Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. Sony Xperia Z: When worlds collide

GSMArena team, 31 March 2013.

Synthetic benchmarks

Update, May 9: We added the Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4 (the Exynos 5 Octa one) to the benchmarks.

The Xperia Z and the Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4 are powered by Qualcomm chips: the difference between the regular Krait cores inside the S4 Pro (powering the Sony smartphone) and the Krait 300 of the Snapdragon 600 (in the Galaxy S4) are minor but all in favor of the later.

Most importantly, the S4 Pro packs four Krait cores, clocked at 1.5GHz, while the slightly updated Krait 300 cores can run at 1.9GHz in the Samsung Galaxy S4. In addition Krait 300 features a hardware data prefetcher that gets data from the smartphone memory and puts it in the much faster L2 cache before the CPU explicitly asks for it, thus improving the performance even at the same clock speed. There are a number of other changes, but there's no need to get too technical here.

Both smartphones are using 2GB of RAM and Adreno 320 GPU. The GPU clock speed is undisclosed but we suspect it's higher in the Galaxy S4 than the Xperia Z.

We're also including the Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4 in the tests - that's the one using the Exynos 5 Octa chipset, with four Cortex-A15 cores at 1.6GHz cores (well, also four Cortex-A7s but those are for light loads and will not be used during the benchmarks), 2GB of RAM and PowerVR SGX544MP3 GPU.

The first batch of benchmarks tests CPU performance - first of a single core (Benchmark Pi) and then the full multithreaded performance (Linpack and Geekbench). The Galaxy S4 narrowly takes the single-threaded performance and gets a more comfortable lead in the multi-threaded tests.

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

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 are all-inclusive tests that gage pretty much every component (CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, etc.). Both of them place the Samsung Galaxy S4 ahead of the Xperia Z, by a significant margin. The newer chipsets are obviously paying handsome dividends.

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

With mobile phone screens topping FullHD resolution, GPUs are under more stress than ever. Luckily for the Galaxy S4 and the Xperia Z, the Adreno 320 is one of the fastest around. The PowerVR SGX544MP3 is also among the fastest - it's used in the Apple iPhone 5.

The GLBenchmark 2.7 test runs at 1080p resolution off-screen, meaning the actual resolution of the physical screen doesn't matter, so we can compare raw performance. The Galaxy S4 tops the charts here, beating the Xperia Z by a good 10-12fps - That's nearly 40% difference in performance and the largest we have seen in all tests so far.

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 is a tech demo for the latest Unreal Engine, which is bound to see use in real world games. We ran the test in full resolution with performance set to quality. The Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z came very close in this test as both often hit the software limit of 60fps. The bottom line is both phones will run heavy games trouble-free.

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

Finally, we tested the web browser performance using the stock Android browser on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Chrome on Xperia Z as those are the default browsing options on the two.

SunSpider showed vastly superior performance from the Galaxy S4 compared to the Xperia Z and even other droids.

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

Vellamo tests HTML5 performance alongside JavaScript performance and here the Xperia Z snagged a victory. Latest-gen Galaxy Note II ended up ahead of both, but keep in mind that the new smartphones have higher resolution screens, which affects web page rendering performance.

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
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4. Samsung used newer chipsets - a Snapdragon 600 clocked higher than Sony's S4 Pro and Exynos 5 Octa with a new architecture - so it's no surprise that its flagship walked to the victory here.
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