In the beginning of October, seemingly out of nowhere, “Chipgate” arose. This focused on the differences between an iPhone 6s/6s Plus installed with a TSMC-manufactured A9 processor, or a unit outfitted with a Samsung-manufactured A9 processor.
It began with the discovery that there are, indeed, two different chips out there in the wild, with Samsung’s actually being quite a bit smaller than TSMC’s. However, it was reported that TSMC’s A9 was outperforming Samsung’s, and that battery life between devices with each chip could be quite a bit different. Some tests showed a difference of up to two hours, for instance, which would obviously raise questions from iPhone 6s owners worried about battery life right out of the gate.
Apple, for its part, did acknowledge that there is, indeed, a difference in battery life between units installed with different processors, but that difference is not noticeable. According to the Cupertino-based company, it’s only a 2 to 3% difference, and in real worlds situations that’s not discernible by the iPhone owner. So, yes, Apple states that there is a difference, but those differences aren’t noticeable by the end user when using the phone to do normal things (like not running constant Geekbench 3 tests, for example).
Soon after that, Ars Technica ran its own series of tests, and in the end discovered that Apple was right in their claims. There is a difference in battery life, but it’s hardly worth talking about for the person using an iPhone and using it as their daily driver.
Now, Consumer Reports has weighed in.
The thorough tests had plenty of steps, including putting the two iPhones on the same carrier, making sure they were running the same version of iOS (in this case, iOS 9.0.2), and even made sure that connections, display settings, notification settings, and even app settings were identical on both devices. This is meant to put the two devices on the same, equal playing field, as each of these differences could impact the battery in some way or another.
The publication went through the testing steps in what they call the Radio Frequency Isolation chamber, and the process was exhaustive, down to the milliwatts and further adjusting settings. The tests even kept track of each device’s temperature, where the devices climbed to as high as 84-degrees Fahrenheit. In the end, there was still only ever a 1 percent variance in heat between devices.
In the end, the publication says that there’s no discernible difference in battery life between the models, whether the device is installed with a TSMC A9 or a Samsung A9. Which should be good news for iPhone 6s owners, especially those who don’t actually care to check which processor is installed in their phone.
“Smartphones are as complicated as the people who use them, so it’s impossible to say with certainty that the battery- and temperature-performance differences we measured in this chipgate testing will be consistent in every imaginable scenario. But if iPhone 6s users are ever disappointed with their phones, we’re confident it won’t be because they bought the model with the “wrong” chip.”
With the majority of professional tests out there now pointing to one verdict, are you feeling better about your phone’s processor and battery life, if you were worried about it at all in the first place?[via Consumer Reports]