android: Explained: Why Android phones with similar chipsets show different benchmark scores – Times of India

Users might have noticed while buying a new smartphone that Android devices powered by the same processors often show different scores on benchmark apps. The benchmark scores of a handset are said to indicate the performance of the chipset and the score of the device as a whole. This is one of the primary reasons for the benchmark apps to show different scores for Android phones carrying the same SoC. Here we will explain the key reasons that cause this difference to help users become more informed buyers. How benchmark scores can be useful in deducing a phone’s true performance is also explained.
Comparing the benchmark scores of two new Android smartphones with same chipset
To make things easier, let’s compare the benchmark scores of two recently released Android devices — the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the OnePlus 10 Pro. Both smartphones come powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 flagship processor. The AnTuTu (v9) score of the Samsung smartphone is 968359, whereas the OnePlus device scores 886248 in the same benchmark app. Meanwhile, the Geekbench (v5.1) score of Samsung is 3657 and here OnePlus scores 3447.
Despite having the same processor, the scores of these three devices are remarkably different from each other. The scores are so different that a layman might assume these smartphones to be a generation apart.
Why are the scores so different?
Qualcomm has no bias for any brand as it designs the chip to work equally for every smartphone manufacturer. Every processor that is used by semiconductor companies for testing produces different results on different smartphones. Moreover, different models from the same phone maker with the same chip won’t show the same scores either. For example, the Galaxy S22 Ultra offers higher scores than the S22 and S22+. The same happens for the iPhone 13 series where all the models pack the same A15 Bionic chip.
The benchmark scores are not only determined by the chipset, although it does most of the heavy lifting. The processor of a handset is like its brain, however, to use it to its full potential, it needs an equally competent body. A chipset that offers high-level performance also needs the latest hardware to produce desired results.
How does the hardware affect a device?
Smartphones are packed with several components and sensors that allow the chipset to achieve its objectives. These components include — battery, memory chip, transceiver, DAC and even the motherboard that connects everything among many others. The quality of these components determines how well the processor will perform.
These components tend to produce various performances as they are usually designed in-house by smartphone manufacturers and are unique to each model. The chipset can only push as much as the components are built to handle, if it pushes any harder, the device starts experiencing different issues.
One of these common issues is overheating, however, it can be solved by two methods — built-in cooling systems or software optimisation. The built-in cooling system aims to cool down the device to increase its sustained performance. Most phone makers use a liquid cooling mechanism while other brands add a physical turbofan and air ducts to the device to push out hot air. A manufacturer can also bring down the performance of handsets by software optimisation to keep them from overheating. In this case, the smartphones can detect when it is getting really hot and starts throttling to reduce the workload on the chipset.
Attunement of hardware and software also determines benchmark scores
The sync between hardware and software is also important for a device to produce good benchmark scores. The processors that are designed by Android chip makers Qualcomm and MediaTek use a one-size-fits-all approach, as they sell their products to several smartphone brands. On the contrary, when a phone maker designs its custom silicon, its sole intent is to make it work well with the software to take full advantage of the chip’s potential.
However, it is important to note that the model of a phone, its age and usage are all responsible for influencing the benchmark scores of the device. Users might get slightly different results each time they run consecutive tests on the same device.

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