Apple iPhone 6 Plus review: Following the curve

Following the curve

GSMArena team, 30 September 2014.

Performance

The iPhone 6 Plus, just like the iPhone 6, is running on the new generation Apple A8 chipset. It is manufactured by a new 20nm process, which means smaller parts, less heat and less power consumption.

Just like the past few years Apple didn't specify the A8 specifications, but thanks reverse engineering of the chip the details are no longer a secret. Apple A8 inside the iPhone 6 Plus packs a dual-core 64-bit Cyclone processor clocked at 1.4GHz. It is 100MHz faster than the processor inside the A7 (iPhone 5s), but it requires less power to run. There are suggestions that L1 and L2 CPU caches are larger and the L2 isn't shared as before, but this is yet to be confirmed.

The other more prominent upgrade in the Apple A8 is the new generation GPU - the PowerVR GX6450 with four GPU cores. The A7 chip used a quad-core PowerVT GX6350, which was quite the performer, but Apple needed something even better for the higher resolution iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The GX6450 within the Apple A8 also uses four GPU cores, but the newer generation should be enough to provide the necessary graphic boost.

So, there is no better way to illustrate the actual Apple A8 performance than with some synthetic benchmarks.

We start with the Geekbech 3 test to see how the overclocked CPU and memory are doing. The iPhone 6 Plus did great, providing 20% performance boost over the iPhone 5s predecessor and on par with the current crop of Snapdragon 801 flagships. The octa-core Galaxy Alpha isn't that far ahead either.

GeekBench 3

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3214
  • Oppo Find 7
    3178
  • Oppo Find 7a
    3093
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 S800
    2937
  • Apple iPhone 6
    2924
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    2884
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2860
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2856
  • LG G3 - EU version
    2563
  • Apple iPhone 5s (iOS 8)
    2552
  • Apple iPhone 5
    1296

The Basemark OS II gives an overall device score based on CPU, graphics, system performance, memory, web, among others. Surprisingly, the new iPhone 6 duo climbs on top of our chart beating every device we've tested so far and on par with the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge phablets powered by the latest Snapdragon 805 chipset.

Basemark OS II

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    1260
  • Apple iPhone 6
    1252
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    1235
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    1222
  • Oppo Find 7
    1212
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    1167
  • LG G3 - EU version
    1126
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    1109
  • Apple iPhone 5s (iOS 8)
    1077
  • Oppo Find 7a
    1057
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 S800
    1003
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    915
  • Apple iPhone 5
    589

As we mentioned before, the Apple iPhone 6 Plus comes with a brand new PowerVR GX6450 GPU. It uses four GPU cores for both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but its clock is quite possibly higher on the Plus model because it has an even better performance despite its higher resolution. First we ran the Basemark X graphic benchmark and we were surprised to find the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to be the best phones we've tested to date. This made us suspicious and we found out that Basemark X, as well as the GFX Benchmark, on the iPhone 6 Plus (and possibly the iPhone 6) use upscaled graphics for the on-screen tests due to the lack of proper support for the new devices, hence the surprisingly good score.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
GFX 3.0 Manhattan 1080p on-screen test: Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 6 Plus

So the on-screen benchmarks are obsolete for now, but we can still check how the new PowerVR GX6450 stacks up against the competition thanks to the off-screen 1080p torture tests.

The offscreen raw performance of the PowerVR GX6450 in the iPhone 6 Plus turned out great, topping our all-time charts. Apparently the PowerVR GX66450 GPU is a real beast, handling heavy graphics with ease. It's obvious that in terms of hardware the new iPhone is not behind the curve but just on the contrary - it's ahead of it.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    44.6
  • Apple iPhone 6
    42.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    31.3
  • Apple iPhone 5s (iOS 8)
    28.7
  • Oppo Find 7a
    28.4
  • Oppo Find 7
    28
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    27.7
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    27.4
  • LG G3 - EU version
    27.2
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 S800
    26.3
  • Apple iPhone 5
    6.9

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    18.6
  • Apple iPhone 6
    17.7
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    13.4
  • Apple iPhone 5s (iOS 8)
    12.9
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    12
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    11.8
  • LG G3 - EU version
    11.4
  • Oppo Find 7a
    11.4
  • Oppo Find 7
    11.1
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 S800
    9.9

If the great CPU and GPU scores on the benchmarks didn't convince you enough the new iPhone 6 Plus is a real powerhouse featuring flagship hardware and software, then here come the web browser tests. Both the JavaScript-centric Kraken and the compound BrowserMark 2.1 confirm the iPhone 6 is among the best performers on the market and the device newcomers have to beat.

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    4650
  • Apple iPhone 6
    4710
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    4911
  • Apple iPhone 5s (iOS 8)
    5396
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    6355
  • Oppo Find 7
    6363
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    6480
  • Oppo Find 7a
    6660
  • LG G3 - EU version
    6987
  • Apple iPhone 5
    14171

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3389
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3153
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    1533
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    1500
  • LG G3 - EU version
    1474
  • Oppo Find 7
    1452
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    1364
  • Oppo Find 7a
    1327
  • Apple iPhone 5
    900

These benchmark results might come shocking for some, but they really aren't. The new GPU is better in every way against the current crop of flagships, but we are yet to see what the Adreno 420 with the Snapdragon 805 and the Nvidia Kepler in the Tegra K1 will bring on the market. The upgraded dual-core Cyclone processor seems to be handling things way better than expected providing similar performance as a quad-core Krait 400 CPU.

Judging by the raw performance in the benchmarks and the snappier than ever user experience with the iOS 8 and its apps, the new iPhone 6 Plus is a flagship device in every way - beating everything the competition has to offer to date.

Reader comments

  • Azim

Like android system

  • Royalme

I am getting frustrated by the day as my iPhone 6 Plus have a shimmering screen tendency which results in the screen freezing and have to shake it several times to activate it. I do not understand why it is like that. How can I have it fixed? I have ...

  • Anonymous

My iPhones home button is still and I need to press hard one it to not to be stiff