Recently, Samsung was caught optimising Galaxy S4's hardware
to rig the benchmark scores it presented. It seems the South Korean major has repeated the unpopular act yet again. A new report by Ron Amadeo of ArsTechnica
has revealed that Samsung is artificially boosting the CPU clock frequency of the Snapdragon 800 powered Galaxy Note 3
that enables the device to achieve a higher score than normal with popular benchmark tests.
Amadeo reportedly tested the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 against the LG G2, which runs the same chipset - featuring a 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. He found that the Galaxy Note 3 phablet topped all tests against the LG G2, despite both having identical innards.
The report further reveals that by using a CPU monitor, it was evident that the Note 3's CPU detected certain benchmarks. Some more digging also revealed that a few popular benchmark apps (such as Geekbench) when opened, bumped the Note 3's CPU clock frequency to its maximum of 2.26GHz, while other apps and games (non-benchmark app) were limited to use 300MHz with three cores idling.
The ArsTechnica report also noted that when simply changing the name of a benchmarking app, like Geekbench to Stealthbench, it turned the scores lower. The report also revealed which benchmarks the Galaxy Note 3's CPU detected, a list that includes Geekbench, Quadrant, Antutu, Linpack, and GFXBench, apart from Samsung's own benchmarks.
In the past, a simple way for an end-user to check the potency of an Android-based smartphone was by running a set of benchmarks that revealed the CPU, GPU and overall performance of a device. However, it seems now that major handset players like Samsung are tweaking their smartphones to win the performance race only in name.
Analysing the issue of rigging smartphones, AnandTech's Anand Lal Shimpi and Brian Klug, in their post, "They're (Almost) All Dirty: The State of Cheating in Android Benchmarks," say that Apple and Motorola are perhaps the only two OEMs that are not optimizing their handsets for the sake of higher benchmark scores.
Earlier, Samsung was accused for optimising the Exynos 5 Octa-powered Samsung Galaxy S4 for benchmarks. The company responded to the claims, and clarified that it did not use any specific tools to achieve higher benchmarks.
Update: Samsung has issued the following statement to CNET UK in response to the above incident:
The Galaxy Note 3 maximises its CPU/ GPU frequencies when running features that demand substantial performance. This was not an attempt to exaggerate particular benchmarking results. We remain committed to providing our customers with the best possible user experience.