Hi, Mi Fans
Most of us are familiar with the term 'Benchmarking' in smartphones. Benchmarks are an important part of Android device reviews. They’re a convenient way to measure the performance of a phone or tablet. You see them on iOS as well, though not as much. iPhones have never been about processors and scores the same way as Android.
However, what do they actually mean? When we say that a device scored a certain level on a certain test, what does that actually imply? What do benchmarks measure, and why should we care about them? We took a look at all these questions considering the most prominent benchmarking app, AnTuTu.
What is a Benchmark?
A Benchmark is an app that measures how fast your phone can run something. It subjects the phone to a series of tests to find the upper limit of its capacities. The idea is that if you subject the phone to enough stress, you can find its maximum performance. That performance can be given a numerical rating, with each number relative to other scores. That’s the thing with benchmarks. There’s no absolute scale. Every benchmark rates apps by its own scale. You can’t compare two benchmark apps, just two devices running the same benchmark.
What do Benchmarks measure?
Benchmarks can measure anything, but they focus mainly on hardware performance and speed. For example, Quadrant and AnTuTu run a bunch of high-speed calculations past the processors to see how fast they can run it.
AnTuTu is one of the most popular benchmark apps for Android devices. It tests many parts of your device and assigns an overall score. Here’s what AnTuTu is actually measuring and what each benchmark means for real-world use.
Like other benchmark apps, AnTuTu gives your device an overall numerical score as well as individual scores for each test it performs. The overall score is created by adding the results of each individual score together. These score numbers don’t mean much on their own; they’re just useful for comparing different devices. For example, if your device’s score is 1000, a device with a score of 2000 is about twice as fast. Individual test scores can be used to compare relative performance between different parts of a device — for example, to compare how fast a phone’s storage performs compared to another phone’s storage.
If you dig into Android’s developer options and switch to the experimental ART runtime — not something we recommend for real-world use yet — your runtime scores should improve. That’s because the newer ART runtime performs better than the older Dalvik runtime in some ways, and this score is all about real performance.
AnTuTu divides the RAM scores into “RAM Operation” and “RAM Speed.” The difference between the two isn’t completely clear — AnTuTu has no documentation explaining which subscore means what — but we’d expect one of these benchmarks applies to RAM write speeds and one applies to RAM read speeds. The overall score indicates how fast your RAM performs.
AnTuTu divides the CPU benchmark into two sub-scores — CPU integer and CPU float-point. You shouldn’t need to care about the difference as a typical user.
If you really want to know, there are two different types of integer types in programming — integer and floating point. An integer stores only integral values, or whole numbers. In other words, an integer could be “2”, “8”, or “343434”, but not “3.14”. A floating point value can potentially have decimal places. For example, a floating point value could be “3.14”, “53.2342”, “6.3423522”, or even “1”. As you might expect, keeping track of all those decimal places and using them in calculations is more work than simply sticking to whole numbers. That’s why your device’s CPU floating point score will be slower than its integer score.
This benchmark is divided into two sub scores — 2D graphics and 3D graphics. You’ll see AnTuTu perform both a 2D test and a 3D test while performing the benchmark. 2D graphics are used when you play something like classic Angry Birds to move the birds and other elements around the screen. 3D graphics are used when you play something like Angry Birds Go! to render a full 3D scene.
AnTuTu displays both Storage I/O and Database I/O benchmark scores. Storage I/O represents the input/output speeds of your device’s internal storage. A database I/O represents the speeds when reading from and writing to a database — this adds more overhead, so this operation is slower.
Why should I bother with Benchmarks?
Benchmarks are a good way to measure a phone’s raw abilities. They can show you some rough numbers of how a device might perform in most situations. However, they aren’t perfect and don’t exactly mirror real-world use. Some manufacturers may optimize their devices to perform faster in some benchmark apps — effectively cheating the benchmarks and making their phones seem faster than they are. For example, a phone may run a benchmark without slowing down its CPU like it would in normal use. The benchmark wouldn’t represent real-world use but would appear faster. Benchmarks like AnTuTu do measure real performance, but you have to take them with a grain of salt.
Benchmarks are useful indicators. They can’t tell you everything about how a phone performs, but they can give you an impression. Keep that in mind and choose wisely.
Hope this guide helped you all. Please do share your thoughts regarding benchmarking in the comments section.