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Apple A14 Bionic Performance Differences

iPad Air 4 and iPhone 12 Pro are both based around the A14
iPad Air 4 and iPhone 12 Pro are both based around the A14
News from our test lab: The various Apple A14 Bionic-based devices seem to differ in terms of performance. Some of these differences may actually be on purpose. Find out more below.
Daniel Schmidt, 👁 Daniel Schmidt (translated by Finn D. Boerne), 🇩🇪 🇫🇷 ...
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Apple’s current generation iOS devices are equipped with Apple’s most recent SoC, the Apple A14 Bionic. It is the first SoC manufactured in a 5 nm process and therefore not only faster but also more efficient than its predecessors. In addition to the iPad Air 2020 this SoC is also featured in all new iPhones. The chips themselves do differ slightly from one another, though. For example, the iPhone 12 Pro has access to 6 GB of RAM whereas the iPad Air and smaller iPhone 12 are limited to just 4 GB.

In the CPU benchmark Geekbench 5.2 all three devices are performing at the same level in single-core performance. The iPhone 12 falls behind in multi-core performance and trails 6 % behind the iPhone 12 Pro and even 11 % behind the iPad Air.

The differences are even more pronounced in the GPU benchmarks. Once again, the iPad Air takes the lead and runs between 9 to 39 % faster in our off-screen tests than both iPhones. In the new 3DMark Wild Life, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Air take the lead and peform around 11 % faster than the iPhone 12.

The reasons for this are numerous. Surely, the iPad Air 4’s GPU will be more powerful considering that it has to push around more pixels than the iPhones. 3,870,000 to be precise, compared to just 2,962,440 for the iPhones. However, the improved GPU performance does not manage to make up for this difference entirely, and both smartphones are clearly faster in the on-screen benchmarks than the iPad.

Another factor is cooling. The iPad Air, for example, returned consistent scores when running 3DMark Wild Life. The iPhone 12 Pro, however, only managed to return its initial high score on the first one, then dropped significantly, and returned to an around 10 % lower performance than before.

In other words: processor-intensive tasks will run much smoother on the iPad Air. This makes sense considering the different use cases for iPad and iPhone. What does not make any sense though is the iPad’s limitation to just 4 GB of RAM.

iPad Air 4
iPhone 12 Pro
Geekbench 5.3
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Apple iPad Air 2020
4334 Points ∼100% +11%
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
4160 Points ∼96% +6%
Apple iPhone 12
3913 Points ∼90%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
1604 Points ∼100% +1%
Apple iPad Air 2020
1593 Points ∼99% +1%
Apple iPhone 12
1584 Points ∼99%
3DMark
Wild Life Unlimited Score
Apple iPad Air 2020
8955 Points ∼100% +26%
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
8672 Points ∼97% +22%
Apple iPhone 12
7100 Points ∼79%
Wild Life Score
Apple iPad Air 2020
6632 Points ∼100% +9%
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
6627 Points ∼100% +9%
Apple iPhone 12
6068 Points ∼91%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Physics
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
3187 Points ∼100% +21%
Apple iPhone 12
2635 Points ∼83%
Apple iPad Air 2020
2631 Points ∼83% 0%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Graphics
Apple iPad Air 2020
12112 Points ∼100% +23%
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
10348 Points ∼85% +5%
Apple iPhone 12
9833 Points ∼81%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
6903 Points ∼100% +13%
Apple iPad Air 2020
6727 Points ∼97% +10%
Apple iPhone 12
6119 Points ∼89%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics
Apple iPad Air 2020
3161 Points ∼100% +4%
Apple iPhone 12
3054 Points ∼97%
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
2975 Points ∼94% -3%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics
Apple iPad Air 2020
9612 Points ∼100% +32%
Apple iPhone 12
7282 Points ∼76%
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
6917 Points ∼72% -5%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1)
Apple iPad Air 2020
6614 Points ∼100% +19%
Apple iPhone 12
5569 Points ∼84%
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
5344 Points ∼81% -4%
GFXBench
Aztec Ruins High Tier Onscreen
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
47.5 fps ∼100% +1%
Apple iPhone 12
46.9 fps ∼99%
Apple iPad Air 2020
35.6 fps ∼75% -24%
2560x1440 Aztec Ruins High Tier Offscreen
Apple iPad Air 2020
32.9 fps ∼100% +9%
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
31.2 fps ∼95% +4%
Apple iPhone 12
30.1 fps ∼91%
Aztec Ruins Normal Tier Onscreen
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
58.6 fps ∼100% +2%
Apple iPhone 12
57.7 fps ∼98%
Apple iPad Air 2020
40.5 fps ∼69% -30%
1920x1080 Aztec Ruins Normal Tier Offscreen
Apple iPad Air 2020
105.6 fps ∼100% +25%
Apple iPhone 12
84.8 fps ∼80%
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
84.1 fps ∼80% -1%

Legend

 
Apple iPhone 12 Apple A14 Bionic, Apple A14 Bionic GPU, 64 GB SSD
 
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Apple A14 Bionic, Apple A14 Bionic GPU, 256 GB NVMe
 
Apple iPad Air 2020 Apple A14 Bionic, Apple A14 Bionic GPU, 256 GB NVMe
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Daniel Schmidt
Editor of the original article: Daniel Schmidt - Managing Editor Mobile - 361 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2013
As a child I was fascinated by my Commodore 16, and this sparked my enthusiasm for computers. Using my first modem, I surfed the BTX videotext system and later the World Wide Web. I have always been captivated by the latest technologies, and this is especially true for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. I’ve been part of the Notebookcheck team since 2013 and have also on occasion written for Notebookinfo.de, and I’m looking forward to testing new innovations for our readers. I like to spend my spare time indulging in photography and barbecues and being with my family.
Finn D. Boerne
Translator: Finn D. Boerne - Translator - 419 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
Born in the United States and raised in Germany I became acquainted with both languages from an early age and turned this into my profession later in life. Computers have always played an important role in my life, and my love for all things digital is a huge part of my daily routine. Virtual Reality has captured my imagination and interest in particular, and I cannot wait to see what the (near) future will bring.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Apple A14 Bionic Performance Differences
Daniel Schmidt, 2020-11-18 (Update: 2020-11-18)