Earlier this month, I wrote about possibly the worst benchmarking application I had ever seen, 'Nenamark.' But Geekbench has come to save the day, bringing their Geekbench 4 benchmarking utility to Android. Geekbench is another cross-platform benchmarking program, so you can compare your results to a wide range of devices.
The Android Geekbench app, at least compared to the Windows/macOS equivalents, seems rather simplistic. You can benchmark your device's CPU and GPU, which are displayed as a number at the end (unlike Nenamark). The CPU benchmark performs both single-core and multi-core results, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, Geekbench's battery test has been removed in this version.
Benchmarking applications like 3DMark and PassMark are great for scoring the graphics or computational power of a given device. Nenamark 2 was a popular choice for benchmarking graphics back in the day, and five years after Nenamark 2 launched, Nenamark 3 has arrived. It's not clear why.
I hesitate to even call Nenamark 3 a benchmarking app. It's designed like a game - the benchmark proceeds through levels, each level having up to four tests. But the benchmark ends as soon as your device can't reach a steady FPS arbitrarily determined by the Nenamark app. So instead of a useful score like an average FPS or the time it took to complete the test, my Nexus 5X gets a score of "3-0." Uhh...
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.