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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  • nerd1 - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    Samsung still makes the most well-around and practical phone out there. It's funny so many people are crazing the metal stuff that bends and scratches without case.
  • synaesthetic - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    I used to love Samsung phones, but not so much anymore. If I'm going to spend 600 bucks on a phone, can we please stop making it feel like a toy? I'm not saying anything about using metal; Nokia's Lumia devices are made of polycarbonate but they feel rock-solid and excellently constructed.

    AMOLED? Meh. IPS is where it's at. AMOLED's oversaturated to the point of cartoonishness. With AMOLED, in six months of decently heavy use, tons of the blue subpixels burn out and the display gets weird unless you're very, very careful to make sure that all your subpixels wear evenly. White webpages drain the crap out of battery. I had a Galaxy Nexus for eighteen months (the one with the RGBG pentile matrix that's supposed to reduce the effects of subpixel burn out) and within half that time I had blue stripes where the status bar and nav bar were whenever I put it in landscape mode. IPS doesn't have this issue; my Nexus 4's screen looks exactly the way it did when it was new, eight months later.

    The only new device I really care much about right now is the Xperia Z2. Sony phones have been awesome for a while now except for Sony's insistence on using crap screens, but the Z2's display is amazing. Not oversaturated, looks natural and fantastic, has great viewing angles... not to mention an sdcard slot and a gigantic battery.

    Samsung doesn't sell a ton of phones because they're the best device, just like Apple doesn't. They both sell a ton of phones because they both spend a ridiculous amount of money on marketing.
  • ashleynelson548 - Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - link

    My review is simple. Get in line and get this phone: http://amzn.to/1ksys3o - Got a chance to test it and this is one awesome phone. Finally Samsung got something right with the S5. I've had HTC & Samsung phones prior to the Galaxy series came out. And nothing has come close to this phone. Great resolution, great camera, love it still has a sd slot to expand your storage capacity along with the high gb internal memory. Lots of ways to tweak to your liking.
  • SymphonyX7 - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    Anyone know how Anandtech measure the phone's power consumption? Do they just hook up a voltmeter between the battery terminals, get the voltage readout and compute from that?
  • nerd1 - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    I think they used in-line powermeter.
  • Stiv21 - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    This fake , here's flagship

  • RonaldNCoady - Friday, April 11, 2014 - link

    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. http://evo9.it/qr.net/a
  • acrodex - Friday, April 11, 2014 - link

    I really didn't get the capture latency part. Unlike iphone, android phones support continuous drive, so if you want to capture multiple photos, just don't release your finger.
  • abufrejoval - Friday, April 11, 2014 - link

    I am (actually more than a little) disappointed that Samsung is trying to do the right thing on one hand with the introduction of Knox for securely running enterprise applications on these devices, yet on the other hand not taking suffient care to really enable them to be what they are:

    Very small and portable yet incredibly powerful workstations, quite capable of replacing entry level PCs by just sticking them into (better placing them on a wireless) docking station, which has a set of full sized screens, keyboard and mouse connected to them so you can run either light office applications right off the phone or use Citrix (or any other terminal server protocol) for some heavier stuff, which still requires a beefy VDI to run.

    To call them "phones" today is like calling a PC a "word processor": Sure that's how they started, but that's not what the have become.

    I bought the Note 3 (like its predecessor, a Note 1) as a very personal workstation, also bought the docking station, which gave me HDMI video and audio out as well as 3 USB (2.0) ports, but I was extremely disappointed to find that the "handheld workstation" wouldn't properly initialize the Asix USB Ethernet adapter, which *every* Android I've ever tried works with out of the box.

    And the monitor was little better: Even though the phone's screen is actually turned off with KitKat and orientation properly switches to landscape mode, all UI elements look groteskly swollen because they were sized to fit a 1080p resolution on a ~6" screen, but not the 32" LED TV I use on my desktop. Needless to say that word processing is no fun when letters are taller than your thumb.

    Clearly the only use case Samsung seems to support via the HDMI port is watching movies: Something I don't need a workstation for.

    After no essential Knox features or applications were forthcoming I went ahead and rooted my Note 3, essentially killing any chance of ever using Knox on that device now. With two "netcfg eth0 dhcp" commands in sequence I can now properly bring up Ethernet and thus connect to the securized office LAN and run Citrix, but with the built-in and fixed DPI settings all other desktop use is still painful to look at.

    There are of course solutions to that problem: Any Parandroid ROM and derivative has wonderful multi-DPI support built in, but unfortunately since the MHL adapter in the Samsung devices doesn't have an open source driver, you immediately loose the HDMI connect, once you put one of these multi-DPI capable Androids on the workstation: Catch-22!

    The only one who can fix this is Samsung and it doesn't look like they are using this opportunity to make their devices more appealing for enterprise use.

    I have quite a number of Android devices and having a different flavour on each one of them would make them pretty unusable. So I put Omnirom on all my Galaxys (except the Note 3), my Nexus 4, 7, 10, Oppo Find 5, Asus TF101, Notion Ink Adam and even switched the return and menu keys around on all the Nexus devices to put them back where "God" (Samsung) intended them to be on my first Galaxy S, with home in the center.

    And since the original launchers were always far too limited and boring I've been running SPB 3D shell on all of these devices for years, which gives me both speed and a nice look as well as a level of consistency across phone, portrait and landscape tablet sized Androids, not possible otherwise.

    Custom Androids give me choice, configurability and privacy: Let the hardware vendors concentrate on creating the best workstation they can make and leave the OS alone!

    I bought a post-PC darn it, like in "personal" not a blackmail subscription!
  • tomgadd - Sunday, April 13, 2014 - link

    Why are the tester do not test audio quality??
    The background is, that people between 15-30 years do consume 90% of music on their smartphone. So it would be a smart move to give the audio quality a higher priority in the test.
    Finally the S5 has in my view the best audio quality available on a smartphone these days.
    A really smart move from samsung....that was formerly one of the key the departements of apple....Sadly the competitors needed a few years to understand the importance...

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