Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S III: Advanced fence-sitting

GSMArena team, 10 April 2013.
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Synthetic benchmarks

Update, May 9: We added the I9500 Galaxy S4 benchmarks.

As you have probably heard by now, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is available in two configurations. The first one is powered by an eight-core Exynos 5 Octa chipset, which offers two groups of four cores - one of the power-saving Cortex-A7 variety clocked at 1.2 GHz and the other of the extra powerful Cortex-A15 architecture running at 1.6GHz.

Unfortunately that chipset proved quite hard to manufacture, so the majority of the first batch of Galaxy S4 units will be powered by the Snapdragon 600 chipset, just like our test unit. The Qualcomm-made SoC boasts four Krait 300 cores clocked at 1.9GHz, 2GB of RAM and Adreno 320 GPU.

Standing in the opposing corner is the Exynos 4 Quad chipset, which while good for its time is clearly showing its age now. It features four Cortex-A9 cores running at 1.4GHz, 1GB of RAM (on the most popular international non-LTE version) and the Mali-400MP GPU.

As you can see, in addition to the difference in CPU generations, there's also a notable difference in their clock speed. The GPUs are also fairly incomparable due to their generational difference.

Let's now see the margin of the victory that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is going to achieve here. We started with BenchmarkPi, which is a single-threaded CPU benchmark. The Galaxy S4 beat the achievement of its predecessor by more than two and a half times.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    132
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    132
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    147
  • HTC One
    151
  • Sony Xperia Z
    264
  • HTC Butterfly
    266
  • Oppo Find 5
    267
  • HTC One X+
    280
  • LG Optimus G
    285
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    305
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    330
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    350
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    359
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    362
  • Nexus 4
    431

We then came to a couple multi-threaded computing tests, which should test the overall power of the CPU. The Galaxy S4 basically killed its opponent in Linpack, beating its score by more than four times, while the difference in Geekbench 2 stood at just 75%.

Linpack

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    791
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    788
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    743
  • HTC One
    646
  • Sony Xperia Z
    630
  • HTC Butterfly
    624
  • LG Optimus G
    608
  • Oppo Find 5
    593
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    214.3
  • Nexus 4
    213.5
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    189.1
  • HTC One X+
    177.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    175.5
  • HTC One X
    160.9
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    141.5

Geekbench 2

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    3324
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    3227
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    3040
  • HTC One
    2708
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2173
  • HTC Butterfly
    2143
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1845
  • LG Optimus G
    1723
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1661
  • iPhone 5
    1601

AnTuTu and Quadrant test the whole system - CPU, GPU, RAM, storage. The Galaxy S III managed to keep relatively close to its successor in the first trial (and by that we mean it lost by less than two times), but was blown out of the water in the second.

AnTuTu

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    26275
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    24716
  • HTC One
    22678
  • Sony Xperia Z
    20794
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    20056
  • HTC Butterfly
    19513
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    15547
  • Oppo Find 5
    15167

Quadrant

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    12446
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    12376
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    12105
  • HTC One
    11746
  • Sony Xperia Z
    8075
  • HTC One X+
    7632
  • LG Optimus G
    7439
  • Oppo Find 5
    7111
  • HTC One X
    5952
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    5916
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    5450
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    5170
  • Nexus 4
    4567

The Galaxy S4 continued to make its predecessor feel ancient, when it came to GPU prowess. In GLBenchmark 2.7 Egypt (the 1080p off-screen test) the difference between the two is almost three-fold, 40-something fps against just 15fps. The difference in the Unreal Engine-based Epic Citadel is pretty major too.

GLBenchmark 2.7 Egypt (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    43
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    41
  • HTC One
    37
  • Oppo Find 5
    32
  • Google Nexus 4
    32
  • Sony Xperia Z
    31
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    31
  • Sony Xperia SP
    31
  • Apple iPhone 5
    30
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    30
  • LG Optimus G
    21
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    17
  • HTC One X
    11

Epic Citadel

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    59.8
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    57.1
  • HTC One
    56.4
  • Sony Xperia Z
    55.6
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    54.2
  • Nexus 4
    53.9
  • Asus Padfone 2
    53.4
  • LG Optimus G
    52.6
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    41.3
  • Oppo Find 5
    38.6

It's time to test out web browser performance. Both phones are running the stock Android web browser, but we should keep in mind the differences in TouchWiz and Android versions.

The superior CPU performance of the S4 gives it an advantage in JavaScript performance over the S III. In fact, the S4 is one of the fastest phones we've tested.

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    804
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    810
  • Samsung Ativ S
    891
  • Apple iPhone 5
    915
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    910
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    972
  • HTC One X+
    1001
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1011
  • Motorola RAZR i XT890
    1059
  • HTC One
    1124
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1192
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1312
  • Sony Xperia Z
    1336
  • LG Optimus G
    1353
  • HTC Butterfly
    1433
  • Nexus 4
    1971
  • Oppo Find 5
    2045

The HTML5 benchmark, Vellamo, also puts the two phones relatively close together, although the Galaxy S4 far superior CPU earns it a bigger lead here.

Vellamo

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2418
  • HTC One
    2382
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2189
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    2078
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    2060
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    2056
  • HTC Butterfly
    1866
  • Oppo Find 5
    1658
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1641
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1568
  • LG Optimus G
    1522
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1468
  • Nexus 4
    1310

Unsurprisingly, The Galaxy S4 is far ahead of its predecessor in terms of pure computing power. The Exynos 4 Quad is simply no match for the Snapdragon 600 or the Exynos 5 Octa, often losing the benchmark battles by a huge margin.

Still, it's worth keeping in mind that synthethic benchmarks show just raw performance, and both phones still offer buttery smooth experience in both user interface and apps or games. The Galaxy S4 does have an advantage as far as heavier games and general loading times are concerned, but it will matter mostly to very heavy users.

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