Benchmarking programs have long been a controversial subject. Big manufacturers have been accused of cheating them, and the process of putting a score to a phone has been debated too. So when AnTuTu Labs announced that its famous benchmarking app would be receiving a pretty huge update, we decided to give it a run — this is our AnTuTu 5.0 overview.
Many tests are run as part of any benchmarking program, and AnTuTu is no exception. While these tests themselves are generally considered great metrics showing a device’s performance, how the end result is calculated as a seemingly-arbitrary score has been up in the air. With AnTuTu 5.0, the developer promises that you’ll get a better understanding of what performance on a mobile device really entails.
With the endless evolution of phones and tablets, benchmarking apps have to evolve as well. So what’s new in AnTuTu 5.0?
CPU single-threaded performance testing
Many apps and games unfortunately still don’t take advantage of all of a CPU’s processing cores, so having a benchmark program run a test on all of a device’s cores isn’t exactly helping a lot of the time.
To better offer a gauge of real-world performance, AnTuTu has gone ahead and added a single-threaded performance test for CPUs as part of 5.0.
Real game engines — Cocos2D and Havok Vision
If you’ve run benchmarking apps like 3DMark and GFXBench in the past, you’ve seen the game engines those apps implement, with different particle effects and reflections employed to try to tax your GPU.
It’s good that we’re getting a gauge of just how good our graphics power is, but the problem is that the games we play aren’t necessarily using engines similar to these. To that end, AnTuTu 5.0 has implemented two more commonly used game engines — Cocos2D , and Havok Vision. Havok is already being used on iOS and popular game consoles such as the PlayStation and Xbox.
HTML 5 test
The web is becoming incredibly powerful these days, with sites becoming more and more like native apps with the power of HTML 5. Animation has become more common, basic shadows are being seen throughout the internet, and more functionality is available through the comfort of a web browser.
This is why AnTuTu 5.0 has added an HTML 5 test, to better measure how ready your phone or tablet is for the web.
Android Runtime (ART)
With the final release of Android L this fall, the mobile OS is finally shifting exclusively to ART, or the Android Runtime. ART has many benefits over the soon-to-be-defunct Dalvik Virtual Machine, namely in device performance, but benchmarking programs haven’t been fully optimized to work with it quite yet.
With AnTuTu 5.0, the full benchmarking suite will work just fine with ART. In the alpha build lent to us for testing, we ran into issues using some of the tests with the new runtime, but we expect these issues to be smoothed over in the final release.
In theory, AnTuTu 5.0 will be a pretty major step in evolving benchmarking applications to meet our needs on the next generation of phones and tablets. By leveraging the app’s new tests and optimizations, AnTuTu Labs may have a home run on its hands with the release of 5.0, but we’ll have to wait on the final code drop before evaluating just how good of a job it did.
For now, check out our video overview of AnTuTu 5.0, and let us know what you think down in the comments section.
Thank you to the fine folks over at AnTuTu Labs for lending us an alpha version of AnTuTu 5.0 for testing. Interested in trying out a pre-release version of AnTuTu 5.0 yourself? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your device’s name, manufacturer, and current ROM version, and they’ll try to hook you up.