Android 4.4 Update Ends Samsung’s Benchmark Boosting
The past few months the folks at Samsung were accused of artificially boosting the benchmark performance of their high-end smartphones, by overclocking the CPU and GPU while the benchmark tests are running. With Android 4.4 KitKat, Samsung has ceased this behavior. The whitelists have been removed, the browser no longer detects SunSpider or Rightware’s Browsermark, and the phone doesn’t display unusual activity or processor clocks when benchmark applications are run.
While the phones do still perform better than their Android 4.2 running counterparts, that should mostly be a result of the under-the-hood improvements made by Google in the latest version of the mobile OS.
According to a report by Ars Technica:
Moving to Android 4.4, that strange CPU activity stops happening. Every single benchmark we ran prompted variable-but-normal fluctuations in CPU speed based on actual activity. Speeds would ramp up for a couple of seconds while the app launched, but once it became idle, the speeds settled back down to where they would normally be.
Compare this to the behaviour in Android 4.3 “where all four cores go right to the maximum speed of 1.9GHz when a benchmark app is opened.”
Benchmarks are useful tools, but they are not, or should not be, the deciding factor in purchasing a device anyway but we’re glad to see Samsung moving away from this behavior on older devices. The real test will come with the launch of the Galaxy S5.