When you're looking to see just how capable your Android hardware is, Futuremark's 3DMark is one benchmarking app that will let you know real quick. Fire it up, see how smoothly you device can handle a beautifully rendered scene, and walk away with a better idea of where your phone or tablet sits in the global hierarchy of things.
Well, after the latest update, I should probably say set-top box as well. You can now run 3DMark on Android TV.
3DMark offers a new graphics benchmark video test intended for devices running Android 5.0 or later, and it supports OpenGL ES 3.0 and above.
It's not in VR or anything, but if you want to see our best look yet at the upcoming OnePlus 2, a five-minute video of the phone has leaked onto YouTube. Well, it's apparently the OnePlus 2 - we can't confirm it, of course, but the low-quality video seems to match the leaked images from a Chinese regulator that we saw earlier this week. Look closely and you can see what appears to be a fingerprint sensor beneath the screen.
The video is mostly silent and the text is in Chinese, but it's pretty easy to follow along as the operator takes in the About page and runs a benchmark.
Attention: the following roundup contains absolutely no mention of the new release of Google Reader... because that happened in April. But it does have some great picks for new apps from March, including our top seven and a handful of honorable mentions. News readers, social tools, and root-only apps are covered, plus some diagnostic tools for tech heads. And if customization is your thing, check out the honorable mentions section for cool icons and live wallpapers.
Some graphical benchmarks are meant to be fairly boring but reliable tests of visual output - the reliable Quadrant benchmark from Aurora Softworks is a good example. Others create an intense graphical test by making a fully-realized 3D environment, essentially a tech demo that's meant to be a digital ruler for the performance of competing components or devices. 3DMark's Android benchmark, with its space battle cutscene, is one of these tests.
Now there's an alternative version of 3DMark. It tests the same technical parameters: frames per second, physics engine accuracy, power output, that sort of thing. The only thing that's different is the 3D cutscene.
That's hot. Really, really hot: considerably higher than iPhone 6 Plus, LG G3, Galaxy Note 4, and last year's HTC One M8, all of which hovered around the 40 degree Celsius mark (104 Fahrenheit) under the same test.
Last year, Samsung got into some hot water for including an automatic "high power mode" for certain apps, dialing up the processor and GPU scaling. There's nothing wrong with that in theory, but these changes were enabled specifically for benchmark apps, giving the benchmarks results that, while not technically incorrect, were artificially inflated and unlikely to be indicative of everyday performance.
Update: We've heard back from Sprint on the "Restriction to benchmark sites removed" line. Here's what a representative told us:
During the development phase of this device, we had blocked benchmarking sites/apps. Now that it is released to our customers this fix will allow users to download benchmarking apps on their note 3. Hope that answers your question.
So presumably any favorable treatment that the Galaxy Note 3 demonstrated in review units, as shown by the Ars Technica report below, is still in effect.
Samsung has been in hot water for the last few days thanks to a minor controversy over benchmarks on the Galaxy Note 3.
The Geekbench benchmarking program is a staple on PCs, thanks to quick and varied tests for multiple hardware systems and an impressive database of results. The Geekbench 2 test has been gaining steam on Android as well - we've used it in a few reviews and comparisons. Version 3 has been released as a stand-alone app, but the small list of improvements hardly seems to justify it. It's a good thing that it only costs a dollar.
The biggest change in Geekbench 3 is that the primary rating is split into single-core and multi-core scores. Previous versions were more than capable of testing multi-core processors, but splitting up the score allows users to better predict how single and multi-threaded apps will perform.
Update: Samsung has posted an official response to yesterday's benchmark kerfuffle, explaining that the maximum frequency for the S4 is actually 533MHz, but that it is actually scaled down for "certain gaming apps that may cause an overload". The maximum frequency, according to the statement, is also attainable in "apps that are usually used in full-screen mode" like the gallery, S Browser, etc. This may not fully explain the explicit mention of certain benchmark apps in TwDVFSApp, but it is at least nice to see an official response to the situation.
Here's the full statement:
Under ordinary conditions, the GALAXY S4 has been designed to allow a maximum GPU frequency of 533MHz.
Hardware enthusiasts are probably already aware of Futuremark and its PCMark software, a standard for testing and comparing computer hardware for years. PCMark is popular among reviewers and users for its comparison of hardware on standards that are more likely to reflect real-world, typical usage. Today Futuremark announced that it's bringing the software to the "Big three" mobile operating systems, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Futuremark's press release did not include a date.