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. Read More
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. Read More
Remember those rumblings of overheating problems with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 mobile processor? I think it's safe to say that they've been confirmed. Dutch enthusiast site Tweakers used a thermal camera to test the temperature of various high-end phones while running the intense GFXBench benchmark application. They found that the new HTC One M9, powered by the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 810, could reach temperatures as high as 55.4 degrees Celsius (131.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Read More
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.
Yesterday, popular custom ROM family CyanogenMod added similar state-dependent modes to its latest batches of code, and as soon as the power profiling function was added, specific triggers for the popular Quadrant and Antutu benchmarks were added as well. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
If you don't keep an obsessive eye on video game development, you might not be aware of Unity. It's a 3D game engine that makes it easy to develop games for multiple platforms and multiple rendering engines, including Direct3D, OpenGL, and (on Android and iOS) OpenGL ES. It's not the most powerful or flexible thing around, but a lot of developers rely on the tool. Now they've got an easy way to estimate game performance on different Android hardware, via the Basemark X benchmark from Rightware. Read More
AnTuTu is quickly becoming one of the most popular benchmarks on Android, and for good reason: the devotion of its developer to providing timely updates is admirable (even if his talent for GUI design isn't... at all). The bump to version 3.0 brings a host of major changes, including a brand-new OpenGL ES 2.0 3D benchmark, along with a new 2D benchmark specifically for testing (wait for it) 2D gaming performance. Read More