Oh no, we didn’t! Oh yes, we did! Added a new installment to our epic high-end smartphone benchmarking saga, that is. Or rather we’re adding it in the following lines.
Which is downright scandalous for some, since, you know, benchmarks have become the biggest taboo around following the cheating allegations directed to Samsung and that apply, through extension, to essentially all Android OEMs.
So with all that in mind, what is the point of continuing to take benchmarking tests seriously? Well, that’s exactly the thing, we’re not. Instead, how about we look at it like a game? With the only rule being there are no rules.
Sounds fun? It does to us, especially when the players are LG and Google’s sizzling hot Nexus 5, fresh off its formal intro and commercial launch, plus “old-timers” Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Sony Xperia Z1, LG G2 and Apple iPhone 5s. There can only be one:
Samsung Galaxy Note 3: 34,000 – 36,000 points
LG G2: 33,000 – 36,000
Sony Xperia Z1: 32,000 – 34,000
Nexus 5: 26,000 – 29,000
Since iFans insist on avoiding AnTuTu like a plague (cough, because they’re afraid, cough), the fight in this oh-so-unreliable yet oh-so-influential and famous benchmark is a four-way affair between Android’s top dogs.
Fairly predictable, Google’s Nexus 5, sans any kind of software optimizations, special UIs or unorthodox tricks up its sleeve, trails behind the competition, though not by so much. After all, on paper, all the members of this quartet pack the same exact CPU/GPU combo, with only the GNote 3 distinguishing itself from the pack, courtesy of a RAM boost (3 vs. 2 GB).
Be that as it may, at the very top there’s little to choose between the Note 3, G2 and Z1, each being capable of snatching the gold medal on a good day. In Z1’s case, provided the other two don’t feel so well when tested.
Sunspider comparison (lower is better)
Apple iPhone 5s: 415 milliseconds
Galaxy Note 3: 600
Nexus 5: 720
Xperia Z1: 750
LG G2: 900
It’s time to get serious. Or at least that’s how Apple aficionados like to think of Sunspider: a “serious”, rigorous, meticulous, trustworthy benchmark test. Yeah, of course they’ll say that now when their precious dominates the ranks, but wait until Cupertino blows it here too and the besmirching shall begin.
For now, let’s give credit where credit is due and admit that, as far as browser speed goes, even with the N5 added in the mix, the iPhone 5s remains king. But while we’re on the subject of the N5, let’s not move past its result in Sunspider so quickly.
Though “based” on the G2 and technically sitting lower on the totem pole as far as pricing is concerned (much lower), the 5-incher beats its cousin to the punch. And the Xperia Z1 too, another uber-pricey giant. Now that’s worth some praise.
GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex HD
iPhone 5s – 39 fps onscreen and 27 offscreen
Galaxy Note 3 – 27/27 fps
Nexus 5 – 24/23
Xperia Z1 – 23/23
LG G2 – 20/22
Oh snap, the Nexus 5 once again comes out on top in its duel with the Z1 and G2. Not by much and you can practically say the N5 and Z1 are equals in a theoretical GPU performance bout. But the fact of the matter is this $350 minion quite clearly plays in the same speed league as devices that cost roughly twice as much.
As for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, it’s still number two, but that gap to gold medal is simply mind-boggling. With shenanigans most likely included, which makes Apple’s iPhone 5s look that much more impressive.
Galaxy Note 3: 22,000
LG G2: 21,000
Sony Xperia Z1: 21,000
Nexus 5: 8,000 – 9,000
It’s time to leave the pesky iPhone out of the games again, as we have on our hands yet another very popular, almost notorious benchmark that for some reason (lack of optimization maybe) isn’t a priority for the Cupertino-based player.
The thing is there’s something fishy going on with the scores reported by Google and LG’s Nexus 5 in Quadrant. Like really, really fishy. I mean, a gap of a couple thousand points I may understand, but the N5 scoring almost three times as low as the other three? That’s X Files material.
And you can’t say Quadrant is a one-of-a-kind test that measures something no other similar app can. It basically does what AnTuTu does, evaluating CPU, I/O and 3D graphics performance. So what gives? Frankly, I have no idea, but it does make me think. Could there be something off with the pre-loaded stock Android 4.4 KitKat?
Galaxy Note 3: 16.22
iPhone 5s: 15.54
Xperia Z1: 14.49
Nexus 5: 14.27
LG G2: 12.53
Let’s be honest. This wasn’t at the top of anyone’s lists of meaningful, popular, notorious benchmarks until the news broke last week that the Nexus 5 was ranked second all-around in gaming efficiency, right behind Apple’s iPhone 5s.
Oddly, there’s no trace of the GNote 3 on Rightware’s official website at this time, but after doing some digging we’ve tracked down a couple of tests of the 5.7-incher, where it actually undercuts even the 5s. Another bizarre thing is that the Z1 is now listed as better for gaming than the N5, albeit by a fraction of a point.
Bottom line, the ranks are fairly inconclusive, as the gaps are minuscule, but one key aspect of the test that has to be underlined is the LG-made Nexus 5 defeats its technically bigger, more impressive brother, the G2.
That’s three out of five and, if you needed it, additional reason to go out and buy the N5 ASAP… if you can find it. Good luck and please be kind in the comments section below with your snarky remarks about the pointlessness and uselessness of benchmarks.