Galaxy Note 3 caught cheating on benchmarks; did Samsung learn nothing from the GS4?

Mobile phone benchmarks sure seem like they’re on the way out. While they often mean well, it’s becoming more and more clear just how difficult it is to accurately gauge overall handset performance with a simple battery of tests. That’s not to say that they don’t have their uses, but we’ve noticed a trend lately where benchmark results are downplayed when evaluating phones. Facing an already uncertain future, benchmarks aren’t done any favors when companies set out to artificially manipulate them, as accusations pegged Samsung as doing with the Galaxy S 4. Now that the Note 3 has arrived, it’s getting put under the microscope, as well, and it looks like Samsung is once again up to its old tricks.

Sure enough, the Note 3 (US edition) is playing around with its CPU behavior when it detects specific benchmark apps being run. Normally, when the phone goes idle three of the four Snapdragon 800 cores are disabled, and the active one sees its speed dialed-down. When a benchmark app is active, however, that never happens, and all cores remain enabled, clocked to full speed. Ars Technica was able to confirm this behavior by simply renaming the package for a benchmark app, and witnessing the drastically different CPU behavior.

When running a GS4 benchmark with such a modified app (top, right), preventing Samsung from cheating, the phone scores very much in line with the LG G2 – without taking that step, the GS4 appears to be much more powerful than the G2, despite being powered by the same Snapdragon 800.

Once again, a hard-coded list of apps was discovered hidden away in the Note 3’s settings, to take advantage of this anomalous CPU behavior. All told, 25 apps trigger this mode, including AnTuTu, GLBenchmark, and NenaMark.


Source: Ars Technica
Via: Android Beat

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!