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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  • Impulses - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    You know, if this were almost any other site I'd agree... But I actually like the way Anand constantly puts things in context by looking at the big picture and comparing products to their competition in the market. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Oh and just for the record, I'm a big fan of Android, my phone's an EVO, and the only Apple product I've ever had is an iPod touch (16GB - 2nd gen)... I liked it as a music/video player, and a gaming device; but I don't see myself buying anything Apple in the foreseeable future. Reply
  • Azethoth - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Ugh. Please do not ever stop comparing a product against its competitors. I want to know that some feature sux / kills vs the corresponding feature for competitors. Reply
  • tiredad - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Compare Anand to Engadget. Engadget compare things to Apple products in a condescending way that i find patronising. It probably comes from their desire to wip up the pro and anti camps and thus sustain interest. Anand, on the other hand, compares products in an appropriate way that is informative to the reader. Comparison gives context and without context, value judgements are meaningless; done right, comparisons are essential.

    I love this site because it seems to simply love good technology irrespective of who makes it. I especially love that there is no arbitrary scoring system - you can read something and make your own judgement.
    Reply
  • wumpus - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    As long as Apple is the competition, Anandtech should compare to it.

    What I'm missing (gave up on, didn't see it in the long list for battery life) is the Nook Color. Since you can replace the software with honeycomb, this is pretty much the best deal for wifi-only tablets around. I guess the question is: "how far do you want to carry it, anyway?"
    Reply
  • Sam125 - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    These tablets or as I like to call them: Smartphone 2.0 is looking pretty attractive but I'm still left wondering if a tablet would be better served by using an Atom+Ion or Ontario SOC. Reply
  • peastham - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Sure it can...works for me with a stock cable. (HDMI just passes right through the dock.) Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Hmm it doesn't seem to be working for me - can you share your configuration (what display/other items in the HDMI chain)?

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

    I actually can use my iPad outside. It's obviously not a kindle, but it's surprisingly good. The iPad is actually better than my transflective Tablet PC (Motion LE 1700), exactly because it has tons of contrast and great viewing angles.

    The color shifting on the Xoom depicted in the review is shockingly bad. That it performs so bad outdoors tells me one thing: I won't buy it. I can't wait to see the LG and the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

    Thanks for the review, great reading!
    Reply
  • tekzor - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    moto has shocked me with the quality of this product.
    this is reviews reminds me of a similar experience I had on the samsung galaxy tab. The UI is updated for the tablet user but the experience is still not there yet. I will just have to stick to my ipad and if I want tegra 2 I have the viewsonic gtab and the good folks at XDA. Yes the screen is garbage on the gtab, however for the price($375), you get a tegra 2 and flash!! I feel the xoom should of costed $150 more than the gtab.
    Reply

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