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.


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!

Introduction & CPU Performance


View All Comments

  • MadMan007 - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    Using mobile benchmarks to judge devices as a potential customer is pretty frustrating. Same hardware in different devices gets different scores, sometimes by huge amounts, and we don't always know where the variation comes from. Not to mention that the most often used benchmarks may not correspond with actual use anyway.

    So, the important question is how well do these benchmarks correspond to real-world use? Does a device that scores 2x in a bunch of benchmarks really feel 2x faster? Does it depend on what you're doing, or is the network speed the limiting factor for web browsing anyway? These are the kinds of questions that are important to actual customers...after the 'new shiny' benchmark e-peen high wears off, we are left actually using the device. Anything you can do to help answer these questions would be awesome - we need an Anandtech Smartphone Bench!
  • doobydoo - Sunday, November 04, 2012 - link

    GL benchmarks don't vary by software. Reply
  • ctenorman - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    For most of the every day benchmarks, like Google's Octane, my Galaxy Nexus actually performs better. For example, I get a 1300+ score for octane in browser (not chrome). I'm not overclocked, just running a recent build of AOKP.

    In what way is the nexus 4 a real upgrade over the Galaxy Nexus if not in speed? The Galaxy Nexus display is pretty impressive still (especially if you're using a ROM which punches the brightness up to an appropriate like AOKP does and makes it quite readable in sunlight), its performance is still as good or better than than the Nexus 4 for day-to-day tasks, and the Galaxy Nexus doesn't have a lot of weak points (other than a less-than-incredibly-impressive camera). Mind you, even the camera isn't as weak as it's often made out to be: Granted, the Nexus 4 has more power in the graphics department, but ever since Jelly Bean I haven't wished for more graphical smoothness.

    I wouldn't mind 2gb of RAM, but other than that, I fail to see how this is a big advance unless you're a hard-core gamer, and even then I rarely wish for more gaming horsepower on my GN.
  • A5 - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    There must be some problem with the V8 optimizations in 4.2 right now. Engadget's review has the Optimus G getting 1283ms in SunSpider on ICS, so the hardware isn't the problem... Reply
  • MrSpadge - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    I read this as "4 cores are (currently) useless in a phone, however smart it may want to be". Reply
  • MadMan007 - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I'd rather have seen an Exynos5 dual core in the Nexus 4, or an S4 dual core with Adreno 320. Single threaded performance is still more important once you've got dual cores. Reply
  • Jorange - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    Which version of Chrome ships with 4.2?

    On a Nexus 7 @ 1.6 GHz with the latest (1st November) update I get a sunspider of 1300ms ~, on stock AOSP 4.1.2 Browser I get 1100ms~. Chrome as a default browser is not great, on the Chromium logs there is mention of Chrome for Android next milestone as version 24, so I was hoping for a increase in performance using Chrome in 4.2.

    Just re-run Sunspider at stock on a Nexus 7, I still get 1500~ms. Anand are you running the latest version of Chrome from the play store, as it apparently has improvements relevant to the Nexus 4 & 10?

    I hope Google has not cobbled these Nexus gems with a browser than never should have left beta.
  • uhuznaa - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    Chrome is basically a very nice fit for a tablet (or even larger smartphones) but it feels beta very much indeed. Reply
  • A5 - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    Other reviews are showing browser performance issues in 4.2, too. Might just be the software...wouldn't be shocked if we see 4.2.1 by the time this actually gets into anyone's hands. Reply
  • staticx57 - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    Chrome is a very poorly coded app as much as I like the interface. On all of my devices it lags like no other unlike the stock android browser. Reply

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