Times are changing, mobile technology is advancing, so it’s only logical for us to once again revisit the benchmark smackdown that should in theory show beyond the shadow of a doubt what the world’s strongest smartphone is.
Why only three?
As I hope you all remember, we’ve started this series of benchmark comparisons a couple of months ago by pitting the Galaxy S4 against the S4 LTE-A, HTC One and Sony Xperia Z Ultra, after which we’ve added LG’s G2 in the mix.
Now I’m afraid it’s time to ditch the GS4 and HTC One (they’re slowly but steadily getting outdated, you see), as well as the S4 LTE-A (still unavailable outside Korea) and Xperia Z Ultra (too big, too niche, also only available in parts of the world). At the same time though, we’re ecstatic to welcome the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1 in this increasingly competitive war, so ultimately the fight will be between the two and the G2.
On paper, the three should start the duel on (almost) equal footing, as they all pack quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processors paired with complementary Adreno 330 GPUs. Then again, Note 3’s chip is the only one clocked at 2.3 GHz (the other two are 2.2 GHz units), plus Samsung’s “next big thing” also comes with 3 gigs of RAM in tow.
Not to mention Sammy, Sony and LG all have their own personal understanding of what software optimizations, skins and UIs should look like, which, as you’ll soon see, will produce unexpectedly different scores in most synthetic benchmarks. All that being said, the ultimate benchmark smackdown of the fall of 2013 starts in 3, 2, 1…
LG G2: 29,000 – 35,000 points
Samsung Galaxy Note 3: 29,000 – 33,000
Sony Xperia Z1: 17,000 – 26,000
Before jumping to conclusions, a very important disclaimer, which is not only valid for AnTuTu, but all the benchmark results we’re going to show you. While the G2 is already up on store shelves and has been thoroughly tested and reviewed in its final commercial form, the other two have been formally unveiled just last week and the only one-on-one time reviewers have been able to get with them has been with pre-release prototypes.
In other words, don’t take Note 3 and Z1’s scores for granted yet, even if there’s a good chance they’ll not be considerably boosted once the phones see daylight.
That said, Xperia Z1’s AnTuTu performance is head-scratchingly poor. Even if we take the thing’s highest score, it still puts it, along with its Snapdragon 800 CPU, barely above the S600-powered Galaxy S4. What the hell happened there, Sony?
Meanwhile, the G2 snatches this crown from the Note 3 quite comfortably… at the moment, albeit 2,000 points doesn’t sound like a gap impossible to cover once people get their grubby hands on a finished, fully optimized Samsung phablet.
Galaxy Note 3: 1,200 points
Xperia Z1: 1,000
LG G2: 950
Surprise, surprise, as one of Qualcomm’s most reliable benchmarks, measuring “CPU subsystem performance of mobile processors”, puts the Note 3 ahead of the pack and the G2 in last place. I honestly have no idea why the ranking is so different than in AnTuTu and the only explanation I can muster is one of the two tests has to be wrong. Probably AnTuTu, even though those scores are based on several tests, while these just on one.
GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt and 2.7 Rex (1080p off-screen)
Galaxy Note 3: 68 and 23 fps
Xperia Z1: 55 and 23
LG G2: 54 and 22
The G2 is dead last once again, this time in a competition of GPU performance. But as all three phones pack the exact same GPU and Full HD displays, the software and possibly RAM are yet one more time the key elements that boost the scores up or force the lowering of the bar.
Bottom line or at least bottom line based on two tests, Samsung has done wonders with skinning, forking and optimizing Android to squeeze every last drop of CPU and GPU juice out of the S800/Adreno 330 combo, whereas LG has failed in rising to the occasion. For now…
Galaxy Note 3: 650 milliseconds
Xperia Z1: 830 ms
It comes as no surprise that the Note 3 prevails yet again, although, even knowing Samsung and their incredible software optimizing work, the gap between the leader here and the competition is mind-boggling. Well done, Sammy, truly well done!
Galaxy Note 3: 98
LG G2: 99
Xperia Z1: 115
Another test where “lower is better”, this time evaluating the CPU speed, as well as the overloading of an Android device and the software smoothness, Benchmark Pi also shows the Note 3 on top of everybody else’s game, but only by a whisker.
And now it’s the G2 that breathes down the new GNote’s neck, meaning LG has most likely done at least one thing right in the software department: it hasn’t filled the 5.2-incher to the brim with unnecessary bloatware. Which is not what one can say about Sony, I’m afraid.
Five different benchmarks, four of which have been topped by the Note 3, three of which by a mile. Is there anything left to comment? I think not, other than congratulating LG and Sony for their decent yet not solid enough efforts. Maybe next time, guys, maybe next time. As for Samsung, what can I say, they’re the man!