We’ve already seen dual core Krait (MSM8960) performance before and talked about it in the HTC One X (AT&T) review. For the most part, what we see with the USA SGS3 variants is largely the same as what we saw in MSM8960 (or MSM8260A, the same part with different baseband).

If you’re looking for a comparison to the International SGS3 with Exynos 4412, my unit hasn’t quite arrived yet. Anand and I plan to take a comprehensive look at the SoC performance landscape (Tegra 3 / MSM8960 / Exynos 4412) in another review after we’ve had time with the international SGS3. I have benchmark numbers from our SGS3 international preview at the launch event, but those were from pre-final software.

Where the SGS3 differentiates itself from what’s becoming a slew of USA-bound devices with MSM8960 is available RAM. In this case, all of the USA SGS3s include 2 GB of LPDDR2 RAM, of which 1.62 GB is available to user applications. My own suspicions for why this is the case is that Samsung wanted to make sure they had at least 1 GB available for user space applications. Clearly there is 380 MB absorbed for both preallocated GPU memory, and possibly DRM / baseband, and after that subtraction the only way to get dual channel (2x32b) LPDDR2 is to make the jump to two 1 GB LPDDR2 devices.


That’s my own speculation, but either way with the SGS3 you get ample RAM for applications. The positive thing is that even if you launch a ton of applications, it’s unlikely they’ll get tombstoned. I fired up my regular set of daily driver applications (twitter, baconreader, chrome, messaging, speedtest, radarscope, and a few others) and managed to use up nearly 1 GB.

JavaScript Performance

Although smartphones are clearly headed for a life beyond as a communications tool, web browsing, or phone duties, we are still lacking the tools to measure performance in areas other than a component of web page performance. Measuring JavaScript performance is one component of the entire web page rendering process but it’s the most mature in terms of something we can benchmark.

Sunspider 0.9.1 is quite possibly the most well known of these JavaScript tests, and a regular staple of our testing suite:

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9.1 - Stock Browser

Like the other 1.5 GHz MSM8960 devices, the SGS3 does pretty well, but still is around 150ms slower. I ran this test multiple times but consistently got results in the 1750s or low 1800s for the SGS3s.

Browsermark is the next JavaScript test in our suite, and here it does very favorably against the rest of the competition.


It’s interesting to see the SGS3 not do stellar in Sunspider, but excellent in Browsermark. Note that in our preview piece, I did see the International SGS3 post a score of 161k here.

Next up is Vellamo, which is a Qualcomm benchmark developed originally for OEMs to use and optimize their browser performance, and later released for general use. It’s a regular member of our test suite and includes both JavaScript tests and scrolling tests that stress the display composition and hardware acceleration in the browser.

Vellamo Overall Score

I saw an interesting deviation here between the AT&T and T-Mobile version, for reasons I cannot explain despite multiple reboots and making sure everything was closed. Either way, the devices both have stock browsers that feel like butter, absolutely smooth when translating or zooming around.

Low Level FP Performance

Linpack isn’t a great indication of overall smartphone performance, but it is a good test of the floating point capabilities of the CPUs in these SoCs. ARM has steadily been improving FP performance for the past few generations but we’re going to see a big jump to Krait/A15. As most client smartphone workloads are integer based and those that are FP heavy end up relying on the GPU, an advantage here doesn’t tell us much today (particularly because Linpack isn’t running native code but rather atop Dalvik) other than how speedy the FPUs are. There’s a new port of Linpack which runs using native code which we’ll be trying out in the big performance comparison piece.

Linpack - Single-threaded
Linpack - Multi-threaded

As we’ve shown before, FP performance on Krait is superb thanks to its architectural advantages over a straight A9. I find that FP performance was more relevant of a benchmark when display rendering was being done in CPU instead of on the GPU with the new OpenGL ES 2.0 render paths. Still, it’s worth talking about.

BaseMark OS

Rightware’s BaseMark OS is a general purpose benchmark designed to better simulate overall Android performance. It includes a heavily threaded benchmark, file IO tests, and compression/decompression tasks that all contribute to its overall score.

BaseMark OS Performance

Basemark OS is relatively new to us but we’re adding more and more phones as time goes on for comparison purposes. Curiously enough the SGS3s post numbers a bit shy of their HTC cousins. I think that in spite of this, you’d be hard pressed to tell the Krait based One X and Krait based SGS3 apart.

GPU Performance - GLBenchmark 2.1

As we wait for actual 3D gaming benchmarks to make their way into Android (and hopefully crossplatform) games, we must rely on synthetic tests designed to simulate 3D game performance as best as possible. We start with GLBenchmark, one of the better Android GPU tests on the market today. There are two benchmarks, Egypt and Pro, and each is run in two modes: native screen resolution and offscreen (vsync disabled) at 720p. The latter is more useful for apples to apples comparisons as everything is rendering the same number of pixels, whereas performance in the onscreen tests is determined by the screen resolution of the device along with the performance of its GPU.

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Egypt
GLBenchmark 2.1 - Egypt - Offscreen (720p)

As a reminder, only the Egypt offscreen test takes place with vsync turned off, which is why you see devices with 720p displays posting different results on versus off screen where vsync is off. Part of the deal in getting Krait to market as quickly as possible required that Qualcomm pair the CPU with an older GPU, in this case the Adreno 225 instead of the newer Adreno 3xx offerings due out later this year in SoCs like MSM8960 Pro or the quad core Krait APQ8064. As a result, you can see the SGS2 with Exynos 4210 pull ahead in both tests. Obviously the on-screen test isn’t a totally fair comparison because of the inherent difference in resolution - 720p vs WVGA.

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Pro
GLBenchmark 2.1 - Pro - Offscreen (720p)

In the older Pro offscreen test, we see Adreno 225 trading spots with SGS2’s Mali–400 and coming out on top.

Basemark ES 2.0 V1

Rightware’s Basemark ES 2.0 V1 is an aging GPU test that tends to favor Qualcomm’s Adreno GPUs above almost all others:

RightWare Basemark ES 2.0 V1 - Taiji
RightWare Basemark ES 2.0 V1 - Hoverjet

Basemark ES 2.0 is definitely starting to show its age, as Hoverjet is at vsync essentially the whole time, and Taiji is getting there as well. In addition, Qualcomm appears to be using ES 2.0 as an optimization target, so I wouldn’t put too much faith in the ES 2.0 results.

Battery Life Camera - Stills


View All Comments

  • shaolin95 - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    As much as I loved my Captivate and thought the GS2 was a nice upgrade , the GS3 is a let down (the USA version that is).
    Say what you want about the dual core being close to the quad but I can score higher Browsermark with my Galaxy Note international (@1.6ghz) than the GS3 USA version. And the real killer is the older GPU.
    I am going to wait for Note 2...likely international version as well if they keep messing things up.
  • BioHazardous - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    It seems like it fails to impress in almost all tests, particularly battery life and WiFi performance. I wish the article was a little more critical of its shortcomings. The battery life is even less impressive when you consider it has a larger battery than the HTC One X.

    The only thing it really seems to have going for it vs the HTC One X is the microSD slot and removable battery.

    When will the test results be added to the Bench?
  • IKeelU - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    ...for HTC. The SGS3 looks like a fantastic phone, but the benchmarks, camera, and battery tests all show one or more "One" variants slightly besting the SGS3.

    Both companies have done a great job, but I think my money will go towards HTC this time around. Specifically the One S. Thanks to its lower (but still great) resolution it's really killing those games benchmarks.
  • Mbonus - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    I am very surprised that the SGIII was lagging in almost every benchmark to the HTC variants. My speculation is that Touchwiz must be incredibly invasive over the current version of Sense.

    One thing that needs to be tested is the multitasking. The HTC units have been reported to be very aggressive with killing background apps and some have speculated that this is how they are saving battery. It would be interesting to see how GSIII is handling multitasking.
  • redeemer777 - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    Why are you so suprised? Both have the same chipsets which mean HTC has imposed better optimizations. This is Android guys root your phone, if you're not happy. Reply
  • Mbonus - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    I'm most surprised in the battery department because of the physically larger battery of the SGS3. Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    People shouldn't have to root their devices to fix some of the silly memory tweaks HTC did, and yes, their memory optimizations are currently too aggressive. Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    I doubt dumping apps off memory to make more breathing room for Sense or whatever would help much with idle battery, it's not like you stop powering the memory either way. Reply
  • metafor - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    One thing to keep in mind is that Samsung likely spends a lot more time tuning their software stack for their Exynos processors than they do for others. Whereas HTC pretty much starts out with Qualcomm chips.

    That being said, considering they are launching all of their US GS3's based on the S4, I'm surprised it didn't get their ultra-fast browser that we saw in the international GS3 preview.
  • patycake57 - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    I,too, would appreciate knowing about the multitasking and how it compares with the One X. I bought the HOX (ATT) based on excellent reviews from many sites including this one, and have become more and more frustrated with the poor multitasking. Depending on your apps and pattern of usage, this may not bother you, but I cannot recommend the HOX to most that read AT (e.g. power users).

    I would very much like to see a first rate technical site like AT address multitasking, because for some, it can really alter the user experience beyond the technical specs/testing. Also, I think changes like this should be clearly disclosed by phone manufacturers, because if I would have known about this, I would not have purchased the HOX and waited for the SG3 or next Nexus phone. At this time, I'm not aware of a non-root fix, and HTC has not acknowledged it as a bug.

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