Samsung came under fire last year when it was discovered that the company was artificially inflating benchmark scores on the Galaxy Note 3. But it looks as if the deceptive benchmark boosting code has been removed in the latest update to Android 4.4 KitKat. Ars Technica ran some tests on updated devices and found that KitKat restores benchmark scores back to normal.
You can see the full barrage of tests over at Ars Technica, but here’s the gist of it: After installing the KitKat update on a Samsung Galaxy S4 on AT&T and a Galaxy Note 3 on Sprint, the CPU function went back to normal while running some well-known benchmark tests. Before the update, the devices were ramping up all four cores to the maximum clock speed and keeping them there for the duration of the test. After the update, this no longer happened.
Ars Technica spoke with John Poole of Primate Labs, who was able to provide results from the Geekbench benchmark to show how the scores changed between updates. You can see the results in the table below:
Although there’s a slight uptick in speed between Android 4.2.2 and Android 4.4.2, Poole doesn’t think this is the result of benchmark tweaking. He told Ars Technica, “I’m inclined to think that the change between 4.2.2 and 4.4.2 is due to Samsung tweaking the overall power and performance settings rather than a new harder-to-detect boost.”
Some developers have noticed the change as well. Developer “Wanman” told Android Police that “com.sec.android.app.twdvfs,” the code responsible for boosting CPU performance while running benchmarks, is not in the Android 4.4 ROM for the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4.
Hopefully benchmark boosting will begin to fade with Samsung’s example, though it seems to be a trend that will continue to surface from time to time. I think Samsung’s boosting days are over, though, at least for the time being. Either way, the Galaxy S5 is sure to come under very close scrutiny.