But, there is one 'but'. We planned to use the following benchmark apps for this test: Quadrant Standard, AnTuTu, Vellamo, GLBenchmark 2.5, GLBenchmark 2.7 and the brand new 3DMark. Unfortunately, it turns out that 3DMark doesn't support the Galaxy S4 yet, and it's also having issues with the Galaxy S III, so, sadly, we cannot report any 3DMark scores for those devices. Still, we've run the test on all the other smartphones participating in this prestigious contest, just to see what happens.
GLBenchmark 2.5: Egypt HD
It's true that there's GLBenchmark 2.7 already, but we guess a lot of folks are yet to to update to the newest version, so we decided to play it safe and run the good old GLBenchmark 2.5. More specifically, we ran the popular Egypt HD onscreen test. The Galaxy S4 proved to be an excellent performer here, achieving an average frame rate of 40. Probably thanks to its lower, 720p resolution, though, the Nexus 4 managed to get a superior score of 44 fps. The HTC One, which is also one of the major contenders here, claimed the third place with 32 fps, but once again, we should keep in mind that, like the GS4, it's equipped with a 1080p screen, so the job of its Snapdragon 600 is a significantly harder than that of the Nexus 4's Snapdragon S4 Pro.
GLBenchmark 2.7: T-Rex HD
Running the newest GLBenchmark and its T-Rex HD onscreen test, we observe a similar situation with the Nexus 4 confidently taking the lead, thanks to its 720p screen. The Galaxy S4 is once again the fastest handset with a 1080p screen, followed by the HTC One. We should note that the Optimus G Pro, which also has a 1080p screen and the Snapdragon 600 CPU, is not far behind the leaders and manages to retain a stable FPS most of the time.
The Quadrant Standard test may not be anything spectacular, especially when compared to tests like GLBenchmark and 3DMark, but it's still one of the most popular benchmarks out there. Here we see the Galaxy S4 show its superiority over all, but with only a marginal advantage over its rival, the HTC One. The Optimus G Pro performed almost as well in this test, as its result was just under 12000. The Nexus 4, which led the charts in the previous tests, has now fallen to a much more modest level.
Another system-oriented benchmark, AnTuTu confirms our observations from Quadrant. The Galaxy S4 and HTC One are the definite leaders here, with the One managing to squeeze a slightly better result: 23529 versus the GS4's 23391. Once again, the Snapdragon 600-powered LG Optimus G Pro takes the comfortable third place, though it makes us wonder why it doesn't achieve a more convincing victory over the handsets with inferior hardware. Also, why isn't it closer to the GS4 and One, which are powered by the same silicon? Most handsets perform well in this test, though we can't help but notice that the Galaxy S III has been last in all tests thus far. Isn't it amazing how last year's fastest phone is this year's slowest one?
Vellamo is a great suite of tests separately measuring HTML5 and 'Metal' performance, with the latter being hardware-related stuff like CPU and graphics. In terms of HTML5, the Optimus G Pro managed to take the cake for some reason, with the HTC One staying close behind. The Galaxy S4 qualified for the third place here, and the Nexus 4, which proved to be quite impressive in terms of computing power, has finished last with a shameful sub-1500 score.
Things got back to normal in the Metal part of the Vellamo benchmark, where the HTC One managed to edge the GS4 for the first place.
3DMark: Ice Storm Extreme
As it's a very popular PC benchmark software, we're quite excited to see 3DMark's arrival in the mobile space. The app comes with two tests: Ice Storm and Ice Storm Extreme. Always wanting to push things to the extreme, we naturally decided to go with Ice Storm Extreme, confident that the smartphones we've lined up here have all the necessary horsepower for the test. Unfortunately, it turned out that the app isn't really compatible with the Galaxy S4 and S III, so those devices had to sit this one out. 3DMark breaks the score down to three categories: Ice Storm Extreme, Graphics test and Physics test.
Thanks to its lower resolution and decent hardware, the Nexus 4 got the best result in the ISE test, but very closely followed by the HTC One. We guess that if the Galaxy S4 could run the test, it would have about the same score as the Nexus 4. Things are almost identical as far as the graphics test is concerned, and finally, it's the Nexus 4 which got the first place in the physics test, though the Note II suddenly decided to mash the Nitro button and finished with an almost identical score. Once again, the Optimus G Pro showed that it may not be the fastest phone around, but it certainly knows how to achieve consistently strong results.
Overall, this extensive benchmark test confirmed our expectations that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is probably the fastest phone around, at least when it comes to synthetic benchmarks. Most of the times, it's rivaled by the HTC One, and sometimes it's even beaten by HTC's finest, but those occasions aren't very often. The Optimus G Pro, the third handset here with a Snapdragon 600 CPU, achieved consistently good results, but it looks like LG hasn't done enough work in the software optimization department. As a result, the G Pro is always inferior to its opponents, except for the HTML5 test.
Thanks to its 720p resolution, the Google Nexus 4 by LG actually treats us to even better frame-rates than the GS4 and the One, so those rocking a Nexus 4 shouldn't be getting worried about the performance of their handset anytime soon. Sure, you won't be getting the super-fine looks present with the smartphones sporting 1080p screen, but at least everything will run smoothly. That is not really the case when it comes to the Note II and especially the Galaxy S III. Samsung's last-year top smartphone and top phablet tend to be noticeably slower than the competition, which is to be expected considering their older hardware. However, that's only if you are after the very best that is available on the mobile market. For the time being, you'll probably be just fine with the GS III or Note II, which are still capable of running all games and apps without a problem. In the near future, though, you might start to feel that your device is falling behind the curve.