Smartphone benchmarks never really indicate how a device will ultimately perform, yet tech enthusiasts exalt results like they’re the end all, be all. Check any review; the nebulous collection of numbers are always held in high regard despite them never really doing much to affect the overall experience. Still, companies take them quite seriously—in Samsung’s case, a little too seriously.
According to a new report from AnandTech, Samsung might be fibbing its way to more favorable Galaxy S4 benchmarks. Has your device suddenly come to a crawl? Of course it hasn’t; benchmarks shouldn’t change your perception of a flagship as powerful as the S4. Still, it’s embarrassing that Samsung would resort to such technical tactics, like allegedly using code dubbed “BenchmarkBooster.” Yes, your device takes steroids.
AnandTech found that Samsung set the GPU of the Exynos 5 Galaxy S4 to run higher when benchmarked—higher than normal everyday use. When engineers tested the device, the S4’s Exynos 5 ran at 533MHz during benchmarking, and only ran at 480MHz during regular use. Not an enormous difference, but large enough to call shenanigans.
In addition, AnandTech found that when running CPU benchmarks with apps such as AnTuTu and Quadrant, the device’s Cortex A15 clocked at 1.2GHz; an unofficial benchmarking app, GFXBench 2, revealed that the device actually runs at 500MHz when it’s not juicing. Seems fishy, no?
AnandTech’s findings should in no way effect your final opinion on the Galaxy S4, though it does highlight some shady Samsung tactics. It’s likely the Korean company isn’t the only one to fib benchmarking tests, though; the company is just the one that got caught.