off-screen test and easily winning over both in the on-screen test. Both the Galaxy S6 and LG G4 have Team Crispy approved Quad HD screens that while great come with a performance penalty, the phones have to drive a lot of pixels. The iPhone needs to push less than one third as many pixels which can give it an advantage in some situations but there’s no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S6 pulls out the win in the graphics department. Next let’s take a look at the processors. The Octane benchmark is a good test of CPU and browser performance and here the Galaxy S6 edge easily wins out over the G4 and iPhone which end up being surprisingly close. Next we have Geekbench 3 which is a pure test of the processors. In single threaded performance the iPhone wins however the Galaxy S6 is really able to stretch its’ legs in the multi-core part of the test. This doesn’t seem to make much sense on the surface, the iPhone should be way less powerful. What’s going on? It might have a big disadvantage on paper but the iPhone actually has the most powerful CPU cores of the bunch. Both the G4 and Galaxy S6 take advantage of what’s known as big.LITTLE which pairs a set of powerful CPU cores along with less power hungry ones. This allows the weaker cores to handle most basic usage while being able to switch to the bigger cores when you need more performance. The G4 has only two of the more powerful A57 cores where the Galaxy S6 has four but in real use it’s rare to need four cores much less eight. All that tech jargon means that for most tasks the iPhone is slightly faster but having the extra cores when you need them gives the slight edge to the Galaxy S6. Having lots of performance is great but if your battery immediately dies it’s not doing you much good. Here I turned to the GFXBench Battery Test which loops a complex 3D scene 30 times. Here the iPhone and Galaxy S6 come up short where the LG G4 wins out thanks to it’s bigger battery and slightly less powerful specs compared to the S6. There’s another side effect of having a lot of power packed inside a phone and that’s heat. Not only can this make phones uncomfortable to hold but it can also hurt performance. Using a thermal camera you can see that there’s a pretty major difference in how each phone is able to cope under a gaming load. The iPhone evenly disperses the heat at around 31 degrees Celsius which is only slightly warm to the touch. Move over to the G4 and it tops out at 36 degrees which is warm but the heat is kept to the top making most of the phone perfectly fine. The Galaxy S6 edge is even warmer at 38 degrees and this is spread throughout the phone making it slightly uncomfortable to the touch. It might not have the most raw power but the iPhone is clearly the winner here. So at the end of the day how do these phones stack up? The iPhone and G4 both perform well and have advantages but it’s safe to say that the Samsung Galaxy S6 is the fastest phone out, well for now anyway.