We always say that benchmarks don't matter as much as the overall experience of using a phone, but they do still matter enough that device makers sometimes put a thumb on the scale to improve scores. A recent report from Anandtech accused Huawei of configuring phones to produce artificially high benchmarks. Now, the maker of 3DMark has banned several Huawei devices in response.
How good is your phone when it comes to gaming? There are a few ways to find out, but 3DMark is probably the best. That's the only benchmarking it does, after all. The app has been pretty clunky for a while, but it just got a major update with a cleaner UI, more tests, new charts, and a ton more.
If you need to benchmark the storage in a device, Androbench has long been the go-to way to do it. One major drawback: it was horrendously ugly. It has just been updated to v5.0, and I wouldn't say it's not ugly, but it's certainly less ugly. That's a win in my book.
There are already a number of ways to test the capability of your Android device's hardware, but one more isn't going to hurt. Rightware has released Basemark ES 3.1 for Android in both free and paid versions. Do you need a paid graphics benchmark? Probably not, but maybe someone does.
Samsung announced its new UFS 2.0 memory in capacities up to 128GB just days before the Galaxy S6 was official, so we all correctly surmised Samsung's new flagship would make use of the new, faster storage. Some early benchmarks of devices at MWC show just how speedy the Galaxy S6's storage can be. It just destroys every currently available phone. Maybe you won't even mind the lack of a microSD card when the internal storage is this fast.
It almost goes without saying, but benchmarks are not everything. These numbers don't always tell you how a device will perform, but they do tell you something. Right now the Galaxy S6 is telling us that Samsung's new Exynos chip is very, very fast. It's putting up AnTuTu scores of nearly 70,000, well above the values produced by devices like the LG G3, Nexus 6, LG G Flex 2, and even the new HTC One M9.
3DMark came out a while back to give your Android device's GPU a rating, and now Futuremark's other benchmarking tool has arrived in the Play Store. PCMark will analyze the overall performance of your phone or tablet, rather than focusing on individual components. At the end you get a number. Is that number useful? Maybe.
Samsung was the first to selectively boost system performance when a benchmark app was run, but it was forced to backpedal pretty quickly on that one. The latest OEM to try and sneak one past the benchmarks is Huawei with its new-ish Ascend P7. Futuremark is wise to this game, though, and has pulled the P7 from the 3DMark top phone charts.
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.
Shortly after the new Android Runtime made its grand entrance, I ran a pretty exhaustive (and exhausting) series of performance benchmarks that showed ART wasn't really ready to blow us away. At the time, I opted to avoid the topic of battery life because it is so difficult to test accurately and with unbiased, meaningful results. As it turns out, that was dumb. Yup, so many of you have asked, I finally had no choice but to dive in and run a battery of tests on...well, the battery.
I've been running tests for over 6 weeks, covering virtually every angle I could think of and repeating several measurements to ensure the results were consistent and accurate.