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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  • Saltank - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    Not a single word about actually making phone calls? No call quality / HD Voice stuff? I was awestruck by how awesome my iPhone 5 handles regular non-HDVoice calls, and the GS3 was good, too, but my old HTC One was subpar.

    Also, how come camera comparisons don't take WP's in to account? No Lumia 1020/1520/930?
  • Lightstorm66 - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    I thought Anandt ech knew that the Samsung Browser is faster than chrome and achieves in the Galaxy S5 even better results than the iphone 5s in sunspider.

    Galaxy S5: 385,8 ms
    iphone 5s: 414,7 ms
  • ryanmt - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    The LG G2 is the unsung camera hero here. It outperforms it all. Why are only the HTC M8 and 5S called out for their good low light performance when the G2 is actually (subjectively) better?
  • echo9251 - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    There should be more talk about the lack of a 64MB option. I have a 64MB HTC One (M7) and enjoy never having to worry about running out of storage for apps, etc. Losing half my storage is a big disincentive to "upgrading" to a new phone.
  • Brian Z - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    Well they did include a micro SD card that supports up to 128gb.

    I am not going to make the case that having more storage considering the outrageous prices of the these devices. But at a point it gets a ridiculous. People complain loud OMG no external storage. No buy. Then they make 32gb device with expandable storage. People still complain
  • Streamlined - Thursday, April 17, 2014 - link

    Uh, because SD cards are dog slow compared to storage on the motherboard. SD CARDS SUCK and that is why HTC includes larger storage options. Just another reason the M8 is the best Android phone money can buy.
  • Myrandex - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    I'm disappointed no Nokia's showed up in the camera tests. I've love to see how this lined up with my Lumia 920, particularly in the low light tests. My wife's 1020 is a beast too.
  • Souka - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    Here's a another way to test durability and take apart a S5

  • dlang1234 - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    What I'm most impressed by, is how well the LG G2 is performing at these benchmarks against much newer phones. I have had my G2 for a while now, and it is an awesome phone.. so much so that these phones look more like side grades than upgrades even though, I mean it was released September 12, 2013 and now almost 6 months later, the epic increases of speed in mobile seems to be subsiding some.
  • chrcoluk - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link


    I own a S3 and a galaxy ace.

    The galaxy ace has cyanogen mod 7.2 installed on it.
    The S3 has touchwiz based on android 4.3

    In terms of hardware spec the S3 is many multiples more powerful than the ace.

    However many basic functions are much snappier on the ace, in particurly using it as a phone, bringing up the call log, scrolling the call log, making calls, answering calls, opening contacts, all these functions much faster on the ace. The ace also wakes up immediatly whilst the S3 has wake lag, the ace has much longer lasting battery even tho it has a weaker battery. However the ace does suck when it comes to using it for the internet/gaming most 3rd party apps as thats where its hw spec hits it, but its limitations are mostly down to its lack of ram. IT seems to always have more spare cpu cycles than the S£ as the S3 is bogged down by touchwiz.

    So why havent I got the S3 on AOSP. google edition etc? the problem is the contacts/dialer app on AOSP sucks really bad, its aweful. Especially with the default white background. Samsung have at least maintained a half decent UI design in their dialer/contacts the problem is its mega laggy. But sadly UI design wins over performance. CM7.2 has the best ever dialer/contacts I have seen on a android phone but new phones cannot use CM7.2.

    I have recently decided to start using the ace as my main phone (its easier to use out and about also due to its smaller size) and primarily use the S3 as a portable computing device. That way I can stick AOSP on the S3 and not worry about the crappy contacts app.

    Do samsung deliberatly make their interface laggy? not sure, its certianly possible tho as they want to give a people a reason to upgrade to the next phone every year.

    Also notice how every new software update increases the fotn size as well, to give people a reason to want the higher DPI. The relative font size looks equal on my ace vs the S3 even tho the S3 has a way higher resolution.

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