Turns Out Android Performance Numbers Are Over-Cooked

While reviewing Samsung‘s Galaxy Note 3, reviewers at Ars Technica discovered that the device is configured to artificially inflate benchmark results.

We noticed an odd thing while testing the Samsung Galaxy Note 3: it scores really, really well in benchmark tests — puzzlingly well, in fact. A quick comparison of its scores to the similarly specced LG G2 makes it clear that something fishy is going on, because Samsung’s 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 blows the doors off LG’s 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800. What makes one Snapdragon so different from the other?

After a good bit of sleuthing, we can confidently say that Samsung appears to be artificially boosting the US Note 3’s benchmark scores with a special, high-power CPU mode that kicks in when the device runs a large number of popular benchmarking apps. Samsung did something similar with the international Galaxy S 4’s GPU, but this is the first time we’ve seen the boost on a US device.

In the wake of that report, Anandtech found that playing fast and loose with benchmarks is commonplace in the smartphone market, especially amongst Android devices. Indeed, Anandtech found that nearly every OEM engages in similar shenanigans, with Apple and Motorola being the only two exceptions.