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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus – Specs comparison

Again with the new iPhone(s)? Isn’t The Droid Guy supposed to be an Android-centric website? Leave droid fans alone. Be honest, you were thinking or wondering one of these things before you even finished reading our headline.


And we completely understand your frustration. For the past two weeks or so, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus rumor roundups, previews, hands-on explorations and finally reviews have inundated the tech-focused part of the interwebs.

Just one more reason to keep your online activity fixated on funny cat pics and (human) porn, huh? Not so fast. Because like it or not, iPhones make the Android scene better. And vice versa. Who do you think got Tim Cook to infuriate Steve Jobs from beyond the grave by embracing “phablets”?

iPhone 6 Plus

Anyhoo, the bottom line is it’s wholly necessary to give credit where credit is due, and dissect the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus along with everybody else until reaching the conclusion we can do better. Not to mention cheaper.

But above all, better. Enter Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4, the definitive top-of-the-line 2014 jumbo-sized smartphone. A phablet worth waiting for. And here’s why:

Note 4 vs. iPhone 6 Plus – design and build quality comparison

Call me rash, reckless, whatever, I’m calling it – it’s the last year Apple ever wins an aesthetics battle against a Samsung flagship. Come spring of 2015, it’s bye, bye, metallic iPhone domination. That’s because the Note 4 is clearly meant to transition users from the old, ill-advised plastic-reliant design direction to a new approach, revolving around aluminum and possibly, other premium materials.

Galaxy Note 4 vs iPhone 6 Plus

So yeah, the 6 Plus still looks a little more elegant and feels a little stronger than the GNote 4. Emphasis on little, as the half-metal/half-plastic Samsung spearhead is significantly shorter, at 153 mm (vs. 158). Outstanding engineering feat, given it also offers the larger usable screen real estate (5.7 vs. 5.5 inches).

And yes, the rear on the iPhone 6 Plus is decidedly sexy, but the bulging camera is a vexing blemish on an otherwise spotless chassis. Good for us.

Galaxy Note 4 vs. iPhone 6 Plus – display duel

Sure, iFans, the Quad HD screen resolution on the Note 4 is a gimmick. Unlike your “Retina” iPad panels, which are all about real-life, naked-eye-noticeable image and video reproduction quality. Keep telling yourselves that. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to constantly remind yourselves 1 gig of RAM is plenty for a 2014 high-end smartphone.


At the end of the day, the fact of the matter is Note 4’s display boasts 515 ppi pixel density, and the iPhone 6 Plus 401. So much win!

Processing speed and RAM smackdown

Early benchmarks show the new iPhones heavily outperforming their main Android-running rivals. Apple-friendly benchmarks, that is, like SunSpider or Kraken. Meanwhile, 3DMark, for instance, puts both the 6 and 6 Plus behind the Galaxy S5 and Note 3 in overall performance.

No Quadrant scores, no Vellamo and, of course, no way to compare any of the existing results to what the Note 4 can pull off.


Either way, we know benchmarks aren’t worth very much, and in real life, the 6 Plus and Note 4 are both beastly slabs. Perhaps the zippiest in the world, alongside maybe the LG G3. As always, we expect Apple to have invested thousands of man hours and nearly limitless resources in carefully optimizing every little line of software code, whereas Samsung has Qualcomm’s fastest SoC and a whopping 3 gigs of RAM to take care of business.

Granted, the 64-bit architecture of Apple’s A8 chip is impossible to ignore, and bound to offer up the 6 Plus an important advantage. Then again, the scanty 1 GB RAM is even impossibler (not a real word, I know) to ignore, giving back the overall edge to the Note 4.

iPhone 6 Plus teardown

Final verdict: Samsung wins.

Software, battery life and storage

Our love for all things Android is no big secret, and neither is our bias in favor of Google’s mobile OS. But even the most rabid droid fan has to admit iOS 8 looks pretty good. Clean as a whistle, very minimalistic and a wee bit more customizable than before.

iOS 8 vs KitKat

That said, pretty much everything iOS 8 can do, Android 4.4 KitKat does better. And the next version, L, likely on its way to the Note 4 by the end of the year, should further increase the smoothness gap. Multitasking, personality, versatility, even ease of use, L has it all, at least on paper.

Which brings us to the autonomy bout. Impossible to call at the moment, it’ll probably be a very evenly matched contest. Yes, the Note 4 does pack the larger cell (3,220 vs. 2,915 mAh), but it also comes with the bigger, higher-res, more power-demanding screen in tow. And possibly, the less frugal processor too.

Galaxy Note 4 back

Moving on, the storage battle would be close too… were it not for Cupertino’s aversion for external microSD card slots. Which once again makes Android look good. Really good.

Cameras, sensors and others

Don’t you even start. We don’t want to hear it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Apple is the very best in the biz at optimizing software for better battery life, smoother performance and superior camera capabilities. But there’s only so much that can do for a mediocre 8 MP sensor-toting rear snapper.

For crying out loud, the main cam on the Note 4 sports twice the megapixel count, plus every single add-on the iPhone 6 Plus brings to the table: optical image stabilization, autofocus, LED flash. And let’s not forget 2K video recording, which the iPhone can’t do.


As for selfie nuts, they’d better not give the 6 Plus a second thought, what with its sub-par 1.2 MP front shooter. The Note 4? It’s all about self-portraits, rocking a generous 3.7 MP sensor on the front and 1,080p video shooting support.

And now, for the grand finale. Both contenders tick the fingerprint scanner box, but only one the heart rate monitor category. And guess which one comes with a bundled S Pen and stylus support? How about a UV sensor?

Galaxy Note 4 UV sensor

Meanwhile, Apple is going on and on and on about NFC inclusion, a feature that’s been around in the Android universe for years. Including on mid-rangers.

Pricing and availability

If there’s one battle Apple wins without great resistance, it’s the availability fight. Good thing that’s something to build a successful war campaign on, not an atomic bomb. And clearly, the iPhone 6 Plus doesn’t have enough weapons to survive the war, let alone win it.

iPhone 6 line

Go ahead, buy your fancy, uber-hyped, underwhelming iPhones today, iSheep iFans, because we’ll have the last laugh come mid-October, when Note 4s start shipping. Prices? $300 with AT&T and Verizon contracts, available now on pre-order through Amazon, ditto on Sprint, and $700 or so outright.

Remember, the iPhone 6 Plus also goes for $300 and up, only their $300 variant sports half of Samsung’s $300 Note 3’s internal storage – 16 GB. Oh, look, the 6 Plus is down for the count. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, you’re done!

HTC One (M8) vs HTC One – Specs Comparison

When Samsung unveiled the somewhat underwhelming Galaxy S5, HTC brashly suggested buyer’s remorse will be coming soon to early adopters of the “next big thing”. They also promised competition will be “one-upped” by the sequel to the outstanding if not underrated 2013 HTC One, raising the bar of expectations way beyond the company’s real potential.


Making matters worse, the “All New HTC One” quickly became the unwanted star of possibly the loftiest leak fest in Android history. I realize you’ve probably heard this before, but the phone was truly the worst kept secret of all time.

The rumor bonanza baffled HTC to the extent they actually ran out of branding ideas, ultimately leaving it to their distribution partners to choose a moniker. Any moniker. As such, the 5 incher is called The all new HTC One (M8) by Verizon, the HTC One – M8 by Sprint, and HTC One (M8) at AT&T. That’s beyond confusing.

HTC M8 vs HTC One

And it’s not even HTC’s biggest anxiety. I mean, sure, it’s bad that prospective buyers will have a hard time figuring out which model is newer based on names, but it’s much worse that the regular folk, you know, the non-geeks, may not be able to tell the difference when looking or handling the two either.

Sounds like a major identity crisis, so what we’ll try to do in the following lines is untangle the puzzle of the upgrade. Did HTC actually enhance anything? Is the HTC One (M8) better than the HTC One (M7)? How and, most importantly, is it good enough? Let’s see:

HTC One 2014 vs HTC One 2013 – design comparison

First things first, my head is starting to hurt from all the pseudonym shifts, so let’s agree to settle on one set of aliases. How about… the M8 and M7? Good? Good, so now all we have to do is find the upgrades.


Well, strictly from an aesthetic standpoint, the M8 and M7 are clearly not alike. But is the former actually better designed? Hardly. It’s marginally taller, wider and heavier, plus it’s not exactly compact, accommodating a set of rather broad bezels.

The build quality is stunning on the M8, with roughly 90 percent of the chassis made of robust, handsome aluminum (compared to 70 percent on the M7), yet the handheld all in all is pretty slippery and still prone to little scratches.


And then there’s the rounded corner aspect, which at the end of the day is a personal taste affair. I for one loved, loved, loved HTC M7’s rectangular vibe and, while I don’t hate M8’s “curves”, I feel they cheapen the exceptional build.

HTC M8 vs HTC M7 – display face-off

Instead of again offering my own subjective view on things and likely piss you off, I’ll ask you a very important question. It’s a biggie, so think it through. Do you believe bigger is better? If yes, then M8’s display is better. If no, then it’s not. Simple as that.


For the record, M8’s screen is a 5-inch Super LCD3 unit with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels resolution, whereas M7’s is virtually identical, just smaller, at 4.7 inches. Resulting ppi? 441 and 469 respectively. Sure, there’s a gap there, but it’s barely noticeable in real life.

Processing speed, RAM and cameras

Phew, I was beginning to fear HTC truly did nothing to alter the 2013 One, aside from fixing what wasn’t broken – the design. But they did swap the 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600 chip with a 2.3 GHz (2.5 in Asia) Snapdragon 801.

The performance bump isn’t drastic, yet it’s perceptible, and to be fair, there was nowhere higher to go. The Snapdragon 805 CPUs aren’t out, Nvidia’s latest Tegras are unworthy, and MediaTek still has a few things to learn before being invited in the big leagues.

HTC One M8

Congrats to HTC for making the logical choice processor-wise, but what happened in the RAM department? Well, nothing. The M7 packs 2 GB of memory, the M8 likewise, and meanwhile, the six month-old Galaxy Note 3 carries 3 gigs. Face, meet palm.

But wait, there’s more. Embarrassment, that is. M7’s disappointing rear-facing 4 MP UltraPixel shooter is somehow alive, standing and rebooted for the M8. Why? Because… HTC is masochistic like that? Don’t know, I’m just spitballing here.


The fact of the matter is M8’s primary camera is every bit as mediocre as M7’s. Maybe worse, as it ditches optical image stabilization. And the much hyped Duo Camera is nothing but a useless gimmick. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it improves autofocus time, depth perception and post-processing effects, but does nothing for actual snapshot quality.

On the bright side, selfies. Vibrant, crystal clear, smooth selfies taken with a 5 MP front cam. Ugh!

Software and battery life

HTC’s Sense UI has traditionally had an overwhelming number of detractors and very few admirers. Only the balance is beginning to tip in Sense’s favor.

HTC BlinkFeed

Not as intrusive as back in the day, the user interface, complemented by an increasingly convenient BlinkFeed, brings much more benefits to the table than downsides for a change, which made HTC feel assured enough to already unveil a Google Play Edition with “vanilla” Android 4.4 KitKat.    

That’s double points for the M8 in its fratricide duel with the M7, and, believe it or not, the 5 incher puts another one in the win column thanks to battery life. Be honest, you didn’t really welcome the news of the 2014 One featuring a 2,600 mAh battery, did you?

HTC M8 battery test

That’s a measly 300 mAh north of M7’s juicer capacity, and, considering the size and processor boost, you undoubtedly expected similar autonomy numbers. However, two extremely reliable battery tests put the M8 significantly ahead of its predecessor, with results that exceed even those of the LG G2 or Galaxy Note 3. Wow!

Audio, connectivity, storage and pricing

Look at that, HTC somehow managed to make the outstanding BoomSound speakers better. Richer, louder, clearer and, possibly, the all-around best sound system in the mobile business. Oh, and remember how you weren’t able to carry around all your photos, videos and whatnot due to the M7 not supporting storage expansion? That’s no longer the case, and you can stick a 128 GB microSD card inside the M8.

True, the HTC One now starts at an inferior 16 GB of built-in storage, but hey, don’t you prefer to be able to expand that to 144 rather than be forced to settle for 32? I know I do.

HTC One M8 music

The connectivity and sensors area offers no big surprise or shocker, with everything from 4G LTE to NFC present, but no swanky fingerprint recognition or heart rate monitor technology.

Pricing-wise, the M8 is around the ballpark we anticipated, namely $200 with 24-month pacts, $650 outright, and $700 contract-free in a Google Play edition. That’s no bargain, but it ain’t a rip-off either. And it’s mostly on par with M7’s initial costs.


Wrapping up, I’ll hold back from handing down a verdict and instead pass the mic to you. Is the HTC One (M8) significantly better than the One (M7), considering it’s got a punchier CPU, beefier battery, larger display, more gifted front camera, smoother software and extra microSD slot, but a so-so design, inferior ppi, mediocre rear shooter, and just adequate RAM?

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5s vs Sony Xperia Z2 – Benchmark Comparison

Though Samsung never really acknowledged it did anything wrong vis-à-vis artificially boosting benchmarks in the past, last week brought the surprising and refreshing news of sneaky code being removed from Galaxy devices with Android 4.4 KitKat upgrades.

iPhone 5s Xperia Z2 Galaxy S5

Technically, this should greatly increase the credibility of “synthetic tests” on Samsung-made Android gadgets, as well as for the entire ecosystem, albeit truth be told, benchmark scores are never to be taken excessively seriously, regardless of their theoretical accuracy.

Remember, everyone, it’s all very abstract, in theory, on paper. As such, especially when dealing with minuscule gaps, you’re unlikely to notice them in real life. Oftentimes, rankings are overturned, due to certain optimizations that performance-measuring software can’t possibly evaluate.

Bottom line, yes, benchmark scores can still be misleading, deceiving, confusing. But right now, they’re a tad more credible than a week ago. So here we are, ready to pit the spanking new Samsung Galaxy S5 against the equally as fresh Sony Xperia Z2 and mighty but aging Apple iPhone 5s. It’s all in good fun, yet it may also answer a few key controversies.


Is the GS5 truly “more of the same”? At least as far as its raw speed is concerned. Does Sony have a shot at the mobile gold medal this year? Should Apple hurry up with iPhone 6 development, or is the 5s in a position to fend off up-and-coming rivals despite its age? Let’s see.

GFX Bench 2.7 1080p T-Rex Offscreen

Sony Xperia Z2 – 27.7 fps

Galaxy S5 – 27.2

iPhone 5s – 26.2

Galaxy S5 GFX Bench

Since we’re looking at a graphics reviewer and both the GS5 and Z2 pack the same exact GPU – Adreno 330 – we expected very close, maybe even identical scores. And that’s exactly what we got. Yet there is a small gap here, and it’s quite puzzling, as if anything, we anticipated the S5 would come out on top, thanks to its higher-clocked 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 chip.

The iPhone 5s? It’s not far behind, but it’s starting to struggle. And mind you, GFX Bench is a lot more reliable than, say, AnTuTu, as well as nearly impossible to game.

GFX Bench 3.0 1080p Manhattan Offscreen

Galaxy S5 – 11.6 fps

iPhone 5s – 10.9

Sony Xperia Z2 – 10.1

iPhone 5s GFX Bench

Okay, this is confusing. Though the two GFX tests gauge performance from the same standpoint, graphics, their findings are anything but conclusive or stable. What’s up with that? To be perfectly honest, I have no idea.

What’s obvious is the three beasts are neck and neck, so I’ll avoid naming an overall winner. Oh, alright, if you insist, the S5 seems to (barely) edge out its opponents.

SunSpider (lower is better)

Galaxy S5 – 408 ms

iPhone 5s – 415

Sony Xperia Z2 – 952

Oh, wow, Sony, you really screwed the pooch in browser performance, which is much more important than graphics for many mobile users. Well, it looks like it, but I wouldn’t jump to conclusions just yet. Unlike the GFX Bench results, which came from the horse’s mouth, S5 and Z2’s Sunspider marks were reported in preliminary hands-on previews at Barcelona’s MWC.

Not only were there too few to grade them trustworthy, they likely counted on pre-release prototypes. Probably, a highly advanced S5 prototype and a much clunkier Z2 variant. So no, I don’t think Sony’s big guy will be quite as laggy once it officially rolls out. Meanwhile, the S5 is ready to overtake the iPhone 5s in essentially the latter’s best benchmark, so kudos Samsung.

Basemark X

iPhone 5s – 1,015 points average; 20,220 in Basemark X 1.1 Medium

Galaxy S5 – 986 average, 23,501 in Basemark X 1.1

Sony Xperia Z2 – 25,172 in Basemark X 1.1

iPhone 5s Basemark

Rightware’s otherwise conclusive and reliable database lacks the Z2 at the moment, so its mind-blowing Basemark X 1.1 score is preliminary and undependable. Which is not what we can say about the iPhone and S5. Only their results are fairly muddy and confusing.

Overall, as you can see on Rightware’s homepage, the iPhone 5s is the fourth best phone in the world, behind the Asus PadFone Infinity 2 (?), Pantech Vega Secret Note (?!), and Nexus 5 (?!?), but ahead of the S5.

Galaxy S5 Basemark

Break it up by chapters though, and Apple isn’t leading Samsung by a very comfortable margin. In fact, the two each put a couple in the win column, in system and web speed and memory and graphics respectively, so in a way, they’re tied.

3DMark Ice Storm

Samsung Galaxy S5 – 18,438

iPhone 5s – 14,000


Let’s not beat it around the bush anymore. Galaxy S5’s Adreno 330 GPU, aided by the quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip and possibly software optimizations, trumps iPhone’s PowerVR G6430. Ice Storm proves it, as does GFX Bench and even Basemark. So if you want rich, outstanding graphics, the “next big thing” is your guy.

Or maybe it’s Sony’s Xperia Z2, not yet rated in Ice Storm, not fully evaluated in Basemark but looking pretty close to the S5 in GFX Bench.


Galaxy S5 – 35,500 points

Xperia Z2 – 35,000

Ah, the infamous, notorious AnTuTu! Always dodged by Cupertino, but embraced by all Android OEMs as it’s one of very few tools around focusing on more than a couple of aspects. Sure, it’s extremely easy to trick, but assuming the shenanigans are over, let’s remember it rounds up CPU, RAM, GPU and I/O (input/output) performance for one big score.

Predictably enough, there’s little to choose between our two flagships, as the S5 rocks the ever so slightly zippier processor, whereas the Z2 packs an extra gig of RAM. The GPUs are identical, so there you have it: two overall cutting-edge slabs of silicon.


Galaxy S5 – 23,400 points

Xperia Z2 – 17,600

Xperia Z2 Quadrant

Another benchmark ignored by Apple and its fans, Quadrant is a little more dependable than AnTuTu, but not as comprehensive. It focuses on CPU, I/O and 3D graphics, leaving RAM aside, and like Sunspider, it shows that there might be something very wrong with Z2’s on-board software.

Either that, or there was something wrong at one point during the manufacturing process, because once again, the tests may have been executed on unfinished, glitchy devices. Regardless of how the Xperia Z2 will end up performing, the S5 is undoubtedly hard to beat. Almost impossible, which puts a few things into perspective.

For instance, should we still care the phone’s rear is as ugly as sin? Can we continue to bitch and moan Samsung didn’t truly upgrade the Galaxy S4 when it’s clear the S5 is the fastest smartphone in the world? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Sources: GFX Bench, GSM Arena, Phone Arena, Rightware, Expert Reviews, YouTube, PC Mag, Anandtech 

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Review Roundup: Trendsetter or Trend Follower? Or Maybe Both…

Amidst accusations of benchmark cheating, which among others would likely overturn the pecking order in our epic comparisons and smackdowns, region-locking scandals and intensifying rumors of a Galaxy Note 3 “Active” variant with curved display being in the works, you might have actually missed the biggest event of the fall as far as the Android landscape is concerned.


It’s here at last

That’s right, the GNote 3 went up for sale… in a number of markets, with all the rest set to follow suit over the next couple of weeks or so. Stateside, the spectacular 5.7-inch phablet can be scored at the time of this writing via T-Mobile and AT&T (both on and off-contracts), while Sprint and Verizon continue to sit on the sidelines (not for long though).

With the rolling out of the first commercial units to everyday users, the reviews have started popping up all over the interwebs, including those of the tech-focused online publications we all read, love and/or respect.


So after months and months of waiting, speculating and waiting some more, it’s finally time to see whether Samsung has yet another hit on its hands or the first flop in… a while. Is the Note 3 in reality as spectacular as it looks on paper? Is it worth upgrading from the Note 2? How about from the Galaxy S4? And last but not least, how does it handle the increasing Sony and LG competition? Well, let’s see, shall we?

Quick side note: As the Exynos flavor of the Note 3 is bound to be once again limited to a small number of markets, we’ve only taken into consideration reviews of the Qualcomm model, packing a quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU.


The good:

  • Samsung’s designing team has worked its “voodoo magic” splendidly once again, managing to fit the 5.7-inch Note 3 into a more compact body than the 5.5-inch Note 2;
  • The display looks great, with bright and vibrant colors, brightness and contracts that make images “pop” and wide viewing angles;
  • There’s a bevy of Samsung-specific apps that add to the overall productivity of the device, squeezing every drop of S Pen functionality and making the user feel special;
  • The overall performance “has to be applauded”, even if you ignore the cold, raw numbers of benchmark tests (wink, wink).


The bad:

  • An overly saturated screen at times;
  • Some of the software perks don’t add real value or simply don’t work as advertised, making the system a little bloated;
  • Disappointing speaker quality;
  • Slightly overpriced.


Bottom line: This is Samsung’s best Note yet and “if you’re thinking about making the step up, we say get it while it’s hot”.

The Verge


  • Raw power isn’t everything, but there’s plenty of raw power here;
  • In spite of the vibrant display and always power-demanding CPU and GPU, the battery can likely last for 48 hours or more for most day-to-day users;
  • Though still plasticky, it has a much more premium and comfortable overall look and feel;
  • Improved S Pen productivity and oodles of software optimizations, tweaks and perks.



  • It may be compact, but it continues to be uncomfortably large for some, especially due to a “squarer, less ergonomic shape”;
  • The TouchWiz UI is bloated, gimmicky and often downright annoying;
  • The bright and colorful screen is inferior to those on the LG G2 or HTC One.


Verdict: Samsung’s opponents in the phablet arena are still forced to play catch up to the Galaxy Note, even if the spanking new 5.7-incher doesn’t “reinvent the wheel”.


Solid points:

  • Ultra-compact body and much more elegant and sophisticated overall look compared to predecessors;
  • Gorgeous screen that really makes use of both the extra real estate and Full HD resolution;
  • Wickedly fast and extremely capable 13 MP rear-facing camera;
  • Excellent call quality, with no distortions whatsoever;
  • 15-hour battery in continuous HD video playing.


Weak points:

  • Too expensive, going for $300 with most two-year American contracts;
  • It still feels cheap, as the back cover remains plasticky and fragile, despite not looking the part anymore;
  • It’s compact… for a phablet, but otherwise it’s huge and hard to handle.


Conclusion: Third time’s the charm for Samsung’s Galaxy Note family, which finally reaches maturity, although it can’t yet break into the mainstream as, say, the Galaxy S line.

Phone Arena

The good:

  • More advanced and deeper S Pen integration, with improved accessibility and productivity;
  • Marvelous display, especially when pitted against GNote 2’s screen;
  • It’s not for everyone, but TouchWiz has plenty of neat tricks up its sleeve;
  • Explosive battery, capable of running for a full 24 hours in heavy usage and close to two days in “normal usage”.


The bad:

  • Despite not being technically overpriced in that it’s worth every penny you cough up for it, its on-contract $300 price tag is borderline insane;
  • Sub-par built-in mono loudspeaker, even if it produces clear tones and no significant distortions;
  • Gimmicks, gimmicks and more gimmicks, as unique features like Air View and Gestures are not sufficiently well executed to be fully productive and useful.


Final wrap-up

First of all, I know. Four reviews may not seem like a representative sample of what the whole internet thinks about the Galaxy Note 3. But they come from websites that are as reliable as they are diverse, so, with a few minor exceptions, you can bet your asses everyone out and about will come to the same conclusions as these four guys.

What are the conclusions? In a nutshell, that the Note 3 improves greatly on the legacy of its forefathers and fits the profile of the most qualified candidate for the title of best phablet large phone this year.

Is it groundbreaking? Hardly. Is it worth the upgrade from the Note 2 or S4? Most definitely. Will it be left in the dust in a matter of six or nine months? Probably. But that’s how mobile technology works nowadays.

Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1 vs LG G2 vs iPhone 5s – Benchmark Comparison, Take Two

By popular demand and hopefully presumably to the utter despair and hopelessness of Apple fanboys, we’re already back with another spectacular installment of our high-end smartphone benchmarking saga.


Well, not so much “ours” as rounded up from a number of external sources, but you know how it is. Not everyone is important enough and not everyone is willing to do enough ass-kissing to score review units of the hottest, most technically impressive slabs of silicon out and about.

Also, money doesn’t grow on trees for us all, so buying the devices that are actually up for grabs and performing our own benchmarks is not an alternative either. Oh, well, maybe someday…

For the time being, let’s put those wicked analysis and summarization skills to use once again, as a new batch of benchmark results has popped up online. Sadly, I’ve not managed to find anything fresh on the Apple iPhone 5s front, which is not what I can say about Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3.

Still unavailable for sale in many markets across the globe, including the US of A, the GNote 3 has been put through an exhaustive series of tests by an old pal, YouTube user Mike of GadgetJM. So let us put the scores into further perspective by pitting them against those of the Sony Xperia Z1, LG G2 (some of which have been updated since our last look) and, where available, Apple’s iPhone 5s:

3DMark Unlimited – Ice Storm

Galaxy Note 3 – 19,000 points

Xperia Z1 – 17,200

LG G2 – 15,400

iPhone 5s – 14,000


That Apple’s latest crown jewel is no competition for Android giants in this ultra-demanding high-performance GPU test shouldn’t come as a shocker for anyone anymore. What’s a little surprising (emphasis on “little”) is GNote 3’s jaw-dropping edge over the Z1 and G2.

And mind you, Z1’s score is not that of a pre-release unit, but a fully functional, fully optimized and fully commercial product. Meanwhile, it’s still mind-boggling how LG’s stupid controversial software tweaks affect the hardware to the point that it puts off each and every speed addict. Pick yourself up, LG! After all, you’re using the same exact CPU/GPU combo as Samsung and Sony, aren’t you?

Geekbench 3.0

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – 2,900

Xperia Z1 – 2,800

iPhone 5s – 2,500

LG G2 – 2,200

Note 3 Geekbench

Seeing how aggressively Apple aficionados tech reviewers are flaunting this test around, making it seem like the Holy Grail of benchmarks, you’d think the iPhone 5s can at least fend off some of the competition. You know, the late 2013 competition, not the Galaxy S4 or HTC One many are comparing it against.

But alas (for them, not for us), the 5s doesn’t even play in the same league as the Note 3 or Z1. Sure, it beats the G2 to the punch, but do I really have to spell out for you who’s to blame for that?

Before moving on, a piece of advice for everyone tuning in: never, ever, ever trust one single benchmark, no matter how reliable it may seem and how impressive its “marketing” efforts. That said, the score is now Samsung 2 – Apple 0, even after a fight on Cupertino’s home turf. Chew on that, fanboys!


Galaxy Note 3 – 22,000

LG G2 – 21,700

Xperia Z1 – 20,700


After getting rid of the iPain in the ass (patent pending), which is systematically being tested only in a very specific handful of benchmarks (I wonder why), it’s time to become serious, stop with the jokes and puns and see which of Android’s beasts comes out on top as far as raw speed is concerned.

Well, I’m sorry, Sony, we believed in you, and also sorry, LG, we hardly knew you, but Samsung’s fantastic 5.7-incher is simply unbeatable. True, the Quadrant test, measuring CPU, I/O and 3D graphics performance, has delivered very close scores between these three super-phones, with the G2 actually undercutting the Z1 for once, but ultimately it’s still the Note 3 that prevails.

Vellamo HTML5

LG G2 – 2,910

Sony Xperia Z1 – 2,890

Note 3 – 2,870

Note 3 Vellamo

Talk about jumping to conclusions early, eh? Just as I was getting ready to declare the Note 3 the absolute heavyweight champion of the smartphone world, something like this happens and changes everything. Well, maybe not everything, but you have to admit the Vellamo HTML5 test makes the war a little more intriguing to watch.

And mind you, this is a benchmark evaluating mobile web browser performance, so it’s probably not easy for Samsung to yield a clash that’s likely to mean the world for many tech-savvy individuals out there. At the same time, it’s not like the Note 3 was crushed here, folding for a measly 40 points, which probably is nothing when translated into real-life speed.

GFX Bench 2.7 T-Rex HD onscreen

iPhone 5s – 37 fps

Galaxy Note 3 – 26

Xperia Z1 – 24

LG G2 – 23

iPhone 5s

Oh noes, the iPhone 5s is back in the mix and, for a change, tops the charts, actually bringing mayhem to its three adversaries. And that’s despite the Note 3, Z1 and LG G2, all tested before in GFX Bench, all boosting their initial scores. Bummer!

On the bright side, we know very well the reason why Apple’s top dog performs so impressively here is its lower-resolution screen. And you can try as much as you want, but you’ll never convince me the human eye detects nothing of the pixel density differences between the screen on the iPhone 5s, and, say, GNote 3’s stupendous Full HD Super AMOLED panel. Never!

I’m just too stubborn to get it through my thick head that 1,136 x 640 pixels, or 326 ppi, is the same thing as 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, or 386 ppi. End of story, bye, bye Apple and, oh, by the way, the Xperia Z1 and LG G2 have nothing on Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3. The king (i.e, the Galaxy S4) is dead, long live the new S Pen-toting king!  

iPhone 5s vs Galaxy Note 3 vs LG G2 vs Sony Xperia Z1 – Benchmark Comparison, Take One

If it’s not obvious already, you’re on an Android blog. And you’re reading the words of a relentless, unapologetic (wink, wink) Android aficionado. But that doesn’t mean I, as well as everyone here at The Droid Guy, don’t like to keep an open mind and just discard everything that doesn’t run Google’s silky smooth mobile OS.


So as hard as it might be for you to believe, I’m willing to give Apple’s new iPhone 5s a chance to divert my attention away from such jewels as Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and Note 3, LG’s G2 or Sony’s Xperia Z Ultra and Z1.

Sure, their newest best thing is tiny, sports a display that’s crammed and low-res and a rear-facing camera that on paper can’t hold a candle to Z1’s stupendous 20 MP snapper. But maybe Apple’s seemingly gimmicky 64-bit A7 CPU can turn things around for the iPhone 5S and make it such a powerhouse that all the flaws will pale in comparison.

Still, with the new iPhone only available for a few days and the GNote 3 or Xperia Z1 mostly unavailable around the world, we’ll have to give it some extra time until thorough enough reviews and benchmark tests will be performed to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt which of the three is the numero uno smartphone out there in terms of raw speed.


For now, we’ll have to settle with just bits and pieces, which are very important, mind you, but not 100% conclusive. Here goes the first part of the iPhone 5s vs Note 3 vs Xperia Z1 vs LG G2 ultimate benchmark smackdown.

SunSpider (lower is better)

iPhone 5S: 416 milliseconds

Galaxy Note 3: 650 ms

Xperia Z1: 830

LG G2: 900


In lack of iPhone 5s scores in popular benchmarking tools such as AnTuTu, Vellamo or Quadrant, we have to start the festivities with SunSpider, a test of browsing muscle. Probably unsurprising, Apple’s big guy puts one in the win column quite comfortably here, due to both its road-opening (we can’t deny them that) 64-bit processor and very particular software optimizations.

While the LG G2 and Xperia Z1 are clearly no competition for the 5s, we have to underline Note 3’s score came by way of a pre-release prototype’s test, meaning the commercial unit will likely get much closer to the iPhone. Then again, it’s unlikely to beat it, so point Apple.

Geekbench 3.0

Xperia Z1: 2,800 points

iPhone 5s: 2,500

LG G2: 2,100

Galaxy S4 Octa: 2,000

Sony Xperia Z1

Well, well, well, guess what, not all browser benchmarks are so kind to the new iPhone. Granted, the 2,500 score is pretty darn impressive, but since Geekbench theoretically relies more than anything on CPU performance, it should be pretty disappointing (for them, certainly not for us) to see Z1’s Snapdragon 800, a 32-bit SoC, kick A7’s ass. And by so much!

Meanwhile, the GNote 3 is yet to be taken through the Geekbench hoops, so I took the liberty to add the octa-core variant of the GS4 in the mix for comparison purposes. And true, this thing has nothing on the 5s. But a 500-point edge for a device released six months after its adversary is certainly not that remarkable, is it?

GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex HD offscreen and onscreen

iPhone 5s: 24.7 Fps and 37.4

Galaxy S4 LTE-A: 26.4 Fps and 26.5

Xperia Z1: 22.9 Fps and 24.1

LG G2: 21.8 Fps and 23.0

iPhone 5s GFX

The iPhone 5s takes this battle and is now two for three, which we have to admit is a very nice record. But it’s also not a conclusive one, since the Note 3 is once again missing the battle. Meanwhile, the LTE-Advanced flavor of the Galaxy S4 actually puts up a decent fight against the 5s, defeating it in the off-screen chapter of this very thorough GPU benchmark test, but being subsequently put to shame onscreen.

What does that tell us? Intriguingly, that the biggest iPhone 5s selling point in the performance department might not be the CPU after all, but instead the graphics processing unit. Or so it seems.

3DMark Unlimited – Ice Storm

Galaxy S4 LTE-A – 17,000 points

Xperia Z1 – 16,800

LG G2 – 15,400

iPhone 5s – 14,000


Now this is embarrassing. And I won’t even try to contain or hide my delight. How could I? I mean, the iPhone 5s came dead last in a competition based on a very meticulous and trustworthy test, which essentially measures how the CPU and GPU work together towards an only goal.

And once again, the Note 3 is yet to have its performance tested. Can you imagine how much Samsung’s 5.7-incher will change the ranks both here and in Geekbench and GFX Bench? I can and I tell you, it won’t look pretty for Apple.

But let’s back up for a second and look at the Ice Storm scores one more time. Something there that draws your attention? A shocker, maybe? Well, yeah, the Korean-only LTE-A GS4 comes out on top, defeating Apple’s “big” guy by an incredible margin of 3,000 points. With the risk of repeating myself, that… is… really… embarrassing.

Early conclusions

That’s a wrap, kind gentlemen and lovely ladies, but be sure to look through the source links below for more benchmarks, mostly starring the iPhone 5s. And remember, all the above is just a sample of the much too complex and complicated smackdown between the best smartphones of today.


Also, it’s too early for verdicts. Granted, the 5s looks mighty strong from a number of standpoints. But at the same time, given all that 64-bit hoopla, the world expected more. Did you? Is anyone really, truly, seriously considering jumping ship from Android to iOS? And if so, are you sure you don’t need a checkup?

Sources: Anandtech, Gizmodo, GFX Bench, Appadvice, PC Mag, YouTube, Tbreak, GSM Arena

LG G2 vs Galaxy S4 vs HTC One vs Xperia Z Ultra – Benchmark Smackdown Revisited

It was only one month ago (to the day, actually) that I first pitted the fastest Android smartphones (at that time) against one another in an attempt to find out which was the best of the best. Though controversial and, according to some, silly, benchmarks were the tool I used for my comparison, only I didn’t exactly reach a complete and satisfactory verdict.


There wasn’t enough data to fully evaluate the Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE-A and Sony Xperia Z Ultra, while the original Galaxy S4 seemed to narrowly edge the HTC One, but not hold its own very well against the two Snapdragon 800-powered contenders.

Meanwhile, the main point I intended to prove with that benchmark smackdown was that times are changing and, once more Snapdragon 800 phones will go official, the ranks will undergo significant shifts as well.

And on that note, let’s all welcome the LG G2. This fellow is technically the world’s third ever handheld to come packing Snapdragon 800 heat, but it has the chance to become the very first available on a global scale. And while benchmark results ahead of commercial releases can be tricky and deceptive, there’s no better time than now to see how G2’s scores compare with all of the other high-end beasts.


Antutu results

Three different websites have taken the G2 for a spin in AnTuTu and, as expected, they’ve each come up with a distinct score. The highest is 29,057, the lowest 24,005, while Droid-Life’s 27,750 points sits right in the middle.

All those results surprisingly pale in comparison with Xperia Z Ultra’s 34,000 and Galaxy S4 LTE-A’s 31,500 points, but I can’t stress enough how tricky AnTuTu can be. And in all honesty, we’ve seen both the Ultra and S4 LTE-A score less than the above mentioned numbers (though mostly in the 29,000 – 31,000 range).

LG G2-AnTuTu

With all that in mind and emphasizing once again it’s too early to make definitive rulings on this or that, I think it’s safe to assume LG has some work to do with optimizing software. The same exact processor, with the same clock speed, GPU and 2 GB of RAM, is inside all three phones, so in theory their performance should be identical.

If that’s not the case, it’s because of the pre-loaded software, which is either glitchy or has tweaks that hinder the hardware’s raw speed.

Meanwhile, nothing’s changed for the original GS4 and HTC One, phones incapable of going over the 25,000 points mark in AnTuTu and therefore lightweights compared with today’s cream of the crop.

Quadrant battle

Again tested three times, again delivering three very different results. The LG G2 scored 20,261 max, 15,633 at its lowest point and 19,367 in Android Community’s hands-on. Side note: Isn’t it odd Droid-Life has the lowest score this time and not Android Police?

LG G2-Quadrant

Anyways, let’s say that things look much rosier for LG’s big guy here. That 20,000 puts every other phone out there to shame, even the 19,000 is enough for gold, while 15,600 still puts it in second, behind the Galaxy S4 LTE-A, but ahead of the Xperia Z Ultra, original S4 and HTC One.

But I’m confused. Does that mean LG’s potentially glitchy software only acts out on occasion? Maybe. Or maybe AnTuTu is really not trustworthy at all.

Ice Storm Extreme

Android Police is the only website to have tested the LG G2 in other benchmarks than AnTuTu and Quadrant, namely also in Ice Storm and Vellamo. The 9,692 points score in the former is fairly impressive, but compared with the Z Ultra and GS4 LTE-A is again not enough.

LG G2-Ice-Storm-Vellamo

To be specific, we’ve seen Sony’s numero uno handheld get very close to the 12,000 points mark, whereas the Korean-only Snapdragon 800 S4 has scored an explosive 12,600. Meanwhile, the first edition of the GS4 and the HTC One have both choked before hitting 7,000, so at least the G2 is much zippier than those two.


Unlike all the previous tests, this thing measures something other than CPU or GPU performance. Namely, mobile web browser speed, which as we know very well depends a lot on software and how “clean” and optimized it is.

Sadly, we’re yet to see the Galaxy S4 LTE-A jump the Vellamo hoops, so the battle for gold is between the LG G2 and Sony Xperia Z Ultra only. Unsurprisingly, Sony’s 6.4-incher comes out on top once again, scoring roughly 2,800 points, which is close to 300 points better than LG’s 5.2-incher. Ouch!


The HTC One and Galaxy S4 should do a fairly honorable job in loading The Droid Guy as well, given we’ve spotted them scoring close to 2,400 and around 2,000 points respectively.


Sorry, LG, but for some reason your G2 appears to change nothing. It’s clearly snappier than the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, only it’s also pretty clearly thrown against the wall by Sony’s Xperia Z Ultra in the benchmark war. And the GS4 LTE-A, but that fellow doesn’t really count in the global fight.


Fortunately for you, LG, there’s still time. Time to get your ducks in a row, optimize the hell out of that software and maybe even drop some pre-loaded junk software altogether. It would be a damn shame for the G2 to not be a contender, since it ticks all the right boxes in the design department, sports a stunning Full HD screen and packs a massive 3,000 mAh battery. A damn shame indeed!

Sources: Android Police, Android Community, Droid-Life, BD Play, XDA Forum and GSM Insider

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition battery gets tested

The 2,600mAh battery of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition had been subjected to some tests, comparing its performance to those on the Samsung Galaxy S4 with the Snapdragon 600 chip, Samsung Galaxy S4 with the Exynos 5 Octa-core chip, Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, as well as those from other phone makers like the Huawei Ascend Mate, Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX, Motorola RAZR I, LG Optimus G, Sony Xperia Z, among several others. The tests, which involved 3G talk time, web browsing, and video playback, were performed by GSM Arena.


Based on such tests, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition did not deliver a particularly impressive performance. GSM Arena’s endurance rating for the battery is 63 hours. It lasted for 12 hours, 37 minutes in terms of 3G talk time, 7 hours, 13 minutes in terms of web browsing, and 12 hours, 32 minutes in terms of video playback.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition vs. Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4 Snapdragon 600

The Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4 had enough battery juice for 18 hours, 3 minutes of talk time. It lasted for around 6 hours more than the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition. It also fared better in terms of web browsing, running 7 hours and 24 minutes, or 11 minutes more than the battery of the S4 Google Play Edition. However, in terms of video playback, the S4 Google Play Edition did better, but only for two minutes, as compared with the Snapdragon 600-toting S4. The Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4 also had a higher endurance score of 69.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition vs. Samsung Galaxy S4 Exynos 5 Octa-core

The Exynos 5 Octa-core version of Samsung Galaxy S4 had a shorter battery life when compared to the Google Play Edition. In the video playback test, the Octa-core only had enough juice for 11 hours, 29 minutes, which is around an hour less than that offered by the Google Play Edition.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition vs. Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Compared with the toughened Galaxy S4, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition also had a shorter battery life. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active ran for 7 hours, 35 minutes in the web browsing test, 11 minutes more than the Google Play Edition. In terms of talk time, the S4 Active lasted for 16 hours, 40 minutes, or around 4 hours longer than the Google Play Edition. No information is available on the video playback performance of the S4 Active.

Top-performing smartphone batteries

In GSM Arena’s test, the Huawei Ascend Mate scored the highest in terms of talk time, offering 25 hours, 12 minutes. In the web browsing category, the HTC One bested the others that were tested, running for 9 hours, 58 minutes. The Motorola Motorola RAZR MAXX (Ice Cream Sandwich), for its part, was first in the video playback category, with 16 hours and 35 minutes.

via gsmarena

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Benchmark Reveals Marvell CPU, Improved Performance Compared to Predecessor

After snatching the smartphone crown from Apple courtesy of the incredibly successful Galaxy S3, Samsung has looked to focus more on tablets, a niche where the Koreans have always been a mere blip on Cupertino’s radar.

But despite Sammy’s best efforts, the iPads remain the unchallenged heavyweight champs, both when it comes to “full-size”, 10-inch tabs, and sleeker, more portable 7 to 8-inch slates. Then again, you can’t jump to the top all at once and if we’re talking about baby steps, Samsung is making them to at least narrow the gap.


The Nexus 10 is definitely a serious iPad contender and could be followed by an even more impressive N11, whereas the iPad Mini is challenged to the throne by the Galaxy Note 8.0 and Galaxy Tab 3.

Which brings us to today’s news, or rather an update to the GTab 3 announcement from a couple of days ago. You might remember I was less than impressed with how the new 7-incher looked on paper, but what I didn’t take into account then was Samsung didn’t reveal everything about it.

For instance, the dual-core 1.2 GHz processor was covered in mystery, with both its make and model kept under wraps. The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 also featured a dual-core chip, a TI OMAP 4430 unit clocked at 1 GHz, so naturally I didn’t think that was a very major upgrade.

But what do you know, I was wrong. Based on the new tab’s first benchmark, the CPU, accompanied by a much zippier GPU, makes the Tab 3 a powerhouse compared with its predecessor. Each and every section of the comprehensive GFX Bench test has the Tab 3 on top, with some results even showing the new 7-incher is capable of double its forefather’s performance.

It is thus obvious the tablet codenamed SM-T211 is not a low-end device, as some guessed, though it’s still a long way from Apple iPad Mini’s performance. Bottom line, you may be surprised by how the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 can handle its gaming or multimedia playing and all that’s owed to… Marvell and Vivante.

Wait, who? Those are not Samsung’s usual providers of CPUs and GPUs. No, they are not, but apparently Sammy is branching out and looking away from just Qualcomm, Broadcom and PowerVR. Galaxy Tab 3’s chip is a Marvell PXA986 unit, while the GPU is a Vivante GC1000 core.

To be frank, I don’t know a whole lot about that CPU/GPU combo, save for the fact that many Chinese OEMs have been using it of late for budget-conscious tabs. Which sounds promising for Galaxy Tab 3’s price point. That remains a mystery for now, but I have every reason to be optimistic. How about you, do you think the Tab 3 will prove like serious iPad Mini or, at least, Nexus 7 competition? Why? Why not?

Via [GSM Arena] and [GFX Bench 

Ubuntu for phones gets a performance update


Canonical was supposed to launch a new product and on the first working day of this year and they launched Ubuntu for Phone. It was previously thought that they would be launching Ubuntu for Android, but rumors also suggested that it could be Ubuntu for Phone, and we all were taken by surprise.

Ubuntu for Phone is an all new open source smartphone operating system which is basically a fully featured Ubuntu, but with an all new interface that is designed for touch screen interaction. Since Ubuntu is an open source project, so is Ubuntu for Phone and hence there will be 100% transparency. This also means that we will be getting interim ROMs using which we can test the software and report bugs.
While devices running Ubuntu for Phone aren’t expected to come in the market before 2014, Engineering Manager in Product Strategy for Canonical, Alan Pope, recently said that they will be publishing the images by late February. Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has already made it clear that Ubuntu for Phone ROM can be flashed onto any Android device using a relatively easy process.

As of now, we have seen Galaxy Nexus running the true open source mobile OS, and looking on the hands on video, the operating system looks very laggy. There is a great lag while scrolling up and down, and that’s alright since what we saw was probably the Alpha version, there is a lot of scope for improvement. That’s one main reason why they are holding back the ROM release and waiting until late February. Work is definitely being done on the platform, and it seems that Ubuntu for phones has already gotten a performance update.

The video has been embedded above and it is coming from Mika Meskanen, an Ubuntu interaction designer. The video shows two Galaxy Nexus devices, one running the original laggy build while the other one is running the updated ROM. As you can see, the improvements are evident. It can be clearly seen that scrolling is much smoother whereas there are lag and stutters in the UI of older build. Now that scrolling, which was the most noticeable issue, has been improved, more performance updates in the coming weeks will make the operating system pretty responsive by the time it is made public.

Everything looks good with Ubuntu for Phone, but the main question is will it be able to capture any market when launched in 2014. Till now, no carrier or manufacturer has come forward to support this new software. As of now, Canonical has laid down the system requirements for their upcoming smartphones. The entry level Ubuntu smartphone will be powered by 1Ghz Cortex A9, 512MB or 1GB of RAM and support for 4-8GB eMMC + SD. The hardware should support multitouch. The High-end Ubuntu “superphone” on the other hand will be powered by Quad-core A9 or Intel Atom, at least 1GB of RAM and Min 32GB eMMC + SD. What are your thoughts on the specifications? Let us know using the comment form below.

Droid X update crawling with bugs?

It seems that we are finally into the age of Froyo. More than 50% of the current device market is over 2.0, and by now the Droid X users should be waking up from their “OMG we haz FR0Y0” coma, bringing that number even further towards 2.2. The Droid X receiving Froyo has been on the minds of every DX owner since the device was first announced, and the promises of its release has been compared to Duke Nukem: Forever. Now that we have it, and the celebrating has ended, it seems there is trouble in paradise, and affected users are more than upset.

It seems that cooking your own version of Android 2.2 is not as easy as it seems. Bug complaints have ranged from intermittent notifications, keyboard lag, and an inability to play .mp3 files have peppered the Moto forums. The most widespread issue, however, seems to be the device’s handling of text messaging via the built in messaging app, where messages are appearing in incorrect order, or not updating at all. Presently there is an update “planned” to fix these, but no release date, and no details as to what specifically they play to fix.

This appears to be the result of poor testing, maybe related to a rushed product, which is odd considering the leaked Froyo rom for the Droid X didn’t even have at least two of these bugs, which means they were broken sometime afterwards. Whatever the case, an update needs to come from Verizon, and fast. The Droid X is a powerful device, and the addition of Froyo gives it some impressive enhancements, namely with battery life and browser speed. Now that handsets will begin shipping with Froyo, bugs like these will offer a poor comparison to upcoming devices from other manufacturers.

T-Mobile G2 – A reality check

For anyone who follows us, the G2 has gotten a lot of attention here. The reason for this attention has revolved around the seemingly constant string of  misinformation surrounding this handset. The phone has been hailed as a Dual Core with a Tegra 2, nine heads and its own goldfish built into the battery compartment. We spent alot of time explaining exactly how these rumors were simply not yet possible (well, all except the goldfish… those guys at HTC might pull that off) but more importantly, this did not mean the device would not be incredible in its own right. Now, T-mobile and HTC have stepped up with actual product details and images, dispelling some of the nonsense for anyone who didn’t believe. The reality of the device, however, seemed to have an adverse effect for some. Announcing the G2’s processor as an 800MHz Scorpion processor sounds underwhelming at best, given a year ago HTC was putting out 1GHz Snapdragons like they were going out of style. The wave of angry, sad, and generally upset comments all seem to have one thing in common – they are all based in a lack of understanding. So, once again, we here at The Droid Guy have thrown ourselves into the thick of it, to come back with the truth of the matter!

Before we get into the processor – let’s talk about what we know. The G2 brings an update to the original Androiddevice, in many ways. The updated QWERTY keyboard takes up the whole device, rather than the portion the G1 did. True to the Original, a unique slider is in place, this time causing the two halves to separate and reconnect when the slide is complete. The 3.7″ screen and optical square occupy the front of the device, with volume rockers on the side. Then, Chuck Falzone of Android Guys discovered an icon on the homescreen for “Quick Keys” and to go along there are three buttons on the QWERTY that appear to be designed to function with this app. Finally, it was released that the phone would be running the 800MHz Scorpion Processor, not a 1GHz Snapdragon or some Dual Core monster. But that can’t be right, can it? Sure it can – as long as you pay attention to the device as a whole rather than some silly numbers!

So, where did Scorpion come from? Why is it not an 800MHz Snapdragon? Well, in a way, it is. The Scorpion Core was released back in 2005 by Qualcomm, as critical pivot in how they made chips. The chip was smaller, used way less power, and was designed to be highly customizable in how it handled it’s processes. So, they took this chip, and they decided to see how far they could push it, since similarly designed ARM chips were pushing 1GHz. After about a year of R&D, the prototype for the Snapdragon was made. A 1GHz mobile optimized processor, which instantly caused any of us who owned a Commodore 64 to weep with excitement over the advancement of technology in our lifetime. The chip did not come without sacrifices either. Even though it had a fully functioning GPU, the Snapdragon still relied pretty heavily on the Scorpion Core to do alot of it’s heavy lifting graphically. Obviously if the processor is busy helping the GPU, it’s not going to give it’s full attention, so while yes it was a 1GHz processor – it was not without limits. Also, the battery life on most Snapdragon phones is really not ideal, even for anyone controlling their own CPU output. So Qualcomm went back to the root of the chip and decided to focus on the processor optimizing aspects of the Scorpion, and the result is this new 800MHz processor.

We all love to look at benchmark type things, so how about it’s GLBenchmark 1.1 scores? 1370. That’s better than the iPhone 4, and right close behind the Vibrant (1409) and the Glacier (1432)  – you know… that “Dual Core” phone? I know I know “But this is just GPU scores blahdy blahdy blah” It tells us that even if it’s underclocked, it’s been heavilly optimized to perform at the same level as a 1GHz Hummingbird, but it will natively consume less resources because it’s only running at 800MHz! GET IT! The phone’s performance is determined by all of the pieces inside, and while HTC chose a processor that was not the fastest thing they could shove in there, it has plenty of friends in there to make sure it’s still a very high performance device.

So let’s not abandon hope here. The G2 is going to be a heavy hitter, even if the specs sheet doesn’t flat out say that it’s big enough to beat up all the other kids on the playground. Plus, the whole world does not want a 4.3″ can’t ever get it into your pocket slab of smartphone. There are other phones for that. The G2 not only has a target market, but it also has plenty of muscle for the performance guys.

The truth about Flash 10.1

The world at large has had mixed feelings about Adobe’s web media giant, Flash. It’s been called a godsend, a broken piece of s$%!, and every single thing in between. For web developers, you either love it, or you find a way around it. It’s been considered a necessary evil, and a blissful sacrifice, but it has also been considered one other thing. A game changer. Hulu, Kongregate, Addictinggames, all useless without flash. Sites that are used by millions every day because of what they are able to do with Flash. Not too long ago Adobe decided we could all use alittle of this kool-aid in the palm of our hands. Android responded, and now we have a non-beta Flash 10.1 on our handsets. Naturally, with something as controversial as Flash, there come rumors, questions, and of course, just plain misinformation. So here you go, the all questions answered guide to Flash 10.1 for Android.

Let’s track the “what it does well”. After all, our handheld screens are not as big as the ones on our computers (YET), so how does it work well? Flash content that has been “optimized for mobile” is completely inert in a browser until you choose to interact with it. Once you “tap to interact”, the content becomes active so long as it is on the screen. This means that if you are watching a movie in flash and you scroll away from the video, the movie will pause, waiting for you to return. The second form of “tap to interact” is one where it fills the screen, removing any other content. Again, leaving this screen will return the content to it’s inert state. To be perfectly honest, this feature alone would make life on a PC much better, but I am quite happy with it on Android.

It’s true that not all – or even most flash content is optimized for mobile. Adobe has taken great strides to encourage all of their developers to utilize their mobility tools and guidelines to make the experience better. It’s a slow process, but one that is already yielding positive results. For examples, I direct you to the Adobe Showcase, located in your Market. It’s filled with websites who have dedicated all of their Flash content to be useable in both Mobile and Desktop environments.

The biggest question|gripe|ignorant comment i hear regarding Flash for Android is it’s performance, specifically towards its consumption of battery life. Flash IS a hardware accelerated technology, and as any laptop owner will agree, watching a flash video will burn your battery faster than browsing a non-flash website. This analogy is flawed right to it’s core, but please do not take my word for it. I challenge you to download any video game from the market and play it for 1 hour, then go do something on Kongregate for 1 hour. I can tell you the result right now – they use roughly the same amount of battery life. This has been Google’s stance all along. Apps are nice, but not a requirement. We have a great big internet out there, and we should not feel the need to use an app when that same content is available on a website. So go out there and prove me wrong!