The ZTE Nubia Z9 is the first 1080p phone to outperform the iPhone 6 in our toughest graphics benchmark

The ZTE Nubia Z9 is the first 1080p phone to outperform the iPhone 6 on our toughest graphics benchm
A premium- and online-only sub-brand of ZTE, Nubia has been churning out impressively sounding handsets for two or so years now, and their latest and greatest — the Nubia Z9 — landed in our offices some days ago. While we're still hard at work on the full review, we've already got bits of it ready, including benchmark performance, and we realized something interesting: the Z9 is the first 1080p phone to beat the iPhone 6 in one of our toughest graphics benchmarks.

The test in question is GFXBench's Manhattan benchmark, which takes place on-screen, meaning that the resolution of the phone is taken into account, so you get a realistic indicator of performance in graphics-heavy apps and games. Resolution, precisely, has been a big determinant of success against the iPhone 6, as Apple's device is the only current flagship to offer 750 x 1334 pixels of resolution. Most competing handsets, for better or worse, have moved to Quad HD (1440 x 2560) resolution, though there are still those sticking to the more sane 1080 x 1920 pixels — like the Nubia Z9, the HTC One M9, and the Sony Xperia Z3+. In any case, it is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810-toting Nubia Z9 that finally dethroned the iPhone 6, despite its higher resolution. Here's the proof:

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
nubia Z9 26
Apple iPhone 6 25.8
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 18.4
Sony Xperia Z3+ 17.6
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact 25.8
HTC One M9 24
Samsung Galaxy Note5 15
LG G4 9.4
Google Nexus 6 12

Obviously, it's important to keep in mind that the iPhone 6 manages its result whilst running its GPU at considerably lower clock speeds to preserve power. And sure, our battery benchmark rated it at just 5 hours and 22 minutes, but this is more an issue of small cell capacity than anything else, as we've illustrated before. Still, in total terms the GPU does perform worse in the real world according to GFXBench's scoring rules, and so it's nice to see its Manhattan score finally topped.

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