CPU Performance

The Galaxy S 5 marks the second Snapdragon 801 based device we've reviewed at AnandTech, the first being HTC's M8. I've gone through the Snapdragon 801 in depth already, but we're basically dealing with a reasonable upgrade to Snapdragon 800 on an improved 28nm HPm process. The bulk of the improvements impact GPU and ISP performance, but the SoC is just better overall. GS5 owners are lucky as all versions of the device that use Qualcomm silicon feature the MSM8974AC v3 SKU, which includes four 2.5GHz Krait 400 cores and a 578MHz Adreno 330 GPU.

Snapdragon 800/801 Breakdown
  SoC Version Model Max CPU Frequency Max GPU Frequency ISP eMMC DSDA Memory IF
MSM8974VV v2 S800 2.2GHz 450MHz 320MHz 4.5 N 800MHz
MSM8974AA v2 S800 2.3GHz 450MHz 320MHz 4.5 N 800MHz
MSM8974AB v2 S800 2.3GHz 550MHz 320MHz 4.5 N 933MHz
MSM8974AA v3 S801 2.3GHz 450MHz 320MHz 5.0 Y 800MHz
MSM8974AB v3 S801 2.3GHz 578MHz 465MHz 5.0 Y 933MHz
MSM8974AC v3 S801 2.5GHz 578MHz 465MHz 5.0 Y 933MHz

Although Samsung was the first major OEM to be caught cheating in Android benchmarks, it appears to have completely abandoned the practice with the Galaxy S 5's shipping software. Not only was I unable to find any evidence of the old cheats, I couldn't find any evidence of HTC's new subtle cheating either. The Galaxy S 5 appears to be clean as far as I can tell. Kudos to Samsung on doing the right thing, and I hope all other OEMs take this as a sign to stop the silliness.

For our performance tests I turned to our usual suite of browser and native applications. If there's one obvious takeaway from our CPU tests it's that despite having faster silicon than HTC's M8, the GS5 isn't always faster. I believe this has more to do with thermals than anything else. HTC's metal chassis is able to do a better job of dissipating heat than the GS5's plastic chassis. I don't believe there's a substantial impact on user experience, but it's interesting to note how choice in materials can have a performance impact like this.

SunSpider 1.0.2 Benchmark  (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Kraken 1.1 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Google Octane v2  (Chrome/Safari/IE)

WebXPRT (Chrome/Safari/IE)

BaseMark OS II - Overall

BaseMark OS II - System

BaseMark OS II - Graphics

BaseMark OS II - Web

GPU Performance

GPU performance remains where we see the biggest benefit from Snapdragon 801 vs. 800, and since the GPU gains are almost entirely due to frequency scaling it's not too surprising that the M8 pulls ahead of the GS5 here in most cases.

There aren't any surprises here. The Adreno 330 in the Galaxy S 5 is more than capable of driving the device's 1080p display both in current and near term future 3D games.

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Overall

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Graphics

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Physics

BaseMark X 1.1

BaseMark X 1.1 - Overall (Medium)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Overall (High Quality)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (Medium, Offscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (Medium, Offscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (Medium, Onscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (Medium, Onscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (High Quality, Offscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (High Quality, Offscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (High Quality, Onscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (High Quality, Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 ALU Test (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 ALU Test (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Alpha Blending Test (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Alpha Blending Test (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Driver Overhead Test (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Driver Overhead Test (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Fill Rate Test (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Fill Rate Test (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Quality/Accuracy Test (High Precision)

GFXBench 3.0 Quality/Accuracy Test (Medium Precision)

NAND Performance

The GS5 ships with 16GB or 32GB of NAND internally on an integrated eMMC device. Expansion is supported through a microSD card slot behind the removable back cover. Although the Snapdragon 801 inside supports eMMC 5.0, that alone doesn't guarantee a substantial increase in NAND performance. Keep in mind that most OEMs find multiple sources for their internal eMMC/NAND solutions, so what I'm testing here may only be representative of a portion of all GS5 devices.

Samsung sampled a 16GB GS5 review device. I put it through our usual random/sequential IO tests on a 100MB span of LBAs.

Random read performance is disappointing, it falls behind all modern devices we've tested. Random write performance is middle-of-the-road at best. It's unclear to me if this is a cost optimization or a lack of concern for NAND performance, but either way I'd rather see these metrics improve rather than regress.


Internal NAND - Random Read

Internal NAND - Random Write

Sequential read/write performance both improve handsomely compared to the Galaxy S 4. I can see why Samsung would want to optimize for these two cases as they are quite common in regular usage, but random read/write performance can also significantly impact user experience.

Internal NAND - Sequential Read

Internal NAND - Sequential Write

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  • theduckofdeath - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    If you don't understand what Android is, I really don't see why I should discuss it with you.

    Android is a free to use open source platform. This means, manufacturers has to compile the code to their specific hardware, which takes a few months. NO ONE IN THE REAL WORLD CARES ABOUT THIS DELAY NIVA. NO ONE.

    People who are been obsessed with stock experience pushed to their phones the minute Google announces a new update buy a Nexus phone. Everyone else buys the phone they feel best suits them. Most people teds to buy Galaxy S phones, simply because they are the best, and one of the very few with an OLED display.

    Skinning Android is a necessity to create a feeling of an ecosystem the buyer feels at home with. For instance, I could never live with the skin Sony crams into their phones, in my opinion it's ugly in really incoherent. I have a Nexus tablet too, but I prefer TouchWiz, simply because it gives you a lot of really, really useful add/on features.

    Anyone arguing a Nexus phone is the only choice, just because it has stock Android doesn't understand what a smartphone is. The Nexus 5 is a mediocre phone. At best.
  • jezzgoodwin - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    I have to agree with the parents here. The Samsung Touchwiz UI suffers from lots of stuttering when in motion. When doing simple things like sliding between home screens, there is stutter.

    My friend has an HTC One which has a different UI and his phone is really smooth when doing transitions.

    The Samsungs are brilliant phones, but they should really fix the stutter.
  • theduckofdeath - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    Try putting the exact same widgets on those two phones when you scroll. TouchWiz doesn't stutter from simple scrolling. However all operating systems stutter for instance when information has to be swapped from storage to RAM. Even my 8GB quadcore Haswell desktop PC does that fairly often.

    You should really try one out for real instead of basing your ideas off something you've basically read on a forum on the internet.
  • Kidster3001 - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    Just use a different launcher from Touchwiz. My Note2 struggles a little in Touchwiz. I use Nova Launcher now and everything is much smoother. No root required, just install it and set as default launcher.
  • Latzara - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    pls --- a Nexus is on par with the currently leading phones for about 2/3 of the price -- that doesn't a mediocre phone make. And the usefulness of the Touchwiz addons is completely subjective -- had a Galaxy S and an SIII and in both cases it wasn't long till i flashed a custom ROM to get rid of all the crammed in usefulness...

    Don't paint a product with your personal experience and then extrapolate to everyone else. It just doesn't work that way and if you had any intention of being fair you'd know that. I don't like Touchwiz. Some do (i.e. you) but you can't argue that they add a bunch of apps that aren't directly tied to core functionality (like messaging for example which can't be removed) without even giving you a choice to uninstall what you deem unnecessary .... Lack of choice is always a grade down for me. I don't need the multitude of hubs for this and that and i can't get rid of them.

    and btw, on the "NO ONE IN THE REAL WORLD CARES ABOUT THIS DELAY NIVA. NO ONE." part -- there is a large modding community that begs to differ ...
  • theduckofdeath - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    The Nexus phones are nice. But they are not on par. They're good value high/end phones, where the manufacturers cuts corners on pretty important things like display quality, camera and other things that are not easy to present in tech specs but are pretty obvious when you use them.
  • Max(IT) - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - link

    You are right, nexus aren't on par: they are better. When it comes to build quality, Samsung's devices disappear. A nexus 5 is far better build than a 700$ Galaxy S5 ....
    The nexus 5 isn't perfect, for sure. Battery and camera aren't the best on the market, but still is superior to any Galaxy S .... at a lower price point.
    Stock Android makes it fast and responsive, without tons of gimmicks added by Samsung.
    The only Samsung I would consider is a GPE.
  • theduckofdeath - Friday, April 25, 2014 - link

    Build quality is better in the Nexus 5? Just because it's different materials, it definitely does not mean it's better built. The GS5 is IP67 certified, which actually requires higher precision and build quality than, you know, no IP certification.... :)
  • DiHydro - Friday, April 25, 2014 - link

    I work for a company that has IPX certified our products just this year, and I know first hand that IPX certification does not account for build quality or materials. I could get a cellphone made with cardboard and cellophane tape IP67 certified. This doesn't mean it is durable or well made.
  • Kidster3001 - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    I'd much rather have my plastic phone that bounces a little than a metal one. My personal opinion.

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