When Samsung's Galaxy S4 hit the market and reviewers hands, it was quite impressive overall. One area in particular was benchmarks, and now we're starting to figure out exactly why. Don't get us wrong, the Galaxy S4 is a splendid device and possibly the best smartphone on the market, but new reports are surfacing that they specifically tuned the GS4 to score higher than usual in popular Android benchmarking apps.
The always thorough guys over at AnandTech have done some investigating, and revealed that benchmark apps received extra attention from Samsung. And it goes so far as to basically show that benchmarks even received more power from all those processors than regular apps, as a way to inflate the benchmark scores.
This mainly breaks down the Exynos 5 Octa chip found in select Galaxy S4, as the US and other regions all have Qualcomm's chip. The Exynos 5 Octa and Snapdragon 600 reserved higher speeds only for benchmarks, and real world usage didn't receive the same. It's a pretty interesting and detailed report, and makes us question benchmarks as a whole. For example the GPU would crank up to 533 MHz for benchmarks, and run at a speed no users apps or games will ever be able to enjoy. Stuck at 480 MHz for regular use. Which of course makes it look better than it really is.
As we all know, benchmarks are only numbers and don't represent real-world usage. For all of our readers, you know every review we do we specifically show benchmarks, but follow that up with real world usage. As benchmarks are only a small part of the story. They can't fully be trusted, have always been a grey area, and are more for bragging rights than anything.
To be honest though, the PC world has been doing this for years with NVIDIA and ATI. It's nothing new, as manufacturers are always striving to offer the best results to show off their impressive products. Two wrongs don't make a right, and we'd love some transparency here, but either way the Galaxy S4 is still a great device. Even if this was a little deceiving.
We've reached out to Samsung, who had no comment at this time. We'll update if we hear more.