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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 benchmarks: is Samsung really cheating?

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 benchmarks: is Samsung really cheating?
Synthetic benchmarks, as unreliable as they can be sometimes, are handy little tools we often use to test a given smartphone's performance. Their results allow us to stack up most handsets against their contenders and see which one of them is, theoretically, the fastest. That is why we test each smartphone we review, from those cheapo entry-level handsets to the top-of-the-line flagships.

And naturally, now that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has materialized in retail form, it is time for us to give it the benchmark treatment. It comes with Qualcomm's best SoC so far, namely the Snapdragon 800 packing four Krait 400 cores that can sprint at up to 2.3GHz, a 450MHz Adreno 330 GPU, and a whopping 3GB of RAM has been thrown in for good measure. Needless to say, our expectations are set pretty high.

The Galaxy Note 3 CPU is locked at 2.3GHz even when no benchmark is running

The Galaxy Note 3 CPU is locked at 2.3GHz even when no benchmark is running

"But wait, I've read that the Note 3 uses some booster thingy to cheat in benchmarks ." Well, we've heard this one too and it is actually kind of true. This recently discovered "benchmark booster" on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a piece of software made to detect when a benchmark app is running. As soon as one is launched, it locks all of the CPU's cores at their maximum frequency of 2.3GHz in attempt to temporarily increase the phone's performance, thus artificially boosting its benchmark score. Of course, we had to test this, so we loaded an app on our Note 3 showing the CPU's clock speed. Sure enough, it spiked and stuck to the chip's maximum clock rate as soon as we opened AnTuTu, Quadrant, or Vellamo. Moreover, the processor's speed stood at 2.3GHz during most of the time as these benchmarks ran. Interestingly, GFX Bench wasn't affected, so perhaps it isn't being targeted by this so-called booster. 

Just to make sure this kind of behavior wasn't normal, we also installed AnTuTu X Benchmark Editor, which is an edition of the popular AnTuTu benchmark designed "to prevent fraud and cheating". And nope, there was no sudden CPU clock increase when we opened the app, nor was its speed locked at 2.3GHz as the benchmark ran. Instead, there was a lot more fluctuation of the processor's frequency going on as this alternative AnTuTu benchmark was doing its thing. 

Yet surprisingly, test after test, both the official and alternative AnTuTu apps came up with identical scores, generally between 29 000 and 31 000 points, but most often within several hundred points of each another. Therefore, while there really seems to be some kind of a cheating attempt going on, we have reasons to believe that AnTuTu might not be affected drastically by the CPU clock boost. Other benchmark apps, however, might be, so keep that in mind. 

Despite all that, we know it's solid figures you, guys, want from us. Well, here we go.

General benchmarks


We'll start with a couple of benchmark apps measuring the overall performance of each device – Quadrant, AnTuTu, and Vellamo Metal. The first two test the raw computation power of a smartphone's CPU, taking into account all of its cores, of course. The performance of its GPU, RAM, and storage are also measured. The latter does all that as well, except that it doesn't benchmark the handset's graphics.

score
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
22270
LG G2
20654
Sony Xperia Z1
20277
HTC One
12481
Samsung Galaxy S4
12078
View all
As the figures show, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is one of the top performers overall, but it isn't an undisputed leader. The LG G2 and the Sony Xperia Z1 are well capable of reaching similar results. This comes as no surprise, actually. After all, they are powered by the same Snapdragon 800 SoC. 
 

Graphics benchmarks


Next up we have several GFX Bench tests. This benchmark app is focused solely on graphics performance, which is of utmost importance to those who play a lot of heavy games on their devices. It can really push a smartphone's GPU to its limits, all the while demonstrating the kind of eye-candy modern smartphones are capable of delivering.

score
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
26
Sony Xperia Z1
21
LG G2
20
Samsung Galaxy S4
16
HTC One
15
View all
This time we have Samsung Galaxy Note 3 leading the pack. Even though the Xperia Z1 and the LG G2 come with an identical GPU, Samsung's phablet somehow manages to squeeze a few more frames per second out of it. The gap isn't vast, but it is clearly there.

Browser benchmarks


Yup, the following tests show how well a phone's web browser performs. Vellamo measures extensively the phone's ability to handle HTML 5 content, while Kraken, developed by the guys at Mozilla, tests JavaScript performance. Note that the latter runs in the web browser itself so it eliminates the possibility of benchmark results being affected by the aforementioned booster. This time we have the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 beaten by both the LG G2 and the Xperia Z1, albeit not by much.

score
Higher is better
LG G2
2951
Sony Xperia Z1
2889
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
2766
HTC One
2395
Samsung Galaxy S4
1702
View all

So all in all, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is, as expected, one of the fastest Android phones out there and its benchmark results do support this claim. It does not sit alone at the top, however, for its rivals can easily match, or even surpass its scores. As for those accusations against Samsung for artificially boosting the Note 3's scores, they are indeed supported by a lot of evidence. However, we can't say that the phablet's results are drastically improved by whatever software tool Samsung is supposedly using to cheat with. Ultimately, we all know that a smartphone's real life performance is far more important than its benchmark scores – that's what we should take into account before labeling any smartphone as "fastest". 

93 Comments
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posted on 09 Oct 2013, 12:24 20

1. Shatter (Posts: 1766; Member since: 29 May 2013)


If Samsungs cheating LG must be doing tons of steroids + cheating.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 14:20 7

39. rd_nest (Posts: 605; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)


^^ My reply not meant for you. But PA in general.

Phonearena should first explain why are the using 4rd class benchmarks like quadrant, antutu? Why use vellamo when you know that this was developed by Qualcomm?

I challenge them to explain what these numbers mean. My question to them is to explain what does 25,000 on Antutu means in terms of benchmark? Everyone can tell what exactly it means by when someone says on-screen fill rate in GFXbench.

Why keep using these GARBAGE benchmarks which gives you an arbitrary number and explains nothing about it's significance? Even if someone "optimizes" for Sunspider, it still makes some sense, but some of these benchmarks are plain useless.

BTW, if a benchmark doesn't not push the CPU and GPU to 100% utilization, I consider that useless. It's like performing benchmark at 50% efficiency. What's the point of a benchmarking tool if it doesn't saturate the hardware??

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 16:03 5

54. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 819; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


"My reply [is] not meant for you.."

Then why'd you click the reply button?

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 20:41 6

80. heyhi (Posts: 118; Member since: 19 Feb 2013)


cuz i think he wanted to catch PA's attention, posting his message at the beggining is easier to everyone read it
usually when there are a lot of messages, some users dont read till the bottom or next page(s).

posted on 10 Oct 2013, 15:59

90. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 819; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


It was more a rhetorical question, but whatever.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 14:22 6

40. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3515; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Hey it's not cheating if you don't get caught.....

Ohh wait, they did get caught.... right?!? lol

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 17:58 2

70. sharks (Posts: 163; Member since: 16 Feb 2013)


Nope. The G2's Snapdragon 800 SoC is actually slightly over-clocked. This means that its hardware is perfectly capable of delivering better performance relative to the stock SoC on the Note 3 and Z1.

posted on 10 Oct 2013, 08:33 1

89. Mittal (Posts: 426; Member since: 14 Dec 2011)


Obviously you think LG is some kind of an inferior company and that they are nothing but desperate copycats/cheats whose products nobody wants...
Any facts to support your feelings or are you just blabbering nonsense ?

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 12:26 34

2. _Bone_ (Posts: 2061; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


If you understand what benchmarking means, then no, they are not cheating - benchmarks merely measure the HARDWARE MAXIMUM without telling much about daily usage. You see 90% of your daily apps don't use peak frequencies in order to save battery, it's called OPTIMIZATION, and it WORKS, as your Note is a battery champion.

What Sammy and others do, is letting benchmarks do what they are supposed to: have access to the hardware maximum and show practically useless numbers, but show them as far as the CPU and GPU can go, and that's what the Note III allows.. The "cheating" is optimizing every other app, but I don't feel cheated when I get two full days of usage. I feel blessed.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 12:39 2

6. AstronautJones (Posts: 166; Member since: 01 Aug 2012)


True.

These phones with the same processor and OS
should all be close enough it doesnt really matter anyway, right? More about the end user experience with custom software, ie Touchwiz.

Matter of preference IMHO

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 12:40 8

7. HansGoneInsane (Posts: 270; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)


Samsung cheats. Other manufacturers cheat too. Apple doesn't and still sets the benchmarks. Buy iPhones, be happy.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:02 12

15. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1618; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


baaaaaaa go graze

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:08 15

16. PapaSmurf (Posts: 6621; Member since: 14 May 2012)


I wouldn't buy an iPhone simply because I care about battery life. Note 3 = two full days on a single charge. Thanks but no thanks. :)

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 15:18 1

44. bigstrudel (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)


Tablet. Enjoy stretched pockets or your man-purse.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 15:32 8

47. Pancholo (Posts: 370; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


You probably need to stop wearing tight, skinny jeans if that's your only reasoning. My pockets are A-OK.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 15:41

51. GeekyGene (Posts: 86; Member since: 25 Aug 2013)


Man purse lol. That actually made me spit out laughing XD thanks.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 17:12 7

66. PapaSmurf (Posts: 6621; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Fits perfectly in my pants thank you very much. Once a hater always a hater.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 15:34 2

48. papss (Posts: 3388; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


Yeah my battery life has been great on my note 3. Note two days but a good day and half.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:12 17

19. kamejoko (Posts: 98; Member since: 10 Nov 2011)


How do you know apple doesn't cheat? If apple cheated, you don't have any tool to know it and can not access to source ios to see it.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:31

27. Shatter (Posts: 1766; Member since: 29 May 2013)


The only way to know will be if someone gets android 100% ported to the iphone, people have tried it is extremely hard but possible.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:12 20

20. tedkord (Posts: 3912; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


We have no idea if Apple "cheats", since we can't examine the source to see what they do.

Regardless, I am much happier with my GS3 than I ever could be with a limited device like the iPhone.

posted on 11 Oct 2013, 19:27

91. ncarlosmiguel (Posts: 204; Member since: 14 May 2013)


I'm also annoyed on how my GS3 fits in my pocket but I wouldn't trade it for an iphone. Maybe I'll just buy moto x or droid mini for my next phone for pocket and one hand use issues. Android all the way.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 15:14 2

43. dratomic (Posts: 335; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)


in real life scenarios more people like freedom (file manager and ...) which windows os gives them on their mobiles. and this was available by symbian then and android now. I personally would never think of buying an iphone when there is no system wide file manager and file transfer by bluetooth or wifi direct or... no matter how great user experience is. I don't count it in the same group with android cause it needs a pc (or mac) to be fully operational. so iphone (and ios) would never make me happy. :)

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 16:06

56. papss (Posts: 3388; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


I agree with most of what you said but one part... i don't agree that most people want file manager..hell most consumers have no idea what file manager is.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 12:41 3

8. SleepingOz (Posts: 2474; Member since: 22 Oct 2011)


You've said it all but then, fanboys and haters are too biased to acknowledge this.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:00 6

13. Pancholo (Posts: 370; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


Fangirls gonna hate.

After all, they are merely making the benchmark's job easier, right? If Apple did it, it'd be OK.

I don't care who does it; it'd make sense anyway. Every other product out there shows you (generally) their maximum output when it comes to performance.

Oh well - Can't stop people from taking a grain of salt and turning it into their biggest problem in life.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:25

24. Jobayer (Posts: 73; Member since: 22 Feb 2013)


benchmarking present participle of bench·mark (Verb)
Verb
Evaluate or check (something) by comparison with a standard
google it

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 14:46 2

42. blazee (Posts: 239; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


Those are fake numbers bc their hardware doesn't operate at that level on ANYTHING else but WHITELISTED BENCHMARK tests. So yea you will have a great device that is a killer at only POPULAR benchmarks lol but nothing else. And not all manufacturers do it. Motorola, nexus drives and apple doesn't. F#ck it I love android but I'm not gonna let some manufacturers spit at me and tell me its rain.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 15:29 2

45. Pancholo (Posts: 370; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


Just play the same graphically-intensive game across devices and come back with a report of your findings.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 17:13 2

67. blazee (Posts: 239; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


These manufacturers waste time trying to optimize their device to work well in known benchmark tests. Its only reason is to deceive the consumer. The SAME EXACT benchmark tests when run under a different name do no give you the same results. So what's the point to optimize an a device to work on a know test? To deceive you that's why. Instead of wasting time to lie to you they should spend more time making the experience of using it better. Sorry I +1 your comment by mistake

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 16:45 1

63. tedkord (Posts: 3912; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Yes, it does. This doesn't overclock the device in any way. It runs it at it's rated spec.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 17:15

68. blazee (Posts: 239; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


That's not what I read.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 19:09 1

77. _Bone_ (Posts: 2061; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Maybe that's cause of the whole hysteria, inability to comprehensively read.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 12:27 3

3. HansGoneInsane (Posts: 270; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)


I wish you had included the iPhone 5S in this test as a reference point.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 12:51 3

11. Shatter (Posts: 1766; Member since: 29 May 2013)


I know the 5s is worse at the offscreen, I believe it gets like 1-2FPS less than the note 3 got. It gets like 37 in the onscreen since its not pushing as many pixels.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 12:56

12. HansGoneInsane (Posts: 270; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)


I can't recall the exact numbers. On screen frame-rate doesn't matter because it is hard to compare. Even if the iPhone pushed 1-2FPS fewer than the Note 3 off-screen, it would be a great achievement because of 1/3 of the Ram of the Note 3 and a much smaller device.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:15 2

22. tedkord (Posts: 3912; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


What does the size of the device have to do with how many pixels it can push. Your betraying a complete lack of tech knowledge here. Is this Taco?

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 14:05

33. HansGoneInsane (Posts: 270; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)


Size matters in all mobile devices a lot! Every millimeter counts. You will hardly find unused space in a mobile device. And that is why size matters in a smartphone. It is a remarkable achievement if one is able to put as much power as or even more power than the Galaxy Note 3 offers into a much smaller device.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 16:05 2

55. tedkord (Posts: 3912; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


It still has nothing to do with FPS. You could fit the CPU/ GPU from either device in a much smaller space.

It's the functionality that adds size. The Note 3 has that in Spades over the iPhone.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 21:58

83. HansGoneInsane (Posts: 270; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)


I disagree. What about heat that is emitted from an eight or quad core device? you need to fit 3gb of ram in there too. this is where the size could matter.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 16:34 1

62. Shatter (Posts: 1766; Member since: 29 May 2013)


"What does the size of the device"

The FPS difference is not from the size -facepalm- it is from the iphone 5s only being 1136x640 and the Note 3s 1920x1080, pushing a little over 2.85x more pixels over the iphone. If the Note 3 was only 1136x640 it would be beating the iphone 5s in the onscreen.

That is the only real world test here is Game FPS. Both are great performers for graphics though and you can't go wrong with either. I personally would take the 5" screen over the 4" if I was using it as a gaming device.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 16:47

64. tedkord (Posts: 3912; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Why are you replying to me with that? It's essentially what I said.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:53 2

31. bigstrudel (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)


On screen performance does matter though because that's the fps you'll actually see while playing a real game. It's not irrelevant.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 14:01

32. HansGoneInsane (Posts: 270; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)


I said it doesn't matter because its hard to compare and I was referring to shatter with my comment. Stop writing before reading please. Get the context first!

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 14:05

35. PapaSmurf (Posts: 6621; Member since: 14 May 2012)


I never thought I'd say this, but I finally agree with you.

posted on 10 Oct 2013, 00:18

87. joey_sfb (Posts: 1973; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


in your world iPhone always win. good luck trying to convince the rest of the world to see your narrow logic.

posted on 10 Oct 2013, 02:52

88. WindowsiDroid (Posts: 99; Member since: 22 Jul 2013)


Apple iP5S A7 is weak if you compare it to SD800. Coz iP5S only use 640 x 1136 pixels unlike its competitors use 1080p! But if you compare Exy.5420 to A7, iP5S A7 will totally lose coz even
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) can reach 33k in Antutu using 1600p.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 12:34 1

4. yonith (Posts: 26; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)


I would be curious to find out what other applications are affected by this so called "cheating" software. Maybe it's just used to deliver the best possible performance on apps it know will strain resources.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 12:34 7

5. shuaibhere (Posts: 876; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


Oh common why note 2 specifically???
Antutu proved that lg, asus and huwaei too are cheating...
This article is just made to entertain samsung haters in PA.....big part of PA readers are samsung haters...so i see no surprise here...

I think for the first time I'm gonna get banned...

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:09

17. PapaSmurf (Posts: 6621; Member since: 14 May 2012)


I don't see why you should. But then again, I said the same thing about myself and look what happened. Thanks Joh... I'll just stop.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:14 1

21. DukeX (Posts: 327; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)


Careful. Phonearena mobsters are watching you will the ban bat.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:28

25. PapaSmurf (Posts: 6621; Member since: 14 May 2012)


With*

Yeah I know. They're everywhere..

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 18:21 1

74. DukeX (Posts: 327; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)


I seriously tried to watch my grammar because i knew you would correct it. Still failed anyway.....

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 20:39

79. PapaSmurf (Posts: 6621; Member since: 14 May 2012)


I*

At least you tried. Thanks for the laugh though lol.

+1

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 12:42 3

9. maherk (Posts: 408; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


I don't believe that it falls under the cheating section. It's like when car makers tell you how fast their car can go but still put a speed limit so people won't reach. It's just giving us an idea about how fast and powerful their product is. Cheating would be the case when they manipulate the numbers.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 12:44 2

10. twens (Posts: 443; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)


but you see benchmark scores vary too much to be taken seriously. At home when i run antutu i get scores on my note 3 which are higher than what the lg g2 scores in the article. i have seen on the internet some note 3 benchmarks are higher some are lower. so in all true facts benchmarks are some how gimmicks. If the scores were constant then i will believe but its not. it changes too much.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:11

18. PapaSmurf (Posts: 6621; Member since: 14 May 2012)


But at the end of the day, Note 3 is the fastest device with a battery that lasts over two days on a single charge. Be happy that you have the best device in the world in your hands. :')

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:01 1

14. darkkjedii (Posts: 9274; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Interesting info. Still a beast though.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:18 3

23. TreyTreyTaylor (Posts: 275; Member since: 21 Dec 2010)


Why is this cheating at all? That's basically optimization at its finest. My Note 3 is so fast and perfect to me I could care less about benchmarks these days.

Let's see 3 gigs of ram, 2.3 quad, 32 gbs, 5.7 inch 1080p Super Amoled. That makes me perfectly content with any thing this phone does to maximize performance or save battery. Some people I swear.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:30 3

26. PapaSmurf (Posts: 6621; Member since: 14 May 2012)


PLUS support for 64GB SD card (Class 10) so up to about 90GB available. What more could you possibly want? :)

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