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 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 & Display


View All Comments

  • blahsaysblah - Saturday, November 03, 2012 - link

    I guess this may be a little late... Is there any performance difference because of the larger amount of flash storage? Is it like the SSD situation where there are more chips/channels/banks? I know I may be abusing terms.

    To be honest I would like to know if the 32 GB Nexus 7 is faster in real life situations as you swap between tasks as I do notice pauses here and there. Should I return my new 16? How about with Nexus 10s different storage sizes?

    On side note, when will I be able to switch between tasks without them pausing. I am seriously thinking Win 8 will be only OS tablet that will let you multi task and have multiple windows open at same time. I seriously need Hulu app to keep running while ad runs while I switch to browser. Seems like space age stuff in comparison to my 4.1.2 Nexus 7 tablet... The 10 should at least have some kind of side by side mode in landscape and top bottom in portrait mode... Guess I should Google Ubuntu on Nexus to see what window manager is there, but than no netflix, hulu, apps. So toy like... yes this is my first tablet. All new to me.
  • tuxRoller - Saturday, November 03, 2012 - link

    You shouldn't have slow downs while switching between tasks in the Nexus 7. That is mostly a RAM/CPU issue and the Nexus 7 has plenty of both. However, if you can't wait for the AT review, theverge reviews the Nexus 10. They say there are no slow downs. It also has twice the RAM of the Nexus 7. Reply
  • nickfer - Saturday, November 03, 2012 - link

    What this review of benchmarks doesn't specify is the pre-release version of Android 4.2 that has been used. All reviews I have seen have the Nexus 4 using a kernel 3.4.0, while the Nexus 10 using a kernel 3.4.5. I am not sure if this applies to the units tested here, but I wonder if the same builds were used on both devices. This could go a long way in explaining the results. And in general, for any "scientific" benchmarking, I would expect those details to be listed, something that cannot be said for this review. Reply
  • Zodiark1593 - Saturday, November 03, 2012 - link

    Soo, there's talk of these fantastic displays for tablets and other such gadgets, but where's these mythical LCDs for laptops? The only one I've seen would be on the Macbook family, but I'm looking for a gamer, not a fashion statement, and a gaming laptop would certainly be better equipped for such displays.

    It kinda makes me mad that a tablet would have a significantly better display than a multi-grand gaming laptop.
  • rahuldesai - Saturday, November 03, 2012 - link

    Hi Anand,

    Could you explain in what sense the Optimus G and Nexus 4 differ wrt to the below statement:

    "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"
  • tytung - Saturday, November 03, 2012 - link

    I had high hopes for Note 10 - amazing resolution and latest processor from Samsung, plus buttery smooth UI.
    Sadly, in almost all of the benchmarks here the top is always iPad 3 and iPhone 5. Not to mention the latest iPad 4 is even powerful than iPad 3.

    Looks like iPad 4 and iPhone 5 are the most powerful devices out there, end of story.
  • UpSpin - Saturday, November 03, 2012 - link

    If you take a look at the browser benchmark, you'll notice that the iPads are missing! Why, because they score worse than the Nexus 10. Because the Nexus 4 scores miserably compared to the identical LG Optimus G (which are missing on AT again), with the exception that the LG runs on ICS, we can safely assume that the used browser is responsible for the bad ratings and with a software update the results will, additionally, for the Nexus 10, too, greatly improve.

    If you take a look at the GPU benchmark and exclude those meaningless synthetic benchmarks which can easily get manipulated or at least don't say anything about the real performance of the GPU, and compare the 3D scene benchmarks which the user will later experience then the Nexus 10 outscores the iPad 3. In Offscreen it's even the fastest. In the classic benchmark both hit 60FPS, so the classic benchmark became obsolete.

    I still think the Nexus 4 numbers are flawed (maybe defective device with a bad SoC or other issues) because the Optimus G (the same device!!) scores much better, even better than the iPhone 5.

    However, the iPad 4 will be much faster than the Nexus 10 in GPU power, no question.
  • doobydoo - Sunday, November 04, 2012 - link

    Yeah, comparing new device vs new device, the Nexus 10 is miles behind the iPad 4, in both CPU and GPU.

    That's very disappointing. Even the iPhone 5 beats it in many of the actual rendering tests.
  • joelol75 - Sunday, November 11, 2012 - link

    Bit of a non-issue for iOS users since their stock browser consistently dominates......because you didn't want to hear the fact that the already-out iPad will surpass this in performance by a long way...comparing new device vs new device, the Nexus 10 is miles behind the iPad 4...

    1. Would U please shut up! I have an idea. Anatech Stop listing Apple benchmarks in Android reviews so AppFboiz like you stop posting your crAPPaganda. I love the "ummm. I guess Nexus x sucks so I'm getting the Iphone" posts too. Either these fb's have icrap hardware and a Steve Jobs candlelit shrine already or they really are that stupid (in that case they are making the right choice)

    NO! Android users don't bail to Apple on a review (maybe decide between other Android devices) so quit posting this crap. I don't post Android propaganda on Apple review sites and personally prefer it if Nokia STOOD BEHIND Maemo instead of flushing their business down the Symbian and Microsoft tubes but anyway the point....

    The Nexus . IS new software as well as hardware. Show me a phone with 4.2 on it... and.... the new Iclone is just rehashed same-old, cookie-cutter, designed for obsolescence in no time Apple hardware with an old lock-me-in-Johnny, I-so-stupid so show me how (rather tell me how) to use my device shiny GUI on top of a good (which they didn't write of course but legally stole) FreeBSD OS known as IOS6.

    I'm retiring or promoting my Nokia N900 to a carputer project so I can remote start my car by Wifi, SMS, or SSH. It will have a Nexus10 integrated into the dash replacing the Factory radio and will have a Stripped Dell Pentium M laptop with Linux for the backend. All HVAC controls will be touch controlled. Blower motor will be PWM Mosfet. Remote entry will be RFID, NFC (Samsung Tectiles), or SSH. (Solenoid door poppers). Wifi hotspot and GPS, Bluetooth tether and other display duties (FM RDS) will be handled by the N900. Wifi linking and media sync (podcasts auto dl'd) and video capture from the 4 always running cameras as well as OBD2 datalogging (ELM327), voice control and text to speech will be all Linux (ATT Truevoice or Cepstral) Smb and Nfs will be available as the car will always be wifi hs will be handled by a Raspberry Pi and GPIO for all this (no keys! power seat /mirror. memory and other logic will be PicAxe handled. Some voice prompts will be handled with WinBond ISD1000 or so series chips. Radio tuning and rds by si474 ics.

    Anyway id rather use my old Nokia N900 than get a ip6. I was deciding btw nexus . and sgs3. Maybe Note 2. Sooo. someone like me would use the iphone as a paperweight. The sheep like 'em I hear...
  • Sind - Saturday, November 03, 2012 - link

    It's apparent from the vastly different review results popping up on the internet that different phones are running different versions. I'm not sure why google is allowing the reviews before the 13th or when the final build is released, but with such obvious benchmark discrepancies and battery life being vastly different from site to site something isn't jiving and frankly your doing a disservice to consumers by not waiting. Reply

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