System Performance

As previously mentioned this year a major goal of ours was to focus on benchmarks with metrics that better indicate user experience rather than being subject to additional layers of indirection in addition to updating our previously used benchmarks. Probably one of the hardest problems to tackle from a testing perspective is capturing what it means to have a smooth and fast phone, and with the right benchmarks you can actually start to test for these things in a meaningful way instead of just relying on a reviewer’s word. In addition to new benchmarks, we’ve attempted to update existing types of benchmarks with tests that are more realistic and more useful rather than simple microbenchmarks that can be easily optimized against without any meaningful user experience improvements. With that said, let's get into the results.

Kraken 1.1 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Google Octane v2  (Chrome/Safari/IE)

WebXPRT 2015 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

JetStream 1.1 (Chrome/Safari)

JetStream 1.1 (Stock)

Google Octane v2 (Stock Browser)

Kraken 1.1 (Stock Browser)

WebXPRT 2015 (Stock Browser)

Browser performance here is pretty much in line with expectations as pretty much every OEM using Snapdragon 820 is going to be using the same basic BSP and most of the optimizations here are going to be done by Qualcomm rather than the OEMs.

PCMark - Work Performance Overall

PCMark - Web Browsing

PCMark - Video Playback

PCMark - Writing

PCMark - Photo Editing

Again, performance is in line with expectation in PCMark, although there are some improvements here and there that are primarily centered about web browsing performance which is almost constantly being improved as developers figure out new optimizations for browsers. With that said we can move on to Discomark, which is a true high level benchmark designed to show exactly how quickly a suite of common Google and OEM applications load from NAND or from RAM.

DiscoMark - Android startActivity() Cold Runtimes

DiscoMark - Android startActivity() Hot Runtimes

Here the Galaxy Note7 shows some improvement on hot runtimes relative to the Galaxy S7, but the cold runtimes have dropped for some reason. It looks like much of the delta here is due to Dropbox which is now running significantly slower on the Galaxy Note7. I suspect that this is related to possible changes in Dropbox or its interaction with TouchWiz rather than any significant underlying difference in system performance relative to the Galaxy S7. Overall, the Galaxy Note7 performs about where you'd expect from a Snapdragon 820 device from Samsung given the performance of the Galaxy S7.

Battery Life and Charge Time System Performance Cont'd and NAND Performance


View All Comments

  • HideOut - Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - link

    "You also get an extra 32 GB of storage which does justify the extra 100 USD that bumps the Note7 up to 850 USD."

    You must work for apple if you somehow think that 32Gb of on board storage is worth $100. FFS its about 1/5 that to buy in any other format.
  • bJammin - Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - link

    Sorry for a nitpick, but this isn't the first phone with an iris scanner, though probably the first with wide availability. Fujitsu's is only available in Japan right now, but I have one as my company phone. The phone and scanner are actually pretty slick too despite being based on older tech, though Fujitsu's interface is pretty awful.
  • Vagabondjonez - Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - link

    Still no htc 10 review or a Twitter response.... Reply
  • Lau_Tech - Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - link

    Well done on the improvements in timeliness and tone, Josh. I certainly agree with other reader opinions that the S-Pen deserved a full page of its own, given that it continues to be a distinguishing factor from all other phones. I understand that it may feel unnecessary if its the same as last years models, but it is still worth a re-look and run through. After all, Samsung's screens have not changed much either, and you still ran them through a gamut of tests.

    I must say that your continued placement of Samsung's AMOLED's as being "one of the best" or equal to Iphones to be have long since been untenable. Samsung's AMOLED beats or equals the Iphones in every one of your metrics. Colour-shifting remains the sole issue, but is not on its own sufficient to deny Samsung's phones the title of "best display, period".
  • Lau_Tech - Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - link

    I should also point out that your (justified) decision to be nit-picky about design must be applied fairly to your upcoming iphone 7 review as well.

    If you intend to highlight design issues that do not affect the user experience (as has been done in this review), I would expect that you find fault with the Iphone 7s IF the Iphone 7s maintain the unwieldy bezel sizes of the 6 plus, and the added inconvenience of the USB-only audio jack. These should count as negatives against the Iphone 7s.

    Your criteria for commenting on design must be seen as fair.
  • JoshHo - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    If there's a real demand for this sort of ID analysis I'll keep going with it.

    To outline some of my personal thoughts for design:

    1. I don't see a ton of value to extremely thin bezels. Excessive bezel like the M8/M9 is one thing but the 6s Plus had no issues with ergonomics in use. I view phablets as phones that need two hands to be used but still fit in one pocket so I don't pay that much attention to bezel unless it's really egregious like the M8/M9.

    2. The S-Pen would have received further analysis but battery life testing alone took up a full 3 days. It's been made clear to me that timeliness is critical so I would rather cut out discussion on things that are fairly well understood and revisit it in future short-form than cut out data that answers essential questions.

    3. To me AMOLED's color shifting issues are fairly significant and power efficiency in high APL scenarios is still lagging slightly behind LCD. If power efficiency rises above LCD then I would say shipping LCD would automatically count as a negative against an OEM, but until that comes to pass I think it's important to weigh these things on a case by case basis.

    4. If the iPhone 7 loses the 3.5mm jack it would require close examination and weighing of the advantages and disadvantages. I would trend towards likely being a bad idea but we'll have to see how it plays out. There are a lot of ways this could be executed and some are good but others are awful.
  • Lau_Tech - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    Thanks for the detailed reply Josh, I appreciate the time taken.

    Im definitely with you with regards to points 2 and 4. I think with regards to points 1 and 3 we will have to agree to disagree.

    I look forward to the HTC 10 review, of which I am already an owner. I'm sure you'll be able to point out interesting things about this device (some nuggets already present in this review)
  • jlabelle2 - Friday, August 19, 2016 - link

    I am also quite shocked about the change on editorial note (because it seems really to be that) since Anand departure. Even with Anand working for Apple, reviews were still much more factual.
    I have an iPhone 6S but honestly, there is not denying that the S7 Edge and Note 7 are just a marvel of design.
    Also, saying that bezels do not matter is NOT a matter of opinion. We are speaking of phablet here and the very reason why not everyone have 6" phones is the size of those phones. So when the Note 7 include a 5,7" screen in a form factor which is 5mm shorter and 4mm narrower than a 5,5" iPhone 6+, this is huge achievement and has a significant competitive advantage compare to the iPhone or other bulkier large phone.
    At last, how can anyone still defend LCD against Samsung OLED screen implementation? The argument that there would be color shifting when looking the phone from the side (which obviously no one is doing) shows the extent of bad faith.
    Again, as an iPhone (and Windows phone user), and having no Android, I am puzzled by such review and what kind of goal is tried to be achieved...
  • NitT - Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - link

    I feel like I am a minority here as I am OK with Touchwiz. I do not feel any lagging. On the other hand, when I use other Android phones such as HTC or Vivo, I feel that I miss so many settings. My latest HTC phone was HTC M7/M8. It is quite sad as I could not find newer HTC flagship models in my country. Reply
  • WoodyPWX - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    Finally someone who isn't afraid to say something bad about Note 7. Every other reviews are practically without any real criticism. Thanks for a honest review! Reply

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