So you got a shiny new Android phone/tablet and want to check what's making it hum? Or you wanted to squeeze more power from your existing gear, bumped up the CPU speed, installed a new ROM or updated to the newest Android version, and now need to compare the increase in productivity?
Either those, or just your annoying friends are throwing around benchmarks as bragging rights, so you finally decided to give it a try, and measure the performance of your phone or tablet more scientifically then “yep, no lag”.
For when the geek in you starts to speak, Android Market is brimful of benchmarking apps that measure the CPU, GPU and I/O performance of your handset, even the rendering prowess of your browser. In general, the better the overall scores, the more seamless everyday performance will be, so it's worth checking what's out there in terms of benchmark apps.
The results, of course, depend on a number of variables, like the extent of UI overlay and bloatware that came with your phone, the optimization done to the hardware and software from the manufacturer, the moon phases, and other issues you have no control of, but in general benchmarking is a pretty useful tool for comparing performance.
Not that popular, but pretty thorough benchmarking app, which includes support for multicore chipsets.
Moving over to strictly graphics
performance, the freshly-squeezed GLBenchmark 2.5 is probably the
most comprehensive way to measure your GPU prowess, but you have to contact the developer to get it. A lot of
manufacturers pair state-of-the-art multicore CPUs with last year's
GPU generation, and it shows in such benchmarks.
GLBenchmark 2.5 tests the OpenGL
2.0 ES performance in game-like setups, and runs your GPU through
several different scenarios that examine its rendering capabilities. The latest 2.5 versions is in sync with the 1080p times we live in.
NenaMark2 also runs your GPU through its
paces, measuring different types of graphics performance scenarios,
and returns a very useful for comparison purpose frames per second
score, which immediately allows you to compare between different
handsets or tablets.
Next come the CPU benchmarks, and
Linpack is used for measuring the performance of pretty powerful
computers, like the IBM one that beat the world's chess champion, and
it is available for your Android device as well. The results are
given in MFLOPS units for easy comparison across devices, including a brawl with iOS ones.
This one does what is says on the
label, measures the Pi mathematical constant, thus the calculation
algorithm is kept uniform across device, allowing you to measure how
powerful your CPU's integer skills are. Some of the overall system
tests like SmartBench also do it, but here it only boils down to one
variable - the geek one.
Now we've come to the browser tests,
which are pretty important as more and more people are getting their
Internet fix through their mobile devices now, but Android has the
advantage of being able to show websites in their full desktop
glory, Adobe Flash and all.
Browsermark is platform-agnostic,
meaning that its web-based nature allows you to compare the final
score not only against other Android devices, but to the iPhone and
iPad, or Windows Phone's browser as well. It measures different
variables of your mobile browser performance that affect the overall
rendering speeds, and easily shows what an advantage multicore
chipsets are for browsing speeds.
rendering measurements, this aspect is so important that a dedicated
benchmark test is worth running. Sunspider is not flashy, but is cross-platform too, and
allows you to easily gauge how capable your silicon is when it comes
there. The smaller result here is the better one.