In comparing smartphones, one of the key factors generally looked into is processing power. Indeed, for most users, to which manufacturers agree to, speed is key. So it’s expected for manufacturers do everything just to get ahead of its competition. Samsung, sadly, has done something that borders on cheating when it comes to the processing power of the octa-core variant of its Galaxy S4 smartphone. This specific variant runs on the Samsung-made Exynos 5 octa-core processor and the PoweVR SGX 544MP3 GPU.
AnandTech has recently confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy S4 does a trick that boosts the GPU clock frequency when benchmark apps are running. For the rest of the apps, however, the GPU speed is slower. Specifically, the GPU clock frequency is somehow boosted to 532MHz when apps like AnTuTu, Quadrant, GL Benchmark 2.5, BenchmarkPi and Linpack are launched while rest of the apps and games get only 480MHz speed. As long as benchmark apps are running, the speed is boosted and it returns to the slower speed for the rest of the phone’s performance. According to tests done by AnandTech, there appears to be a program called “BenchmarkBooster” that’s responsible for executing this trick. There appears That’s not illegal but it’s something that can only be interpreted as cheating since it presents an impression that the phone is running fast based on benchmark tests but in real-world situations, it’s in fact slower.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is not slow by any means. It’s one of the fastest, if not the fastest, smartphones around but doing a trick like this is unwarranted. There may be a reason why the actual clock speed is slower than the phone’s potential and foremost could be need to extend battery life. However, to make it appear that the phone’s GPU speed is faster and be quiet about what is actually happening only puts Samsung in a bad light.
If you want to learn more about how AnandTech did the tests, go here.
UPDATE: Samsung issued a response to the allegations that it cheated on the benchmark results. Here is the statement from Samsung:
Under ordinary conditions, the Galaxy S4 has been designed to allow a maximum GPU frequency of 533MHz. However, the maximum GPU frequency is lowered to 480MHz for certain gaming apps that may cause an overload, when they are used for a prolonged period of time in full-screen mode. Meanwhile, a maximum GPU frequency of 533MHz is applicable for running apps that are usually used in full-screen mode, such as the S Browser, Gallery, Camera, Video Player, and certain benchmarking apps, which also demand substantial performance.
The maximum GPU frequencies for the Galaxy S4 have been varied to provide optimal user experience for our customers, and were not intended to improve certain benchmark results.
We remain committed to providing our customers with the best possible user experience.