With the iPhone XR containing the same A12 Bionic chip as the iPhone XS, we expected it to offer identical performance, and this has now been confirmed. Macworld reported on the results it found from iPhone XR benchmarks …

The iPhone XR offers the same performance enhancements over last year’s iPhone X as its more expensive siblings.

The iPhone XR is right in line with the XS and XS Max—easily within a margin of error of a couple of percentage points. This makes it 13 percent faster in single-core performance than the thousand-dollar iPhone X of last year, and about 10 percent faster in multi-core performance.

In the GPU-powered Compute benchmark (which uses the Metal API), performance is about 40 percent faster.

Indeed, in one of the iPhone XR benchmarks – a GPU test – the iPhone XR came out on top, likely as a result of having fewer pixels to push.

The iPhone XR scores better in the GPU test than the XS or XS Max (which helps boost the overall score). This is probably due to the lower resolution of the iPhone XR’s display. The graphics tests here are rendered on-screen and not at a fixed or off-screen resolution. The A12 Bionic’s GPU will deliver faster frame rates on the XR because it has to render about 85 percent more pixels on the XS and 125 percent more on the XS Max.

iPhone XR benchmarks

Many iPhone XR buyers are likely to be upgrading from an iPhone 7 or older, and gamers will be particularly happy.

If you’re upgrading from an iPhone 7 Plus to an iPhone XR, you can expect real game frame rates to be anywhere from 50 percent higher up to twice as fast, depending on the complexity of the game. That’s a huge win for everyone upgrading their two-year-old phones.

The XR is also the model to pick if battery-life is your priority.

In this test, the iPhone XR ran 19 minutes longer than the iPhone XS Max, and more than an hour longer than the iPhone XS. In a real-world scenario (i.e. not running benchmarks nonstop), that will likely translate into about 30-45 minutes more screen-on time than the iPhone XS Max and two hours more than the iPhone XS, depending on how you use your phone.

The really interesting comparison, however, is with the iPhone 7 Plus.

They have almost the exact same-sized batteries—the iPhone 7 Plus battery is 2900mAh—and both have LCD displays with similar total area. The iPhone XR’s display has a total area of around 90 square centimeters, the iPhone 7 Plus about 83 square centimeters, about 7 percent smaller. Yet the iPhone XR, with its slightly larger display and same-sized battery, lasted about an hour and 45 minutes longer in this test.

That’s a roughly 45 percent improvement in battery life with a slightly larger display and similar battery capacity. What an impressive improvement in just two years!

iPhone XR benchmarks are unlikely to be the deciding factor for many buyers – that’s going to be the new design language at a significantly lower price than the flagship models – but it’s certainly good to know that the practice matches the theory when it comes to performance.

App-opening speed tests showed that the iPhone XR was on a par with Samsung’s Note 9. Check out the best and worst features of the latest iPhone.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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