Performance

With Honeycomb, Google enabled full GPU acceleration across the OS. As a result, I had hoped that we’d have a very Windows Phone 7 like experience in Android 3.0. For the most part, it’s similarly smooth, but it’s still not quite perfect.

Performance in Honeycomb seems even more dependent on background apps than with earlier versions of Android. I’m not sure if that’s because Honeycomb is less aggressive about kicking processes out of memory or if I’m simply doing more with the OS on a larger screen, but I found myself killing tasks manually more frequently in Honeycomb than I did on Froyo. It’s also possible that with faster hardware and a faster OS that any slowdown, even if only minor, is more perceptible.

Swiping between home screens is butter smooth under Honeycomb, as is interacting with widgets and notifications. Applications launch quickly and scrolling in them is smoother than any other Android release. Even scrolling in the browser is finally smooth on Android, although I don’t believe it’s quite up to par with iOS/WP7. Granted Honeycomb doesn’t support Flash yet so it’s too early to tell how Flash integration will change the browsing experience, but I wonder if the delay on integrating flash has to do with ensuring that browser scrolling performance isn’t hurt.

As we saw with the Atrix 4G, performance benchmarks may be slower on the Xoom due to its higher native resolution (1280 x 800) than the competitors. This is particularly evident in the 3D gaming tests. I almost wonder if we'll begin seeing higher performing SoCs in tablets going forward, with lighter hardware being used in smartphones. It's clear that these smartphone SoCs, while fine for lower res smartphones, don't have the compute horsepower or memory bandwidth to cope with higher resolution displays.

I'm also not entirely sure what's going on in the Quadrant results as there are some significant drops in performance on the Xoom vs. Atrix. This could be a Honeycomb thing or an issue with the benchmark itself.

Linpack

GLBenchmark 2.0 - Egypt

GLBenchmark 2.0 - PRO

Quadrant Benchmark

Quadrant CPU Benchmark

Quadrant Memory Benchmark

Quadrant I/O Benchmark

Quadrant 2D Benchmark

Quadrant 3D Benchmark

BaseMark GUI Benchmark - Animation

BaseMark GUI Benchmark - Texture IO

BaseMark GUI Benchmark - Composition

BaseMark GUI Benchmark - Rendering Order

Camera Quality Wireless Performance: Cellular & WiFi
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  • GotThumbs - Friday, March 18, 2011 - link

    The platform is not that old. Apple just took their existing ois from the itouch and made it bigger. This is a whole new ballgame. Early adopters should understand their will be some hiccups...

    Glad to hear the WIFI only version is coming out March 27th for 599.00 This brings the competition directly to ipad and ipad2. My boss offered to buy me the ipad2 and I told him I only want an ADAM or a Xoom. An ipad would be a waste of money....I need a business tablet. Not one whose product is so proprietary...that you can't even load an app unless its through their store....how controlling is that?
    Reply
  • Thermogenic - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Samsung changed some of the basic internals of the system (I believe mainly to do with the filesystem and location of certain files). This makes it harder on them to release updates and also causes compatibility problems with certain applications.

    For me, I would only stick to the high end HTC and Motorola phones - they have the proven track record of updates. If you really want the latest and greatest for some reason, then you will want the Nexus line of phones.
    Reply
  • ph00ny - Monday, March 07, 2011 - link

    Not entirely true. Most custom froyo roms were based on galaxy s from overseas. Look at captivate, AT&T's froyo update just came out and the same phone offered through canadian carrier had froyo for quite some time now Reply
  • chocks - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    "Android however did it the simplest way possible: tap home and run what you want to run next." Pre-Honeycomb Android has press-and-hold on the Home button which brings up a list of recently-used apps and can be used to switch between running tasks. Has had this since the first release I think. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Woops, you're right :) That's very much a precursor to what Google did in Honeycomb, and tap-and-hold home is now out.

    Updated!

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Thermogenic - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    It's not a true tablet, but the NOOKcolor is a nice device for the money. If you are willing to do a little dirty work (mainly writing to a microsd card and booting it - very easy), you get a very basic tablet with a very nice screen for $250.

    I imagine for most users who use their tablet for web browsing, facebook, twitter, and youtube, that's plenty and a great bargain.

    I guarantee there will be a usable version of Honeycomb running on it within six weeks. There is already a functional version, although with a decided lack of applications and very unoptimized.
    Reply
  • wumpus - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    I can't imagine anyone else competing with a wifi only tablet. My guess is that there are two reasons to avoid releasing such: First, you can overcharge and let the consumer pay the subsidy (and then some) back to the carrier. Second: nobody tries to compare it to the nook. Reply
  • Enormously Hatworthy - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    I read so many of those tech blogs that sometimes I forget what a real review looks like. Good work.

    Some of those benchmark results are pretty odd.

    I wonder if the disparity between the Optimus 2X and the Xoom might in some way be related to the dual-core support in Honeycomb? The optimus is running on 2.2 which I understand has limited (if any) support for multiple cores.

    Maybe the benchmark apps are showing some measure of incompatibility with the new code? Just a wild guess.
    Reply
  • cj100570 - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Just once I'd like to read a review of any piece of mobile tech where the reviewer stuck to reviewing the hardware in his/her hands instead of constantly comparing it to an Apple product. For Christs sake, enough is enough already! And don't give me that "Apple Set The Bar" BS. I'm not buying what you're selling! I've owned 3 generations of iPhones, an iMac, and 2 MacBooks so I'm very familiar with Apple products and I have great respect for them. But the simple fact of the matter is that not everyone wants to live the iOS/OS X lifestyle and when they read a review of non Apple products I'm quite sure they don't want to see Apple brought up every other sentence. Reply
  • Enormously Hatworthy - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    It is annoying but whether we like iOS/iPad or not (and I don't, to be honest) it is the market leader in tablets right now. It's the frame of reference for buyers.

    I think they'd be doing their readers a disservice if they didn't make the comparison.

    Notice that in laptop/desktop reviews you'll see scarcely a mention of Apple products (unless they're talking about size and weight).
    Reply

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