iPhone 12: Great performance, but 5G battery life worries [Update w video]
Two key slices of research concerning the iPhone 12 have emerged in the last few hours, one claims 5G speeds eat battery life, the other showing that iPhone 12 performance absolutely blitzes any other smartphone you can buy.
Which story is the press picking up on? No prizes for guessing.
From Tom’s Guide:
“In both synthetic benchmarks and real-world tests, the new 5nm A14 chip beat every Android phone out there. This means that the gap between the iPhone 12 and the best Android phones has widened again. The Snapdragon 865 and 865 Plus — Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line system-on-chip unveiled in late 2019 — has done an admirable job powering Android phones that could approach if not quite match the iPhone 11 lineup.”
The report includes a bevy of statistics that show huge gains in graphics, video and general performance in contrast to every other device on the market. It’s only competitor? The iPhone 11. Apple continues to innovate against itself.
Updated: The below video is the first teardown clip to ship — but turn down your volume first as it has a deeply annoying soundtrack.
5G battery life concerns
Also from Tom’s Guide:
“The regular iPhone 12 lasted just 8 hours and 25 minutes over AT&T’s 5G network. Last year’s iPhone 11 lasted a whopping 11 hours and 16 minutes over 4G. To compare, we switched the iPhone 12 to 4G-only, and it endured for 10 hours and 23 minutes.
“The iPhone 12 Pro fared a bit better, lasting 9 hours and 6 minutes minutes over T-Mobile’s 5G network. That runtime jumped to 11:24 over 4G. The iPhone 11 Pro lasted 10:24 over 4G.”
Tom’s Guide recommends disabling 5G when you don’t need to use it.
(Given Apple’s huge focus on 5G, it’s not really a surprise..)
What I think
It seems worth asking which AT&T 5G network testing took place on: was it using the carrier’s sub-6GHz service or its relatively new mmWave 5G Plus service, and were all the devices tested using the same network?
The same question applies re the testing of the Pro, which took place on T-Mobile’ 5G network, which I think runs on the 600MHz spectrum.
Given that I think we’ll find testing took place using Lo-band 5G on both, I have this sneaking suspicion battery drain relates in some way to how the 5G radio polls for a connection – which in itself makes me think Apple may be able to at mitigate this in a software update.
I’ll be interested to see how these stories play out, but it really is fascinating to watch which one of the two tales is gaining the most traction:
- That iPhone 12 is the best performing family of smartphones on the planet, bar none.
- Or the story about a network standard most people on the planet can’t quite use yet?
In any case, it’s mmWave that delivers on the promise of 5G.