Nexus 5 performance review: the tale of benchmarks
The Nexus 5 is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 system chip with Adreno 330 graphics. This is the same chip used in all latest top of the line devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Sony Xperia Z1 and the LG G2. Even though the performance of these devices differs slightly (the different amount of RAM and other factors matter), keep in mind that all of them should be on about the same level. Then, there is the new iPhone 5s with Apple’s A7 system chip and the move to 64-bit. We’ll take a look at how all these different architectures compare.
1. CPU Explained
1.1. Nexus 5 scores into top 3 on Sunspider
1.2. Kraken is not a test for cheaters
2. GPU: Play on
2.1. Basemark: Trailing close behind
2.2. GFXBench: the iPhone is the limit
3. Conclusion: best value for the money
*Disclaimer: Almost all manufacturers (except for Apple and Google Nexus devices!) cheat certain benchmarks by forcing CPU and GPU clock speeds to their peak capacity. This is an unusual behaviour for the otherwise varying clock speeds of the CPU and GPU and does not reflect the actual behaviour of a smartphone. This unusual behaviour happens after the handset detects it’s running a specific benchmark applications. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is particularly guilty having the largest list of apps it cheats, but others like the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and LG G2 are also cheating in some apps.
Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. Naturally, it’s an improvement in almost every aspect. (Right now, HTC is the only big phone maker that does not yet have a device powered by this chip, but this could change early next year.)
Now, Snapdragon is the name of the whole system chip. Each of the processing cores is of the latest Krait 400 type, an improvement over the Krait 300 used in the Snapdragon 600 series. One of the most notable differences is that Krait 400 is manufactured using TSMC’s new 28nm HPm process, a more advanced manufacturing technique allowing for optimizations in power usage and an increase in clock speeds. The Nexus 5 can thus run at clock speeds of up to 2.3GHz. Earlier devices with Krait 300 processing cores and Snapdragon 600 could only reach a maximum of 1.9GHz.
It’s a 3-wide out-of-order chip supporting a fairly deep 11-stage pipeline. It is characterized by the comparative reduced latency to main memory and a quicker L2 cache. The whole architecture is a 32-bit one, something that is bound to change on Android soon, and that has already changed in Apple’s ecosystem as it introduced its 64-bit Apple A7 earlier this year and it powers the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina. Faring it against the A7, you'd notice that Apple uses 4 times more Level 1 cache (a type of static and extremely fast memory where often accessed data is stored), but half the L2 cache.
In the case of the Nexus 5, the Snapdragon 800 system chip works alongside 2GB of 32-bit dual-channel 800MHz LP-DDR3 RAM, the same as on the LG G2.
Keep in mind that Sunspider is the target of specific optimizations by various chip makers (definitely Qualcomm), so Snapdragon devices are unsurprisingly among the best ones here.
The first benchmark we’ll look at to measure graphics performance is Basemark X 1.0. It runs game simulations on-screen and at 1080p off-screen. The Nexus 5 has a 1080p display, but since the on-screen buttons take up some of the space, the actual on-screen resolution is in effect slightly smaller so the device pushes less megapixels in the test and it’s on screen results are slightly higher.
For some devices like the iPhone 5s, though, the difference between on-screen and off-screen results is staggering because of the huge difference between the comparatively low resolution of its 4-inch display and the high resolution for offscreen tests.
Looking at the actual results, you’d see that the iPhone 5s leads but the Galaxy Note 3 is a close runner-up. Taking into account that the Note 3 has been proved to cheat this particular benchmark, we would say the Nexus 5 scores brilliantly here - on par with the Xperia Z1 and even outperforming its LG G2 forefather.
It’s also worth mentioning that this is a very stressful graphics test and we expect it to be at least a year until 1080p devices start hitting the coveted 30fps smooth framerate mark here.
BASEMARK X OFF-SCREEN
GFXBench, formerly known as GL Benchmark, is one of the most GPU-intensive tests out there and it gives a detailed breakdown of a video card’s performance. Fill rates (the number of pixels a video card renders and writes to video memory) are the first thing we evaluate and you’d see that Apple is the clear leader, smoking all other devices.
We recommend you take a look at our detailed iPhone 5s performance review where we explain the amazing PowerVR G6430 graphics chip that powers Apple’s latest flagship.
As to the Nexus 5, it again scores perfectly on par with the Note 3 and Xperia Z1, its peers by platform.
GFXBENCH FILL RATE OFF-SCREEN
GFXBENCH T-REX HD ON-SCREEN
All in all, the Nexus 5 performs admirably. A $350 device, it is perfectly on par with much more expensive top-shelf Android phones when it comes to performance. It is clear that Google is subsidizing this handset hugely and just looking at the charts above you should not have any doubt this is the best value for the money device currently on the market.
Still, it is obvious that Apple’s iPhone 5s remains the top performer with its A7 system chip. Its advantage is not huge, but It’s clearly there. Comparing it to other Android devices, though, the Nexus 5 offers just as much in both CPU and GPU muscle.
The Nexus lineup first arrived with the idea to showcase the best of the Android platform, and more recently - the best of Android at an extremely affordable price. The Nexus 5 is no exception to that rule when it comes to its computing power.
Lower is better
Apple iPhone 5s 415.7
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 599
Google Nexus 5 723.9
Sony Xperia Z1 746.2
LG G2 932.8
HTC One 977.9
Samsung Galaxy S4 1082.9
Lower is better
Apple iPhone 5s 5931.8
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 7917.6
Google Nexus 5 8871.7
Sony Xperia Z1 7636
LG G2 7812
HTC One 14598
Samsung Galaxy S4 12227
Basemark X off-screen
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 5s 16.757
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 16.417
Google Nexus 5 14.024
Sony Xperia Z1 14.215
LG G2 12.772
HTC One 7.677
Samsung Galaxy S4 8.566
Basemark X on-screen
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 5s 27.685
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 18.1
Google Nexus 5 17.342
Sony Xperia Z1 17.007
LG G2 14.662
HTC One 8.236
Samsung Galaxy S4 9.148
GFXBench Fill Rate off-screen
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 5s 3317.1
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 1393
Google Nexus 5 1361
Sony Xperia Z1 1372.3
LG G2 1240.9
HTC One 883.7
Samsung Galaxy S4 820.4
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 5s 35
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 26
Google Nexus 5 23
Sony Xperia Z1 23
LG G2 21
HTC One 14
Samsung Galaxy S4 16
GFXBench T-Rex HD off-screen
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 5s 23
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 26
Google Nexus 5 21
Sony Xperia Z1 21
LG G2 20
HTC One 15
Samsung Galaxy S4 16
61. brrunopt (Posts: 396; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
Except is not.. Those CPU "benchs" (not sure you can call them that since they are sh*t) are single core , the iPhone beeing a dual core has a huge advantage...
63. brrunopt (Posts: 396; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
Apple A7 (ipad Air) - 2,782
S800 (Note 3) - ~ 3000
S800 (Note 3) - ~ 2800
66. rd_nest (Posts: 684; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)
Moral of the story: All PA editors (and most so-called reviewers) are bunch of idiots.
73. darkkjedii (Posts: 10122; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
You mad bro? Here I'll let you play with my 5S, that'll make you feel better.
77. brrunopt (Posts: 396; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
"argumentum ad hominem, is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument"
93. Smokin (Posts: 117; Member since: 10 Oct 2013)
LOL the resolution is only half of Note 3 and the gang lol. It's not even HD
96. kmaheynoway (Posts: 4; Member since: 14 Nov 2013)
Unless I am misunderstanding you, I must conclude you're an under-informed iphone/samsung lover. The nexus five has a 1920x1080 display (441ppi,) HD is considered 1080x720.
62. brrunopt (Posts: 396; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
do you even know what the "FILL RATE" means ? it won't translate to actual performance,..
65. rd_nest (Posts: 684; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)
On-screen? do you understand the difference between on-screen and off-screen?
Fill-rate? It's a low level test and everyone knows the PowerVR uses tile-based rendering and has massive fill rates compared to other architectures. That doesn't mean sh!t in actual performance.
3. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2992; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
I'll get one the day Google treats every country equal (on pricing).
4. Qbancelli (Posts: 59; Member since: 11 Mar 2010)
I'm convinced the main reason for this article was to show the iphone's superiority.
9. alterecho (Posts: 1056; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
The article reads:"Nexus 5 performance review"
iPhone release date:September 2013
Nexus 5 release date:November 2013
Its logical to spotlight the newer Nexus 5's performance compared to the phones already in market.
You want the iPhone 5s to be left out of the benchmarks since it beats Nexus 5 and every other phone except on one test?
21. Ninetysix (Posts: 1363; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)
You can if you're smart enough to do it. Hopefully you can figure it out.
22. alterecho (Posts: 1056; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
I didn't write this article, but if you would like to see it, theres a dropdown, below each benchmark. You can include the 5 (5C) from there.
10. rusticguy (Posts: 2819; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
Ancel Keys did the same thing when he proved FAT is bad for heart ... this is called "Cherry Picking"
42. jove39 (Posts: 1247; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
A7 soc in iPhone5s is undoubtedly most powerful arm soc with v8 instruction-set...except exynos 5420...And I have ordered N5...can't wait for it...but I respect work apple engineers have done for A7.
97. kmaheynoway (Posts: 4; Member since: 14 Nov 2013)
What gives the leg up to the iPhone processor is that everything is highly optimized, and it has a 64 bit processor. With android, nothing is optimized really, because not a single manufacturer makes the phones. iPhones are only made by apple and only run their os giving them the ability to optimize the phone to it's max potential, unlike with android. I am an android fanboy, don't get me wrong, but apple definitely has it's strings together.
102. conix67 (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 Nov 2013)
Each Android phone manufacturer has a chance to optimize theirs as well, that itself isn't the limiting factor. Let alone optimization, they are struggling to provide OS updates. These companies want to make money, while spending the least possible, that's all.
5. alterecho (Posts: 1056; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
Thats a nice showing by Apple in all except one of the benchmarks.
18. tech2 (Posts: 1787; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)
True. But Nexus 5 is almost equivalent's to iPhone5s' performance at half the price..............so no complains here !
23. alterecho (Posts: 1056; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
Some of the benchmarks show the iPhone 5S to be considerably faster than the rest.
26. tech2 (Posts: 1787; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)
I see no benchmark in which Iphone scores significantly higher score apart from the screen benchmarks......and we both know why iphones performs better in them
33. alterecho (Posts: 1056; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
Sunspider and GFXBench fillrate offscreen.
47. Taters (Posts: 2592; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
The only reason Apple wins in sun spider is because of safari and iOS 7. Scratch that, because of safari. Run sunspider using an actually fair method, such as eliminating variables by using the same browser, the iPhone 5 gets smoked. Chrome and puffin are available on both platforms. Run sunspider on chrome for both and watch Apple's benchmark superiority completely evaporate.
In fact, someone should port iOS 7 on the Nexus 5 and watch the Nexus 5 crush the iPhone 5s. Or port kit kart on the iPhone 5s and watch it bench lower than even the lowly nexus 4.
51. bigstrudel (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)
It's cheating because Safari is faster than any other browser around? There is no "equal" comparison possible here. Chrome for the iPhone is different than Chrome for Android. You have to just test the fastest browser available.
54. Taters (Posts: 2592; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
There is no perfect comparison in this world that exists but statistics and science dictate that you need to eliminate confounding variables as much as possible.
And in the case of completely different operating systems. Chrome vs chrome or puffin vs puffin is the closest you can get to being fair. Not comparing super fast and light safari to super bloated and slow chrome.
As you can see in a more fair and controlled environment, the Nexus 5 smokes the 5s like it should, considering it has way more ram, cores, etc.
52. alterecho (Posts: 1056; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
I really don't get why its hard for some people to just accept the fact that the iPhone 5S is a phenomenal performer, currently, instead finding a way to dispute the actual, evidence backed, facts.
"The only reason Apple wins in sun spider is because of safari and iOS 7. "
Thats cheating? Safari is abrowser like any other and iOS is an operating system.
Maybe you are finding it difficult that a dual core 1 gig phone is besting all the other quad core multi-gigs phone.
The fact is, the Apple's A7 processor is well designed. I'm not going to say that 64 bit processor is the reason. To my knowledge its a marketing gimmick. But the A7 really is very very fast, 32-bit or 64-bit. that combined with the top to bottom optimized iOS, provides those amazing benchmarks. Thats something only Apple could pull off, since they control both the hardware and software.
55. Taters (Posts: 2592; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
That is not very good evidence plain and simple. It is Apple and it's fans cherry picking results. It is similar to high lighting your strengths in an article and ignoring your weaknesses.
Apple is the master of deception and it seems like the itards have bought it hook line and sinker.
59. alterecho (Posts: 1056; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
"That is not very good evidence plain and simple"
Expected answer from someone who find it hard to accept the facts or hate seeing their choice taking second place.
" It is Apple and it's fans cherry picking results"
Evidence? As far as I can see, these are standard benchmarks used in the industry.
"It is similar to high lighting your strengths in an article and ignoring your weaknesses."
May I know what these strengths and weaknesses are?
"Apple is the master of deception"
Read the disclaimer at the start of the article.
"seems like the itards have bought it hook line and sinker."
As opposed to the retards who find it difficult to live with facts and want everyone to like their choice.
81. Taters (Posts: 2592; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
You want to see how just badly Apple has their wool over your eyes? Here.....
I always go by logic and I know when someone is rigging results or not and Apple are the masters of deception, Samsung is not even close.
I hate to break it to you but even a mid range android like the Xperia SP can kill in benchmarks if it ran safari and iOS 7. That is just common sense and nothing more. 2 is greater than 1 and you can't spin that just like Apple can't spin sub 720p, 1gb of ram, small batteries, and dualcores as being superior to full 1080p, 3gb of ram, huge 3000 may battery, and quadcores clocked really high. Those are the facts.
Apple can spin and minimize as much as possible with their sneky methods and cherry picking but yeah. 2 is greater than 1......
82. alterecho (Posts: 1056; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
"You want to see how just badly Apple has their wool over your eyes? Here....."
That video still didn't say anything about Apple rigging results.
"I always go by logic" - claim.
"and I know when someone is rigging results or not and Apple are the masters of deception, Samsung is not even close." - counter claim
"I hate to break it to you but even a mid range android like the Xperia SP can kill in benchmarks if it ran safari and iOS 7"
My point exactly. iOS is better optimized with its hardware.
"That is just common sense and nothing more"
"Apple can't spin 720p, 1gb of ram, small batteries, and dualcores as being superior to full 1080p, 3gb of ram, huge 3000 may battery, and quadcores clocked really high"
Screen - agreed.
RAM - agreed, but iOS can make do with smaller amount of RAM. More Ram is always better, provided the CPU is capable enough.
Batteries - disagree. Apple's iOS devices provide great battery life even with small capacities.
High clocked Quadcores being better - disagree.
It depends on the architecture.
Example 1 - Some Intel dual core processors are better than AMD's higher clocked quad core processors
Example 2 - Even in the Android world, quad core Mediatek processors are no match for Qualcomm dual core.
2 is greater than 1 is good in terms of marketing in the tech world. I even call 64-bit processors a bluff as far as i know.
83. Taters (Posts: 2592; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
It doesn't matter the architecture, the Nexus 5 has more powerful hardware hands down. It doesn't matter how efficient it is it's still less powerful.
Whether you like a Prius better or a Mustang is irrelevant, I personal rather have a Prius but when you see reports of the Prius beating Mustangs in performance, you KNOW Toyota is rigging it by default.
Just like it is obvious Apple is rigging it by choosing only certain benchmarks and hiding behind iOS and Safari and acting like it's just as intensive as chrome and Android and people like you are buying it.
85. alterecho (Posts: 1056; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
"It doesn't matter the architecture"
This statement by you right there proves you don't know about processors.
The benchmarks and tests show show the iPhone 5s having better performance and yet, you remain in denial.
"Apple is rigging it by choosing only certain benchmarks"
These aren't benchmarks run by Apple. These benchmarks are chosen by tech sites and run independently by them with no communication with Apple whatsoever. More over, this is a Nexus 5 article, so why would they?
87. Taters (Posts: 2592; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
Lol I know plenty about processors, and you obviously do not. Chances are, if the architectures were created at the same time or close to the same generation, 4 cores will beat out 2, period.
It is only in cases where you compare a dual core A15 with a quad core A9, a generational difference, where the architecture makes a big difference and the dual core wins. if they are in the same league and field and generation, quad core is better most of the time and architectures matter very little. And in this case, Apple isn't using anything that far ahead of Qualcomm that would suggest two of their cores could outperform 4 of Qualcomms.
Lol you actually think it is hard for Apple to stage it so they win benchmarks and make themselves look good in the process? It is a form of marketing and it apparently works because you are too dense to see it.
I already explained it to you how the iPhone wins those benchmarks but you just refuse to hear it. I'll explain again. Apple or their fans cherry pick those benchmarks that are high because of THE SOFTWARE, not the hardware or the architecture.
I just posted a video of the Nexus 5 creaming the iPhone 5s in everything with much less optimized software and pushing a lot heavier load. And you are still thinking Apple isn't manipulating anything? Jeez you are dense....
89. alterecho (Posts: 1056; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
"Chances are, if the architectures were created at the same time or close to the same generation, 4 cores will beat out 2, period."
Only if the architectures are same.
"Lol I know plenty about processors, and you obviously do not."
contradicted by next statement i argued above.
The A7 in the iPhone 5S is Apple designed unlike others, where they use qualcomm's designs.
Look at these:
Some of the benchmarks are Google's too.
If you still claim these are cherrypicked,
Then the video which shows Nexus 5 performing better than ip5s also to be cherry picked.
"Apple or their fans cherry pick those benchmarks that are high because of THE SOFTWARE, not the hardware or the architecture."
First off, there's no cherry picking aking place, second, the hardware strives to provide a fast software experience, and since the software runs fast on the ip5s, that means...
88. Taters (Posts: 2592; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
I'll lay it out for you nice and simple. If the Nexus 5, which gets smoked by the iPhone 5s in cherry picked benchmarks, can cream the 5s in real life speed tests ,as the video I posted shows, while at the same time using much less optimized software and pushing a lot more pixels, then you know those benchmarks results are a steaming pile of....
There is no other way to explain it, the Nexus 5 needs much more powerful hardware to be able to pull that off.
90. alterecho (Posts: 1056; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
"'ll lay it out for you nice and simple. If the Nexus 5, which gets smoked by the iPhone 5s in cherry picked benchmarks"
If the benchmarks are cherry picked, so could the tests in the video, since there are two google softwares being tested with.
"can cream the 5s in real life speed tests"
You make it sound as though the Nexus 5 won all and by a mile.
"There is no other way to explain it, the Nexus 5 needs much more powerful hardware to be able to pull that off."
91. Taters (Posts: 2592; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
I give up. You are obviously hitting the Apple koolaid pretty hard.
This is the last thing I'll say on the matter... How does the Nexus 5 beat the iPhone 5s in real life speed tests if it pushes a lot more pixels and a much more intensive operating system without superior hardware? The answer is that iit can't without superior hardware. Which means that the benchmarks that say the 5s is superior are either wrong or Apple is a con artist.
As far as that video being rigged, we'll just do the speed tests yourself and the LG G2 and Nexus 5 will be faster each and every time.
92. alterecho (Posts: 1056; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
"How does the Nexus 5 beat the iPhone 5s in real life speed tests if it pushes a lot more pixels and a much more intensive operating system without superior hardware? The answer is that iit can't without superior hardware."
I never said the Nexus 5 is slouch. It's a great phone indeed. All I did was, point out iPhone 5S performing terrifically compared to the 'by the numbers' seemingly monster specs of its rivals.
"Which means that the benchmarks that say the 5s is superior are either wrong or Apple is a con artist."
The ip5s has a different architecture and it really is fast. This is the conclusion by reviewers around the web after testing it themselves, and not my words.
"As far as that video being rigged, we'll just do the speed tests yourself and the LG G2 and Nexus 5 will be faster each and every time."
I don't have an iPhone so I can't.
84. Taters (Posts: 2592; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
Another trick they pull off well is charging you 3x for the price of a phone and taking credit for great customer service if they replace it once.....
Um itards, you paid for two phones and a warranty that costs as much as a phone already included in your cost, they better replace it.
While another company gets blamed because they can't afford to replace your phone even once because they lost money on the phone already. Neat little trick.
And don't get me started on their imaginary update superiority....
86. alterecho (Posts: 1056; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
Yes their products are priced high and I won't say their performance advantage justifies the prices, since i can't judge for others.
As for the other companies though, I've heard horrendous stories of Samsung's after sales services, and I've had some bad experiences with some others.
If they can't replace the phone for no fault of the customer, it's bad.
99. kmaheynoway (Posts: 4; Member since: 14 Nov 2013)
Alright, here goes nothing. In the real world, outside of benchmarks, the phone's performances are nearly identical (I might even go to say the nexus 5 performs better in real life scenarios) it really just boils down to if you prefer android or ios. I mean, 23 frames and 30 frames are indistinguishable from each other in real life performance.
7. mobi_user (Posts: 105; Member since: 18 Jun 2013)
So much talk about Sapdragon 800 and optimization etc. But does these optimizations and advancement stand anywhere near Apple. They achieve far better results with just dual core.
Andriod it the one thing which needs more optimizations.
8. TerryCrowley (Posts: 184; Member since: 31 Jul 2011)
The iPhones performance is attributed to it's small, low resolution display.
12. amanlife249 (Posts: 6; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)
Put an iPad mini or and iPad air. The benchmarks are still higher. I don't think display size matter that drastic change which you assume. Have to agree , chip is one beast. Just need a great software to make good use of it.
98. kmaheynoway (Posts: 4; Member since: 14 Nov 2013)
Have you even looked at the benchmarks... Which ones?
16. amanlife249 (Posts: 6; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)
Agreed a7 is one sexy processor. I agree with woz's saying wish google and apple came together and make a super phone.
A7 chip 5"inch display 1080p android 4.4 optimized by both companies. Touch id iPhone camera will do. And their build quality. And Idc price it 650$.it will be one phone to last half a decade atleast.
36. noler (Posts: 162; Member since: 19 Aug 2013)
The iphone 5s is fast because of the A7 + iOS.
A7 + android Will not be so fast.