Popular benchmarking platform AnTuTu has published its Q1 2015 performance report for smartphones, listing the average scores of the top 10 handsets to pass through its test. The results are very favourable for Samsung and MediaTek, but raise more questions about Qualcomm’s latest high-end Snapdragon processor.
The averaged AnTuTu results find the Galaxy S6 to be a rather nippy device, reflecting our own earlier tests. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge top the chart by quite a margin, followed by the new HTC One M9 and then a range of last year’s flagship smartphones. Samsung appears vindicated in its choice to exclusively use its in-house 14nm FinFET Exynos 7420 in its latest flagship.
Outstripping its reputation, the MediaTek MT6595 powered Meizu MX4 manages to retain its spot in the top 5 from last year. The MT6595 is built from four Cortex-A17 and four A7 CPU cores, combined with a PowerVR Series6 GPU. MediaTek’s high-end chips are clearly capable of taking on the big SoC brands these days.
However, what is perhaps most interesting about these results is the mediocre performance demonstrated by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810, found inside the HTC One M9 and LG G Flex 2. While the One M9, on average, shows some improvement over last generation Snapdragon 805 handsets that make up the bulk of the list, the G Flex 2 sits towards the bottom of the top 10.
While we may not have expected the Snapdragon 810 to exactly match the 14nm Exynos 7420, we anticipated a clearer gap between Qualcomm’s new chip and the 28nm Snapdragon 805 series.
Benchmarks being only a semi-accurate reflection of real-world performance, it is tough to say exactly what, if anything, is holding the Snapdragon 810 back. A software or task management burden is vaguely possible, but it’s difficult not to suspect that the unverified overheating issue haunting the Snapdragon 810 might have more to do with it. Throttling back performance to prevent overly high temperatures is common in all chips. However, if the 810 is running even moderately hotter than the last generation, throttling could be taking place faster than usual to reduce the chip’s peak performance, which would definitely show up in a benchmark test.
Furthermore, the AnTuTu GPU performance test reveals a result much more in line with what the chip specification sheets would suggest. The Exynos 7420’s Mali-T760 MP8 GPU shows a slight advantage over the Snapdragon 810’s Adreno 430, which in turn shows the sort of improvement that we were expecting compared with the Snapdragon 805’s Adreno 420 and 801’s Adreno 330. It seems that the 810 is underperforming on the CPU side, which lines up with the rumored cause of the overheating problem.
As damning as the list looks, we don’t have any complaints about the performance offered by the HTC One M9. Although the same can’t be said for the LG G Flex 2.
While not conclusive proof of any major issue, the results are disappointing for Qualcomm’s chip and may cast further doubt over current and upcoming smartphones powered by the Snapdragon 810. Rumors such as LG’s G4 potentially switching to the Snapdragon 808, aren’t helping the situation either.
Even so, Qualcomm is still the most dominant SoC manufacturer in the high-performance smartphone market, for now, with 7 out of 10 devices in the list using a Snapdragon chip. It remains to be seen if Qualcomm will retain its market dominance in the high-end space throughout 2015, or if this year will present opportunities for MediaTek or Samsung to grab a bigger share.