Original Link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6425/google-nexus-4-and-nexus-10-review



Earlier this week Google announced two new flagship Nexus devices: the Nexus 4 smartphone and the Nexus 10 tablet. We received review samples of both earlier this week, and while we're hard at work at full reviews of the devices we couldn't help but share all of the test data we've been able to amass at this point.

For those who aren't familiar with it, the Nexus 4 features Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC - a quad-core 28nm Krait CPU with Qualcomm's next-generation Adreno 320 GPU. The combination proved quite formidable in the MDP/T we tested, as well as LG's recently announced Optimus G. The SoC drives a 4.7-inch 1280 x 768 IPS display and is paired with 2GB of LPDDR2 memory. The Nexus 4 ships unlocked with 8GB of NAND for $299 without a contract ($349 for the 16GB version). Pair that with DC-HSPA+ support and you get an absolute killer smartphone for use on T-Mobile: no contracts, very low monthly fees, and compelling cellular performance:

Brian will talk more about the combination in his full review, but rest assured that the lack of LTE is workable depending on T-Mobile coverage where you live/travel to.

The Nexus 10 also boasts a brand new SoC: Samsung's Exynos 5 Dual. The Exynos 5 Dual features two ARM Cortex A15 cores running at 1.7GHz as well as ARM's own Mali-T604 GPU. This happens to be the exact same platform used in the new Chromebook, just running Android. The Nexus 10 features a 10.1-inch 2560 x 1600 display, giving it the same resolution as the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display - but in an even smaller form factor. Google is also aggressive on Nexus 10 pricing: the 16GB WiFi-only tablet sells for $399, with the 32GB version going for $499.

Both Nexus devices run Android 4.2 and are guaranteed to be the first devices to be updated to upcoming Android revisions for the foreseeable future (it's the power of Nexus).

We haven't had a ton of time to test the devices and put this together so you're going to see combined performance charts throughout the rest of this article.

CPU Performance

The big story when it comes to CPU performance is a look at how the Cortex A15s perform under Android. Unfortunately we're still left with mostly browser based benchmarks to measure CPU performance, which actually highlights a major issue in our testing: Android V8 optimization doesn't seem to be anywhere near as good as it is under Chrome OS or Windows. As a result, all of the Nexus 10 performance scores end up slower than the new Chromebook - despite using the same SoC and running Chrome on both platforms. It's also possible that the Exynos 5 Dual in the Chromebook is allowed to burn a bit more power, translating to better performance, but either way the solution here in the Nexus 10 doesn't look as good across the board.

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9.1 - Stock Browser

SunSpider performance is good, but not significantly better than Qualcomm's Krait based Snapdragon S4. Both the iPhone 5 and RAZR i are able to outperform the Nexus 10. The S4 Pro based Nexus 4 tends to be in line with other S4 based devices - SunSpider doesn't really give much credit to the extra 2 cores.

BrowserMark

BrowserMark puts the Nexus 10 behind many platforms that should be faster, I'm even wondering here if there's some hard partitioning of memory bandwidth between the CPU and GPU to drive the 2560 x 1600 display that's simply choking the CPU here.

The Nexus 4 does ok, but again there seem to be some V8 optimization issues at work here under Android 4.2. At 1.5GHz it should deliver at least the performance of the dual-core Snapdragon S4 solutions.

Google Octane Benchmark v1

Octane is the first test where the Cortex A15s are really able to flex their muscle - the Exynos 5 Dual based Nexus 10 manages to outperform the RAZR i by 34%, and compared to the A6/Swift based iPhone 5 the advantage grows to 64%.

The Nexus 4 performs about in line with other Snapdragon S4 based devices, although once again the extra 2 cores don't seem to be doing much for it here at all.

Mozilla Kraken Benchmark

Kraken also paints the Cortex A15 based Nexus 10 in a good light: there's a 30% advantage over the RAZR i and a 76% advantage over the iPhone 5. These numbers will shrink a bit compared to other tablets, but not by much. The Nexus 4, once again, ends up performing similarly to dual-core Snapdragon S4 based devices.

Overall, the Nexus 10 results show us some real promise for what we can expect from ARM Cortex A15 based SoCs. The potential upside to this new architecture is huge.

 



GPU Performance

This section is particularly exciting because it's our first look at ARM's new Mali-T604 GPU in our standard mobile 3D performance suite. We've already seen the Nexus 4's Adreno 320 in action, but the Nexus 10's behavior here should be interesting to see.

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Fill Test

As far as raw fillrates are concerned, both Nexus devices do quite well here at their native resolutions. The iPad and iPhone 5 are both quicker, but we're still good gains over the previous generation of hardware - particularly for the Mali-T604. Compared to the Mali-400MP4 in the Galaxy S 3, we're seeing more than 2x the performance out of ARM's latest GPU.

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Fill Test (Offscreen 1080p)

At normalized resolutions the standings don't really change.

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test

The T604 is ARM's first unified shader architecture, which gives it far more balanced pixel/vertex shader performance. The result is a more than 4x increase in triangle throughput compared to the Mali 400MP4. It's not enough to give the Nexus 10 the edge over the latest Apple devices, but it's a huge improvement over where ARM was in the previous generation. The Adreno 320 continues to be quite strong here as well.

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test (Offscreen 1080p)

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test - Fragment Lit

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test - Fragment Lit (Offscreen 1080p)

Once again we're seeing huge gains for the Mali-T604 compared to the Mali-400MP4. The Adreno 320 in the Nexus 4 actually performs worse than the Adreno 225 in older devices, possibly due to thermal throttling we saw on the Nexus 4 sample during periods of heavy load.

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test - Vertex Lit

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test - Vertex Lit (Offscreen 1080p)

ARM shows the biggest gains here once again thanks to its move to a unified shader architecture. The Adreno 320 does ok here but it's really no better than the 225, I suspect there is some thermal throttling happening on the device.

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD

At native resolutions, the Nexus 10 and NExus 4 are both capable of putting out decent frame rates in Egypt HD. What this data tells us is they'll likely be able to run current and even some future titles, at native res, at 30 fps without much of an issue.

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD (Offscreen 1080p)

Normalize resolution and the Mali-T604 actually does very well here, setting a new performance record. Despite being based on the same hardware, the Optimus G is able to post a much higher score here than the Nexus 4. The explanation is simple: the Optimus G can't complete a single, continuous run of GLBenchmark 2.5 - the app will run out of texture memory and crash if you try to run through the entire suite in a single setting. The outcome is that the Optimus G avoids some otherwise nasty throttling. The Nexus 4 on the other hand manages to complete everything, but likely quickly throttles its clocks down due to thermal constraints. The Nexus 4 was really hot by the end of our GLBenchmark run, which does point to some thermal throttling going on here. I do wonder if the Snapdragon S4 Pro is a bit too much for a smartphone, and is better suited for a tablet at 28nm.

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt Classic

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt Classic (Offscreen 1080p)

The Egypt Classic numbers are less interesting, but both platforms do well here.

Battery Life

We didn't have time to run through our entire battery life suite, but we do have some relevant results for the two devices. For smartphones, these are our latest web browsing battery life tests:

We regularly load web pages at a fixed interval until the battery dies (all displays are calibrated to 200 nits as always). The differences between this test and our previous one boil down to the amount of network activity and CPU load.

On the network side, we've done a lot more to prevent aggressive browser caching of our web pages. Some caching is important otherwise you end up with a baseband test, but it's clear what we had previously wasn't working. Brian made sure that despite the increased network load, the baseband still had the opportunity to enter its idle state during the course of the benchmark.

We also increased CPU workload along two vectors: we decreased pause time between web page loads and we shifted to full desktop web pages, some of which are very js heavy. The end result is a CPU usage profile that mimics constant, heavy usage beyond just web browsing. Everything you do on your smartphone ends up causing CPU usage peaks - opening applications, navigating around the OS and of course using apps themselves. Our 5th generation web browsing battery life test should map well to more types of smartphone usage, not just idle content consumption of data from web pages.

As always we test across multiple air interfaces (3G, 4G LTE, WiFi), but due to the increased network load we actually find that on a given process technology we see an increase in battery life on faster network connections. The why is quite simple to understand: the faster a page is able to fully render, the quicker all components can drive down to their idle power states.

All Android tests use Chrome and 5GHz WiFi unless otherwise listed.

AT Smartphone Bench 2013: Web Browsing Battery Life (3G/4G LTE)

The Nexus 4 doesn't break any records for 3G battery life, it ends up relatively low on our list - even the Galaxy S 3 manages to do better here on 3G.

AT Smartphone Bench 2013: Web Browsing Battery Life (WiFi)

WiFi battery life is similar to the Galaxy S 3, but again it's not all that impressive compared to some of the other devices in this list.

Our tablet web browsing battery life test isn't directly comparable to the new smartphone tests, so we've got a separate chart for the Nexus 10:

Web Browsing Battery Life

Despite driving a very high res panel, Google is able to deliver relatively competitive battery life with the Nexus 10. Battery capacity is around 80% the size of the 3rd gen iPad and battery life is around 93% of what Apple delivers here. Over 10 hours would be nice to have, but 8 hours of use in this test isn't bad at all. We'll have to do more testing to understand Exynos 5's power behavior a bit better, but so far it doesn't seem that the platform is all that bad from a power consumption standpoint. It remains to be seen how gracefully the Nexus 10 will handle being taxed heavier.

Display

We're still running our big display analysis routines on the new Nexus devices, but the brightness/contrast data below is a little teaser:

Brightness (White)

Brightness (Black)

Contrast Ratio

Final Words

We still have a lot of additional writing and testing ahead of us. Stay tuned for our full review of both devices!

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now