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In-Depth Nexus 4 & Nexus 10 Benchmarks Reveal Some Surprising Results

Eric McBride
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While benchmarks certainly don’t mean everything (they mean very little in most cases), it’s certainly interesting to see how hardware matches up against other hardware in terms of raw power and performance. AnandTech have managed to perform some very in depth and detailed Nexus benchmarks for Google’s newest lineup, and despite both devices being very powerful, it was very interesting to see that in most cases (more than 90% of the time actually), the hardware used in the iPhone 5 and new iPad still manages to outperform the new Nexus lineup in damn near every CPU, GPU, and battery benchmark test.

Keep in mind that there are literally dozens of benchmark tests available for testing hardware. That being said, the benchmarks used in these tests are certainly not biased towards Apple nor Android. In other words, they are pretty darn fair to use. It's a lot of information, and has some pretty interesting/surprisingresults. 

The benchmarks used by AnandTech in these tests include the following:

CPU Tests:

  • Sunspider Javascript Benchmark 0.9.1 - Stock Browser
  • BrowserMark
  • Google Octane Benchmark V1
  • Mozilla Kraken Benchmark

GPU and Display Tests:

  • GL Benchmark 2.5 - Fill Test
  • GL Benchmark 2.5 - Fill Test (Offscreen 1080P)
  • GL Benchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test
  • GL Benchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test (Offscreen 1080P)
  • GL Benchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test - Fragment Lit
  • GL Benchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test - Fragment Lit - (Offscreen 1080P)
  • GL Benchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test - Vertex Lit
  • GL Benchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test - Vertex Lit - (Offscreen 1080P)
  • GL Benchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD
  • GL Benchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD - (Offscreen 1080P)
  • GL Benchmark 2.5 - Egypt Classic
  • GL Benchmark 2.5 - Egypt Classic - (Offscreen 1080P)
  • Brightness White
  • Brightness Black
  • Contrast Ratio

Battery Tests

  • AT Smartphone Bench 2013 - Web browsing battery life (3g, 4G, LTE)
  • AT Smartphone Bench 2013 - Web browsing battery life (Wifi)
  • Web Browsing Battery Life

As you can see, that’s quite a lot of benchmarks! So without further delay, here are the results, courtesy of AnandTech:

Results - CPU

Results - GPU and Display

Results - Battery

Some impressive scores, but some disappointing ones as well

There’s quite a lot that can be seen from these tests, and from a technical standpoint, I won’t try to even act like I can accurately explain why what performs how. I will leave the detailed explanation to the guys over at AnandTech. Their good and detailed explanations can be found here.

What is pretty easy to see is that in terms of hardware, even the hardware found in the new Nexus lineup proves inferior to the what’s found in the iPhone/iPad in most cases. Battery life in the Nexus 4 proved unexpectedly bad, and while Samsung’s newest Exynos 5250 did well in the tests, the A5X and A6 chips used in the iPhone and iPad still consistently bested it. In regards to the Nexus 10, its massive resolution could also hold it back a bit in benchmark performance. 

The guys at AnandTech pointed out that Android 4.2 could have something to do with some of these results, and it could be that further optimizations to Android help to increase some of these scores. Remember, IOS software is tightly optimized for the hardware used in creating the iPad and iPhone. Android doesn't quite have that luxery....yet. 

As I don’t read much into benchmarks, I can’t say that I’m really disappointed. I will admit that I am surprised, as I thought the hardware would fare better against the iPhone and iPad. One thing that does disappoint me is the Nexus 4 battery life, as it really seems at the bottom of the barrel. That being said, it’s hard to say how many of these results are more influenced by software vs hardware, and whether Android itself restricts the top notch hardware used in the new Nexus lineup.

Conclusion

Again, don’t take these scores as a way of judging “which phone/tablet is better”, but more as a way of seeing how they stack up against each other on paper. There’s a big difference in benchmark performance vs real world performance, and I’m quite confident that all devices shown on these benchmarks would perform extremely well in the hands.

A big shout out to AnandTech for these in depth tests.

Picture credits for benchmarks - AnandTech

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Comments

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  • Rutger Nov 6, 2012 Link

    I say as the iBoys: Mpixels, Hz and ms isn't everything, it's the look and feel that is imortant! true?

    Personally I don't care if iP5 or iPads are faster than some of teh Andorid devices, good for Apple, but I will stick to Nexus and Android anyway.

    I love my Xperia S even if it's not the best phone out there. I can go on and on about the great screen though! ;-)

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  • Eric McBride Nov 6, 2012 Link

    That's right! I ll take real world performance over bencmarks any day of the week :)

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  • Dvoraak Nov 6, 2012 Link

    I've always known iDevices (I think I've even said it here at AndroidPIT once or twice) don't need the best, fastest or highest specs to outperform the majority of Android products. iOS optimization is phenomenal and Android's optimization has consistently been abysmal, though there has been obvious improvement with ICS and JB. Performance is getting close now, but I still wouldn't put any but the new Samsungs in a head to head with iPhone 5 and expect any real competition (I'm talking about real world usability, responsiveness, stability and speed here). More power, More Power, MORE POWER should be the Android OEM's mantra.

    I was a little surprised with the battery life results. Apple obviously has to pay a lot of attention to the battery since it can't be replaced by the user, but I really thought they were only seeing mixed success on that front.

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  • Eric McBride Nov 6, 2012 Link

    Good points Dvoraak. IOS "software for hadware" optimization is top notch, and Android does have a lot of room for improvement. JB is definetely closing the gap on that, but there is still work to be done. Hopefully, Google and Motorola can close that gap together even more.

    And yeah..those battery stats also caught me off guard as well.

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  • Dvoraak Nov 6, 2012 Link

    @Eric - Every review (your's included of course) of the Note 2 is glowing with performance attributes that, for the most part, just haven't been seen with Android yet. That's what makes them stand out so much. I honestly believe it's a question of RAM now. Google may never be able to develop a fully optimized OS but half the stability and response issues are solved by adding that extra gig.
    Like you stated earlier, benchmarks are mostly meaningless. Do we really care what device will boot 1 second faster? Stability and responsiveness equal real world enjoyment with a device. I have trouble with the majority of Androids and their 1 gig of memory, when 2/3 of it is eaten by the OS and bloatware. My Note 10.1 and (I'm sure) your Note 2, even with bloatware, leave over a gig of memory unused. That equals higher responsiveness, stability and even speed as the memory gets lower. RAM likely won't show up on benchmarks but, in my mind, it's what really seperates Android from iOS. Even more iPhone users will jump ship when there's a variety of devices that include that substantial upgrade.

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  • Patrick R. Nov 6, 2012 Link

    @Dvoraak & Eric, the reason why more power is an Android's OEM's mantra is that Google cannot optimize Android for a single SoC. It will sacrifice (not to mention piss off) OEMs if they focus on a single chipset. Say they go Exynos or Tegra, I am sure the others left out in the cold wouldn't be supportive of Google's next projects. In the near future at least, more cores and faster processors and maybe hyper and multi threading will "equalize" Apple and Android hardware performance. In fact, if I am not mistaken, Project Butter simply ramps up the CPU to it's max performance the moment it detects input - in a way it disregards whatever i/o governor you have running.

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  • Dvoraak Nov 6, 2012 Link

    @Patrick - I agree that an optimized Android OS is probably a dream that'll never come true. I just think the processors are plenty capable already. Even my gaming laptop, that'll smoke any game on the market, only has a base speed of 2.2 ghz.
    A 1.4 to 1.6 ghz quad core should be plenty for any mobile device's duties. Running low on memory however..... that'll slow any device to a crawl.

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  • Stefan E. Nov 6, 2012 Link

    Optimizations are not the only thing, I don't doubt Apple's chips are better for 3D gaming. If that is your main thing, I always advice going for iOS devices - not least because there are also much more games to choose from. The nature of the devices and the OS make them more of a handheld gaming device than Android could ever be due to its design.

    Of course you can have games on Android, just not at the same quantity and not every game running on all possible devices, and that is OK for me.

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  • Eric McBride Nov 6, 2012 Link

    @Dvoraak - Which is all the more reason to get yourself a Note 2 buddy :) Trust me..it's really THAT good. Remember, your Note 10.1 hasn't got Jelly Bean yet (unless you rooted and installed somehow?), which makes a HUGE difference.

    @Patrick - Exactly this. That's also what I'm hoping that Google and Motorola will be able to accomplish now on a more concentrated level.

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  • ljhaye Nov 6, 2012 Link

    What sacres me most is that these Nexus devices are supposed to be the best of the best on the Android platform and they look average on the benchmark tests.

    These scores would have been even worse if they had included the iPad 4 with its A6X chip instead of the three with the A5x chip. I've used both and the IPad 4 is twice as fast as the iPad 3.

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  • Dvoraak Nov 6, 2012 Link

    @Eric- Man it is soooo on my to do list. They aren't selling it here yet :(

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  • David H. Nov 6, 2012 Link

    It's not feasible for Google to optimize the OS for a particular CPU or hardware, but is it possible for them to make a few sets of instructions in key areas, so that when you install it will detect the CPAU and install the code specific to that family of processor?
    The manufacturers likewise can't take the time to fully personalize the OS to their device, they already take a long time to get it ready for their upgrades, and the carriers delay it forever.
    Support services would suffer considerably if there were 100 different versions of each version, too. Android 4.1.2.0.0.127.1 anyone?
    Can someone like XDA developers handle optimizations for specific devices or CPUs?
    Maybe Google has to slow down release of new OS and focus on updates and oimprovements of the existing OS?

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  • ljhaye Nov 6, 2012 Link

    @ David This speaks to the root of the coding language used to develop the Android OS. Apple’s iOS is a true computing platform as the majority of the code in iOS is Cocoa code from MacOS X, which is based on NextStep, which started development in the 1980s. Android was thrown to together hastily in a pivot from a blackberry style OS to a touch based one using Javascript as its backbone. Android is a true Phone OS but it is severely limited in its capabilities. As the Microsoft and Apple merge their desktop and mobile operating systems we will see start to see the strain on the Android OS and the limits of Javascript rear their ugly head. It won’t matter how much RAM or how many cores you have as the underlying OS needs to rewritten in order to be a true mobile computing OS.

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  • Dogukan Nov 8, 2012 Link

    Why isnt the Note 2 on the benchmark lists? Right now its the fastest phone in the market in terms of cpu. İ dont know, maybe i am wrong but i'm thinking it could have beaten iphone 5 in most of these test.

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