New Tests Favour Samsung A9 Over TSMC in iPhone 6s Battery Life

The folks over at Tom’s Hardware have performed some more tests on both Samsung and TSMC versions of the A9 SoC found in the new iPhone 6s / 6s Plus devices, to find out if there are any actual power or performance differences between the two chips. Turns out, both versions of the A9 SoC actually deliver the same level of performance. Interestingly though, Samsung’s chip was found to offer slightly better power efficiency, extending battery life between 3% to 10%. On the contrary, previous tests have all favoured TSMC chips in terms of battery performance.


As you can see in the above performance tests, all of the CPU, GPU, and system performance scores show less than 2% difference, which lies within the margin of error for these tests. However, the Basemark OS II battery score, which accounts for both battery life and performance under CPU-intensive workloads, shows more significant differences between the two SoCs.

The GFXBench battery life test is the GPU equivalent of Basemark OS II, providing a worst-case battery life based primarily on GPU, memory, and display power consumption that is similar to what you might see while playing an intense 3D game. In this scenario, both the performance and the skin temperature on the back of each iPhone are nearly identical, indicating that both A9 SoCs generate a similar amount of heat and exhibit minimal thermal throttling. The Samsung-made A9 manages to last 3.5 percent longer when pushing the GPU hard, which equates to a meager five minutes and is barely outside the margin of error in this test.


In the end though, the source concludes that the extra few minutes of battery life “you may get” from a phone using the Samsung-made A9 will hardly be noticeable.

In case you haven’t already, you can find out which version of the A9 SoC in installed on your iPhone 6s / 6s Plus by using this method.

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  • 1His_Nibs1

    Oh for the love of GOD……….

  • I’m kinda thinking this was doctored up to make people feel better if they found out they got the Samsung chip.

    I don’t to agree with 1his_Nibs1 though, it doesn’t really matter in the end.

  • Chris

    Dare I say, be grateful you can afford the latest and “greatest” Apple product and carry on with your day….
    First World problems I guess….

  • Totally eh!

  • Shane

    The biggest issue with this years iPhone is a 2-3% difference in battery life depending on which chip you have. I’ll take that over Antennagate, Bendgate or any other kind of gate any day of the week.

    At the end of the day I have no idea which chip I have and I really don’t care to look because it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve had awesome battery life and the os runs so smooth with 2GB of ram and whichever A9 chip I have. This phone is what I wish the 6 plus was in the first place

  • 1His_Nibs1

    It might not matter to you but trust me it matters to many. If there’s the slightest “doubt” as to performance issues/differences many people will think they got ripped off depending on which chip they got. Today people who found out they had/have the Samsung chip are feeling a little better today about their phone, while others, including me are now thinking differently about their TSMC chip. In the end the differences are negligible and might not matter to some BUT when I pay what I did for this phone I want to know Apple’s giving me what I paid for. I’m sure there are lots of people considering returning their phone & some already have by reading some of the comments posted about this topic. 2-3% I can live with but the initial 20% imo would have been unacceptable & I would have returned the phone. First World problems indeed!

  • Kevin

    returned two phones

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Thank you for validating my point Kevin. ????????

  • That is true. yeah I dropped $1,158 on mine and yeah I totally understand people being worried. I meant that in the end it doesn’t matter because in reality it is only 2-3% as you said.

    On another note it’s also commonly said that not all CPU chips are equal even off the same production line, just another possible cause to factor in.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    True. Very valid point.

  • Zeke

    Can Apple be trusted anymore?

  • raslucas

    Seems like one simply runs a little harder than the other. One gets negligibly better battery life, while the other gets negligibly better performance.

    This is such an irrelevant issue, it’s insane. Apple haven’t tricked anyone, they simply say they use a processor that uses the A9 specification. They never said it’s a Samsung processor, nor did they say it was a TSMC. Do both those chips achieve the performance that they actually do claim they do? Yes, though Apple’s tests are usually a little suspect, but that’s a tech industry thing. Do both chips have the battery life they claim? Yes, though again Apple’s tests are suspect. My GF has one, and I have heard nothing but good things about the speed and battery life of these devices from people ignorant of which CPU is inside. There’s a reason that Apple doesn’t really declare many specs about their device components. When you are using the iPhone, it doesn’t make any difference.