Shootout: Flagship smartphones compared

By Marcus Wong - 18 Jan 2020

Benchmark performance, battery life

Benchmark Performance

Unsurprisingly, our flagship smartphones all run the latest and most powerful processors available to them. The iPhone 11 Pro Max runs on Apple's latest A13 Bionic Chip, the ASUS ROG Phone II uses Qualcomm's best with the Snapdragon 855 Plus while the Google Pixel 4XL uses the standard Snapdragon 855. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ and the Huawei Mate 30 Pro use their own top-end Samsung Exynos 9825 and Hisilicon Kirin 990 chips respectively. Here's how they compare once more, specs-wise before we round-up their raw performance capabilities.

Flagship smartphone 2019 specs


3DMark Sling Shot Extreme

3DMark Sling Shot is an advanced 3D graphics benchmark that tests the full range of OpenGL ES 3.1 and ES 3.0 API features including multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback. The test also includes impressive volumetric lighting and post-processing effects.

With this gaming benchmark, the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max pulled clearly ahead of the Android competition, with the next closest competitor being the Asus ROG Phone II with a score of 8,188, some 2,000 points behind the iPhone 11 Pro Max's score of 10,969. Clearly, Apple's GPU is quite a bit ahead of even the newer Snapdragon chips, while the Mate 30 Pro's Kirin 990 obviously has quite a bit of catching up to do.


Antutu v.7.2.2

AnTuTu is an all-in-one benchmark that tests CPU, GPU, memory, and storage. The CPU benchmark evaluates both integer and floating-point performance, while the GPU tests assess 2D and 3D performance, the memory test measures available memory bandwidth and latency, and the storage tests gauge the read and write speeds of a device's flash memory.


With this, the iPhone 11 Pro Max surges ahead again with a score of 462,098 compared to the 430,002 from the Pixel 4XL. The next fastest is the Asus ROG Phone II, which also uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 processor (the 855 Plus to be precise). Evidently, Qualcomm has caught up and exceeded Samsung's Exynos and HiSilicon's Kirin chips.



JetStream 2

JetStream 2 measures the browsing performance of a device when processing JavaScript. It not only takes into consideration the underlying hardware performance, but rewards browsers that start quickly, execute code well, and run smoothly. It runs a total of 64 subtests for multiple iterations, with each benchmark weighed equally, taking the geometric mean to compute the overall score.


On this benchmark. the iPhone 11 Pro Max's score of 153.68 was more than twice that of the nearest competitor, the Asus ROG Phone II. This came in with a score of 67.38, speaking to the speed of iOS devices when processing JavaScript. Among the Android devices, the Snapdragon-driven ROG Phone II and Pixel 4XL again fared better than the Mate 30 Pro and Galaxy Note 10+, with scores of 67.38 and 53.513 respectively.   


Geekbench CPU

Geekbench CPU is a cross-platform processor benchmark that tests both single-core and multi-core performance with workloads that simulate real-world usage. Geekbench 5 scores are calibrated against a baseline score of 1,000 (which is the score of an Intel Core i3-8100U CPU processor).

No surprise that the iPhone 11 Pro also comes in tops here, given how well it's performed so far. The curiosity would be the Mate 30 Pro, which scored second in terms of Multi-core performance, but only fourth for single-core performance. We'd put that down to software optimisation, with the Kirin 990 chip being better able to split the workload among its multiple cores. 

All the raw benchmarking aside, one thing to note is that we're dealing with the best flagship phones in the market and despite what the graphs paint, none of them are slow at any particular task. All devices are very responsive and buttery smooth no matter what application, task or game you throw at it. The one distinction here is the ROG Phone II's 120Hz screen which makes it even more enjoyable and responsive - more so in gaming and if you choose to slap on its optional accessories for even better mobile gameplay experience.


Battery Life

Battery life is as much about physical capacity as it is optimisation. In this shootout, the iPhone 11 Pro Max's 3,500mAh battery marked the low end, while the largest battery belonged to the Asus ROG Phone II, with its whopping 6,000mAh battery. The Mate 30 Pro and the Galaxy Note 10+ were closer in capacity at 4,500mAh and 4,300mAh respectively, while the Pixel 4XL's battery slots somewhere in between the low-end at 3,700mAh.  

Our standard battery test for mobile phones has the following parameters:

  • Looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

As you can see, the iPhone does quite poorly on this, lagging a good 200 minutes less than the worst Android competitor. Following up from what we were saying earlier, the phone with best battery life actually turned out to be the Mate 30 Pro as that clocked an impressive 1,260 minutes, which is about 21 hours!

This despite having a battery that has about 25% less capacity than the ROG Phone II! Of course, other factors are at play beyond just sheer battery capacity like the processor models used, OS optimization and the many other phone components it has to juggle. Factors like even screen brightness come into play here and contribute to higher battery drain.

On that note, while the Samsung Galaxy Note10+'s maximum achievable brightness is 1,308 nits, this is only possible under extremely bright settings outdoors and when left to the device to handle brightness automatically. Maximum manual brightness slider control only coughs out up to 560 nits according to Displaymate (as pointed out by a keen reader who wrote to us), but that too is based on a tiny level of bright pixels to display. Nominally speaking, the highest brightness the phone can achieve with the manual brightness slider set to maximum, is about 400+ nits. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro also generally achieves this same level of brightness as reported by Anandtech. The iPhone 11 Pro, however, according to Displaymate, can handle over 820 nits easily!

This could explain why the iPhone comparison in our shootout faired quite poorly in comparison along with its limited battery capacity. Having said that, we've chosen to keep to the maximum brightness testing parameter to showcase how each phone can handle high brightness situations (though not as much as the bright outdoors) as a form as stress testing the device, but within an indoor controlled environment all through our test period. As such, you can use our reported outcome as a worst-case-scenario of sorts.