The world’s most popular performance benchmark has finally come to Android. Today Futuremark released 3DMark to the Google Play store, and the latest test allows you to compare results across different operating systems. The new 3DMark is currently available for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Android (version 3.1 and up). Soon it will be rleeased for iOS and Windows RT. We have a bunch of Android devices laying around, so we decided to see how they stack up.
- Nexus 4: Android 4.2.2, Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, Adreno 320 GPU, 2 GB RAM
- Nexus 7: Android 4.2.2, Tegra 3 CPU, GeForce GPU, 1 GB RAM
- Nexus 10: Android 4.2.2, Exynos 5 Dual CPU, Mali-T604 GPU, 2 GB RAM
- HTC One: Android 4.1.2, Snapdragon 600 CPU, Adreno 320 GPU, 2 GB RAM
Futuremark claims that 3DMark is compatible with more than 1,000 different Android devices, but we decided to focus on the Nexus devices and the new HTC One. We attempted to run the benchmark on some older devices like the Galaxy Nexus and HTC One X, but we could not get all the tests to complete.
All devices were running unmodified software. Each device was fully charged and then rebooted before each test. We closed all background apps to ensure nothing would interfere with the results. Finally, all devices were benchmarked in the freezer to eliminate any thermal throttling (do not attempt this at home).
3DMark provides two different tests for Android devices. Ice Storm includes two graphics tests designed to stress the GPU (run at 720p resolution), and a physics test to stress CPU performance. Ice Storm Extreme bumps up the graphics tests to 1080p resolution and uses higher quality textures and post-processing effects.
Qualcomm has historically been weak in the mobile GPU department, but their new Adreno 320 is the fastest GPU shipping in any Android devices right now. That could change in a couple months with NVIDIA’s new Tegra 4 and its 72-core GPU, but Qualcomm holds the performance crown for the moment.
I also found the results of the HTC One and LG Nexus 4 interesting. Both devices feature a similar Qualcomm chip with the same Adreno 320 GPU, but the HTC One has the slightly newer Krait 300 CPU core. 3DMark is primarily a graphics test, but it also factors in CPU performance into the overall score. Neither device was running the same version of Android, so it’s hard to do a direct comparison of the results.
The real takeaway here is that the Nexus 4, sold for $299, can deliver similar performance to the HTC One, which will retail for $600-650 off contract.
The Nexus 10 features the brand new Exynos 5 Dual with ARM’s latest Cortex-A15 CPU core, but the ARM Mali-T604 GPU falls behind the competition. This could explain why Samsung dumped the ARM GPU architecture in their new Exynos 5 Octa and went with a PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU instead. We can’t wait to get our hands on the new Samsung Galaxy S 4 with Exynos 5 Octa to see how it compares.
Finally we can see that the Tegra 3 inside the Nexus 7 is starting to show its age. NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 chip is over two years old and the Nexus 7 sells for $199, so we don’t exactly expect it to compete with the latest and greatest chips that are coming out this year. NVIDIA should be able to gain the lead with their new Tegra 4, but we will have to wait a couple more months to see the first devices, like Project Shield, start shipping.
Overall, I like what I am seeing from the first release of 3DMark. It is nice to finally have a test that will allow us to compare results across multiple operating systems. The benchmark is well designed, and it lets you know if your device results are normal, below, or above the average of other users. We also appreciate the Device Channel browser that lets you compare your results with other mobile devices.
Benchmark Your Own Devices
Want to see how your Android smartphone or tablet measures up? Grab 3DMark from the Google Play link below and share your results in the comments below.