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
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  • Axiomatic - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    My cube mate over the wall from me got the Note 7 today. His immediate comment to me was, "well it performs better with Nova Launcher than Touchwiz." Reply
  • trparky - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    When you have to replace stuff on your phone to get acceptable performance, there's something wrong. Reply
  • silverghozt - Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - link

    Are the photos from the Note 7 worse than the Note 5? Can you please compare. I'm astounded that the HTC 10 is taking better images. Reply
  • BoyBawang - Thursday, August 18, 2016 - link

    Dear Anandtech,
    Please do a battery life test of the lower screen resolution settings. If the result is significant, I'll immediately permanently put it to 1080p without second thoughts the moment I have the device. I don't care if the mutant pretenders say that they can distinguish the difference.
    thanks
    Reply
  • lebigamaca - Thursday, August 18, 2016 - link

    It looks like you got the size of the rear camera pixels in reverse. Both are 1/2.6 inch so the 16 megapixel should have smaller pixels than the 12 megapixel. Reply
  • skrewler2 - Thursday, August 18, 2016 - link

    it would have been nice to see a picture of the s7 edge and note7 side by side or stacked on top of each other so we could get an idea of how much bigger the note is Reply
  • aryonoco - Friday, August 19, 2016 - link

    Does the phone ship with the latest Android Security Patch level?

    Has the manufacturer committed to providing security patches on a timely basis?

    Has the manufacturer committed to providing Android upgrades for X number of year?

    Why are such basic questions that affect the usability and viability of a phone ignored by AnandTech? We don't all buy new phones every 6 months. Some of us are holding on to our phones for 24 months or longer. The question "will my phone receive OS updates during its lifetime" is a very valid question that AT pays no attention to.

    Similarly we have paragraphs dedicated to the PMIC and various ICs in the phone, paragraphs dedicated to seeing if the phone drops a frame here or there, but no attention paid to the fact that the phone ships with unpatched remote root vulnerabilities.

    Anandtech's reviews are becoming less and less relevant. Sure, it's cool to know what IC is doing what in the phone, but it's absolutely irrelevant to its day to day use. Knowing if the OEM is going to supply OS updates and security updates in a timely manner very much matters!
    Reply
  • tamalero - Friday, August 19, 2016 - link

    As someone who changes cell phones once every 3 or so years.. I'm pissed the current trend of copying Apple and their non changeable battery.
    Worse when Samsung no longer seems to produce older batteries to force to upgrade.
    Not exactly a fan to be forced to for 500+ USD for a throwaway phone.
    Reply
  • tamalero - Friday, August 19, 2016 - link

    errata.. "not exactly a fan of being forced to FORK 500+ USD for a throaway phone every year" Reply
  • name99 - Friday, August 19, 2016 - link

    "Despite all of this, there seems to be a general disappointment with smartphones."
    Come on Joshua, where do you drag up this nonsense?
    There is a tiny fraction of internet whingers, hyperactive fools with the attention-span of 5-year olds and generally the technological to match, that are "disappointed".

    Meanwhile in the real world, people are using their phones more than ever --- have you SEEN what a group of public people waiting around (think airport, restaurant, bus) looks like these days?
    People in the saturated wealthy nations continue (so far, as of the most recent data) to buy phones on the reliable two-year-update cycle --- and why not? This year's phones are faster than those of two years ago, with more RAM, faster flash, better radios,nicer screens.
    Meanwhile people in the non-wealthy world continue to be grateful for the ever falling prices, and enjoy moving on to their first smart phone.

    You are not in the business of click-bait or insane interest advocacy; you are in the business of tech journalism. You don't need to write to such stupid sentences; you;re better than that; and the market you're discussing deserves better.

    And starting with a stupid premise leads to what are factually flat out factually incorrect statements like "People are increasingly finding it hard to justify phones like the HTC 10 or Galaxy S7 with competition from..."
    HOW are people finding it hard to justify phones like the S7? Everyone knows I'm an Apple fan, but I'm also tuned into reality, and the reality is that the S7 has sold pretty damn well, (as far as I can tell perhaps 20% better than the S6).

    Look it's probably true that one day we'll hit enough of a wall in phone tech that the upgrade cycle WILL slide, and consumers WILL be massively over-served by phones. But let's not pretend that that prediction has already arrived.

    Part of the problem is that these reviews operate with a broken context. It makes sense to compare against last years model, but it also makes sense to compare against the model from two years ago because THAT is where the audience for this product is. Complaining that it won't excite the community it isn't TARGETED AT (ie the owners of last-years model) is just stupid.
    Reply

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