The first dual-core Android phone has finally hit the market and more are on the way. NVIDIA promised big performance gains with their Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip (SoC), so we put two of their superphones through a series of benchmarks to see how they stacked up. Check out the results after the jump and then download the benchmarks to see how your Android phone compares.
The test lineup
We have a lot of phones laying around the A&M Labs, but we just went with six models for this round of testing. Devices we tested include both the Tegra 2 phones that are currently available (Atrix 4G and Optimus 2X), both phones with Android 2.3 (Nexus S and Nexus One), the T-Mobile G2, and the popular Motorola Droid.
Each device was given a clean reboot before testing and they are all running unmodified, stock versions of Android. An active WiFi connection was turned on to simulate real-world experience.
About: Neocore is an OpenGL-ES 1.1 graphics performance benchmark for Android devices. It shows off some of the techniques that are possible on accelerated platforms such as 1-pass light maps and bump mapping. [Download]
Neocore is one of the oldest GPU benchmarks and measures OpenGL ES 1.1 performance. The LG Optimus 2X easily came out on top with a score of 77.2 frames per second. The Motorola Atrix 4G fell behind in this test because it has the highest resolution (960 x540), which means it has to process the most pixels and do more work.
About: Set your GPU on fire with NenaMark, an OpenGL ES 2.0 benchmark! NenaMark is a benchmark/demo of OpenGL ES 2.0, using programmable shaders for graphical effects such as reflections, dynamic shadows, parametric surfaces, particles and different light models to push the GPU to its limits. [Download]
Nenamark1 is another popular benchmark that has been around awhile which measures OpenGL ES 2.0 performance. The Optimus 2X once again smokes the competition and is followed by the Nexus S.
About: Smartbench 2011 is a multi-core friendly benchmark application that measures the overall performance of your smartphone. It reports both Productivity and Games Index to suit both productivity users and 3D gaming users. [Download]
Smartbench 2011 is a new benchmark that has been updated to be multi-core friendly. Note that the Tegra 2 offers about 3x the productivity performance over all the single core phones. In the games score, the Optimus 2X is once again the leader.
About: GLBenchmark 2.0 has been designed from the ground up to demonstrate and measure the true potential of OpenGL ES 2.0 Hardware. The built-in shader code (GLSL) generator enables real-time performance tuning and de-compositing. This is an in-valuable feature for OpenGL ES 2.0 Hardware vendors and Handset manufacturers. [Download]
No surprises here. The Optimus 2X leads the competition when it comes to GPU performance. The Nexus S is able to once again eclipse the Atrix 4G thanks to its lower display resolution.
About: Speed test your Android device and ROM with this standard CPU benchmark. Check the speed of your Android device and compare it to other Android devices. Results in millions of floating point operations per second (MFLOPS). Save results or post to the website to beat the best times. [Download]
In Linpack we see no performance advantages for the Tegra 2 devices. This test does not appear to be multi-threaded and all the 1 GHz cores perform about the same. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips generally perform well in this test thanks to their FPU (SIMD/NEON/VFP) instructions. The real world performance between a G2 and Nexus S is pretty similar, so I’m not sure how relevant this test really is.
Benchmarks are not the end-all, be-all of real-world performance, but they can help us measure how different platforms stack up. It is really hard to provide an apples-to-apples comparison of the GPU performance since there are so many different display resolutions, but we can see that the GeForce GPU inside the Tegra 2 offers the fastest performance for what’s currently available on the market.
In the couple of weeks that I have spent with both Tegra 2 phones, I can say they generally feel much faster than the single-core competition. Not many apps are optimized to take full advantage of multi-core processors, but there is definitely a noticeable difference in the overall responsiveness of Tegra 2 devices when multiple apps are running.
Even though the LG Optimus 2X has half the RAM of the Atrix 4G, it easily out-performs the competition in GPU benchmarks thanks to its lower resolution. The qHD resolution of the Atrix 4G is a nice spec to have, but there is a performance hit in most games since the GPU has to do more.
We can clearly see the performance gains of Tegra 2 in benchmarks that are multi-threaded like Smartbench 2011. This should be a good indication of what Tegra users can expect in the future as the Android OS and applications are optimized to take full advantage of dual-core processors.
For everyday use, the Nexus S can still hold its own against newer dual-core phones. I expect the Nexus S will continue to be competitive for the rest of 2011 thanks to it always having the latest version of Android. Look for Tegra 2 (and other dual-core CPUs) to take the lead in the second half of this year as the software catches up to the hardware.