Zoom, Zoom! Early Samsung Galaxy S 4 benchmark shows fastest phone yet

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Samsung not only has the newest phone about to hit the market, but it also may have the fastest. At last week’s Samsung Galaxy S 4 launch event, Android Authority ran a Geekbench 2 test on the handset, where it earned a score of 3163. Primate Labs, the company behind the benchmarking software, then compared that figure to prior tests on currently available handsets, finding that the Galaxy S 4 tops all handsets in this particular performance test — besting Apple’s iPhone 5 by nearly double.

The new Galaxy S 4 — using Qualcomm’s 1.9 GHz Snapdragon 600 — also returned a score higher than the new HTC One, which also uses a Snapdragon 600. The HTC One Score of 2687 is likely due to a slower version of the chip; it clocks at 1.7 GHz, likely to balance performance and battery life. Here’s a full chart of the Geekbench 2 scores:

Geekbench 2 - March 2013

While synthetic benchmarks are a good indicator of performance, that’s all they are: indicators. There are many tests available to use on smartphones that check performance for specific features. Mozilla’s SunSpider or Google’s Chrome Octane tests, both challenge a phone to run through JavaScript tests, for example. So it’s possible that the Galaxy S 4 won’t be the fastest phone at every single task.

Air Touch on Galaxy S 4However, raw performance is key when it comes to many smartphone tasks. The responsiveness of the user interface is a perfect example; swiping to another home screen should be instant at this point, for example. Processing of high-definition videos and still camera images is another area that benefits from hardware performance. Samsung’s AirTouch hovering isn’t much use if it takes too long for information to pop up. And of course, if you’re a gamer, you want the chips in your smartphone to offer the fastest frame rates and greatest visual details.

One of the reasons for Samsung’s smartphone success over the past three years is a large marketing effort. I suspect the company will latch onto benchmark tests such as these and pound out the message repeatedly that its phones best all others in terms of speed.

Surely, the next iPhone and other Android devices will offer improved performance thanks to the newest chips from Qualcomm, Nvidia and even Intel, but for until that happens, expect Samsung’s marketing team to make a big deal about this aspect of the Galaxy S 4. And once it debuts the phone with its 8-core Exynos chip, that message of speed will only be amplified.

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