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Nexus 5 With Android 4.4 and Snapdragon 800 Challenges Apple A7 In Benchmarks 310

Posted by timothy
from the so-you're-saying-you-liked-it dept.
MojoKid writes "One of the hallmark features of Google's Nexus 5 flagship smartphone by LG isn't its bodaciously big 5-inch HD display, its 8MP camera, or its "OK Google" voice commands. That has all been done before. What does stand out about the Nexus 5 is Google's new Android 4.4 Kit Kat OS and LG's SoC (System on Chip) processor of choice, namely Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 quad-core. Qualcomm is known for licensing ARM core technology and making it their own; and Qualcomm's latest Krait 400 quad-core along with the Adreno 330 GPU that comprise the Snapdragon 800, is a powerful beast. Google also has taken the scalpel to Kit Kat in all the right places, whittling down the overall footprint of the OS, so it's more efficient on lower-end devices and also offers faster multitasking. Specifically memory usage has been optimized in a number of areas. Couple these OS tweaks with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 and you end up with a smartphone that hugs the corners and lights 'em up on the straights. Putting the Nexus 5 through its paces, it turns out preliminary figures are promising. In fact, the Nexus 5 actually was able to surpass the iPhone 5s with Apple's 64-bit A7 processor in a few tests and goes toe to toe with it in gaming and graphics." Ars Technica has a similarly positive view of the hardware aspects of the phone, dinging it slightly for its camera but otherwise finding little to fault.
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Nexus 5 With Android 4.4 and Snapdragon 800 Challenges Apple A7 In Benchmarks

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  • by giorgist (1208992) on Friday November 08, 2013 @09:57PM (#45374821)
    This is not a fair comparison, the iPhone is twice the price.
    • by smash (1351)
      Because people are willing to pay twice as much money for it. Have a think about why.
      • by tepples (727027)
        So as not to have to rebuy movies and paid apps, perhaps? The original iPhone caught on because it could play DRM iTunes.
    • by auzy (680819) on Friday November 08, 2013 @10:20PM (#45374919)

      It kind of is. Of course, this excludes the fact that Android Apps are actually portable (unlike iPhone apps), and ultimately, when Google implements ART instead of Dalvik, Android will be significantly more competitive in performance (these benchmarks don't test the hardware exclusively, but the software environment also).

      We can also install other Android builds easily on the Nexus phones, and so are able to do things, which are impossible on Apple (without risking completely messing up the phone on upgrades, such as screen recording).

      Long term, Android is a better solution, and is is a more open environment, is less hostile to develop for, and I've found that my Nexus 5 is so snappy anyway, that the speed is irrelevent at this time. And yes, I have 3 other people in the office who are iPhone fans and my Nexus 5 has helped convert 2 of them, who are sick of all the small annoyances by Apple, such as getting cut by the broken glass backing of their iPhone (and the fact that on HSDPA/Wifi iPads for a very long time, we found they kept prioritising the HSDPA, making it painful for automation).

      • The Edge (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by SuperKendall (25149)

        Android Apps are actually portable (unlike iPhone apps)

        Given the screen sizes of modern Android phones I'd say iPhone apps are actually quite a lot more portable. :-)

        less hostile to develop for

        Because good tooling is inherently bad for your health, just like using hammers is far inferior to the strength-building task of pounding in nails with railroad ties.

      • by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday November 09, 2013 @05:45AM (#45376213)

        I think I'm qualified to comment on this. I've been an iOS developer since 2008. My company makes iOS and Android applications. I used flagship Android phones from 2008-2012 before switching to the iPhone. So I've had a lot of experience with both platforms from both the user and developer sides.

        I think Android phones are terrible in comparison to iPhones. The reason why I started out with Android phones was for the reasons you outline - more open, and more flexible. I quickly discovered that wasn't all it was cracked up to be. The reason why I stayed with Android for so long was that a) I was holding out hope that it would be better in the long run and b) I wanted a hardware keyboard.

        Open: Android is "open" in the "open cathedral" sense. It's very difficult to just jump in, make a few alterations, and see the changes running on your device. Practically speaking, it's not developed in an open sense in the same way most open source projects are. You could write a book about the implications this has and how it undermines the benefits open source normally provides.

        Less hostile to develop for: not a chance. Yes, Apple have the ultimate say-so on what's allowed on the App Store. Yes, that's a big deal. But with Android, you have to contend with thousands of different models, each with their own shitty customisations that break things. We deployed an application last week for Android. It was finished weeks beforehand for iOS. Despite only having to target three recent Android tablets (it was an in-house project), each tablet was broken in different ways. iOS development is a breeze by comparison.

        The problem with producing applications for the iPhone is Apple's policies. That's not a development obstacle, that's a policy issue. As we are a digital agency, all this really means for us is that we can say "Apple won't allow that" to clients when they ask for us to do something that Apple won't allow. And you know what? 99% of the time, it's when the client is asking for us to do something user-hostile.

        The problem with producing applications for Android is development. The client asks for the feature, there's no intrinsic reason why it can't be done, but in practice you find that what should work and what does work on various devices differs radically.

        Then there's the upgrade issue. I've done a lot of web development. Android is the Internet Explorer 6 of the mobile world. Masses of people don't upgrade, and more than a quarter of Android users are still on Gingerbread, released almost three years ago [android.com]. It takes less than a year for about 95% of iOS users to upgrade to the latest version.

        This isn't just a developer problem, it's a user problem as well. When I bought my last Android phone, it was a flagship Sony phone shipped with 2.3 that they had committed to upgrading to 4.0. That's the only reason I gave in and stayed with Android. The promise that I might actually stay up to date for once. Sure enough, they broke that promise. But they dragged it out for a year saying that they would do it. Meanwhile, the version of Android I was stuck on had a bug that rendered my SIP phone line useless.

        You lose features too. Remember when OTA upgrades were an advantage over iOS? The year before iOS added that feature, I got an Android upgrade that took that feature away. It was a shitty vendor customisation. I had to use a buggy desktop application that crashed my computer to upgrade Android. When I switched vendors? Same thing, but with a completely different buggy desktop application.

        Android's a mess. It was a mess for the fours years I was using it, with every single handset I tried, as I was hoping in vain for it to get better. It never got better, in fact the problems with the platform became more numerous over time. It's "openness" is an illusion and is not going to fix the problems it faces.

        I disli

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspAm.world3.net> on Saturday November 09, 2013 @07:47AM (#45376537) Homepage

          Open: Android is "open" in the "open cathedral" sense. It's very difficult to just jump in, make a few alterations, and see the changes running on your device.

          Wait, are you an app developer or an OS developer? Most app developers don't try to patch the OS. At least on Android you can submit patches, on iOS there is no way to do that. AOSP isn't hard to interact with, compared to say the Linux kernel or BSD.

          Yes, Apple have the ultimate say-so on what's allowed on the App Store. Yes, that's a big deal.

          Apple can make you waste vast amount of money developing something only for it to be blocked, and then copied by Apple themselves. That's more than a big deal. It's hard to get projects approved when managers see this happening.

          But with Android, you have to contend with thousands of different models, each with their own shitty customisations that break things.

          Only if you are a terrible programmer. Like most operating systems Android runs on multiple platforms and offers stable APIs to interact with that hardware. Just like you wouldn't design your Windows or Linux app to run at 800x600 and then get upset when people find it looks crap on their 1920x1200 monitor you should not be developing Android apps that are tailored to specific hardware.

          Can you provide any concrete examples of standard Android API functions that are broken on popular Android devices? The worst I have seen is some flaky Bluetooth drivers, but those are down to the phone manufacturer in the same way you wouldn't call Windows broken because Dell ship broken drivers with some of their computers.

          99% of the time, it's when the client is asking for us to do something user-hostile.

          You mean like develop an alternative HTML rendering engine, or set up their own app/book/music/video store, or write a better SMS messaging system, or port their keyboard from Android, or some nefarious scheme like that?

          Masses of people don't upgrade, and more than a quarter of Android users are still on Gingerbread, released almost three years ago.

          31% of desktops are still running Windows XP, which was released in 2002. Of course that doesn't tell the whole story. .NET 4 is available for Windows XP, just like how many of the newer features in Android are available via non-OS updates that everyone gets via Play.

          This really isn't the big issue crap programmers make it out to be. The API is stable, it's easy to deal with the differences and if a feature isn't available in Gingerbread there probably isn't any point trying to hack around it because devices of that age won't support it anyway. Can you point to any specific functions that have caused you problems, or is this just a general rant?

          It takes less than a year for about 95% of iOS users to upgrade to the latest version.

          Yes, and now you get complaints that your app is dog slow because the OS runs like a dog on older hardware, but users were not clever enough to block the update and can't downgrade.

          It was a shitty vendor customisation.

          Simple solution, don't buy from shitty vendors. Really, your argument is that once you bought a gas hob cooker and it was awful, leaked gas and eventually exploded burning your house down, therefore all gas hob cookers are shit and electric induction is the only way to go.

          I dislike the controlling attitude of Apple and I dislike how much power they have in the mobile market.

          No, you love it. You want your hand held. You want everyone to have a practically forced OS update with no downgrades, even if it makes their phone terribly slow. You want strictly controlled hardware and no choice about it so that you don't have to use your brain when writing apps.

          • by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday November 09, 2013 @09:42AM (#45376925)

            Open: Android is "open" in the "open cathedral" sense. It's very difficult to just jump in, make a few alterations, and see the changes running on your device.

            Wait, are you an app developer or an OS developer?

            I'm not talking about the technical difficulty in writing a patch. I'm talking about the difficulty in applying a patch in practical terms. If I want to, say, modify my Xperia Pro so that a particular application that is useless to me isn't forcibly bundled, it's far more difficult than it should be.

            Apple can make you waste vast amount of money developing something only for it to be blocked, and then copied by Apple themselves. That's more than a big deal. It's hard to get projects approved when managers see this happening.

            I deal with people who commission apps on a regular basis. Unless the entire concept of an application is forbidden by Apple (e.g. porn), it's never been a deal breaker.

            But with Android, you have to contend with thousands of different models, each with their own shitty customisations that break things.

            Only if you are a terrible programmer. Like most operating systems Android runs on multiple platforms and offers stable APIs to interact with that hardware.

            Which means nothing when vendors customise the implementations of those APIs and break them. It's all very well saying that, say, the API to draw a control on screen is the same across all devices, but if one device draws the control and another doesn't bother, that's kind of a problem.

            Can you provide any concrete examples of standard Android API functions that are broken on popular Android devices?

            I don't remember the full details, but the most egregious problem we had was that radio buttons simply weren't showing up on one device. At all. On another device, the rendering was completely fucked in some way, something like being a tenth of the size they should be or something. The code was right, and the application worked just fine on most of our test devices. But on some, they simply didn't work right due to vendor customisations.

            99% of the time, it's when the client is asking for us to do something user-hostile.

            You mean like develop an alternative HTML rendering engine, or set up their own app/book/music/video store, or write a better SMS messaging system, or port their keyboard from Android, or some nefarious scheme like that?

            Let's be straight here: I'm describing what Apple's policies mean for us in practice, and I'm reporting what clients actually ask us to do. You are scraping everything you can think of that Apple has ever rejected together. I'm sure there are lots of business plans that have fallen by the wayside in the five years Apple have been running the App Store. But that doesn't mean that they are a significant percentage of the apps people actually want to create.

            No client has ever asked us to develop an alternative HTML rendering engine. Why would they? Besides, Apple don't have a problem with an alternative HTML rendering engine.

            No client has ever asked us to set up their own app store. There are book stores on the App Store already, there's no rule against having a book/music/video store.

            Alternative SMS messaging systems aren't against Apple's rules. I've got one on my phone right now.

            No client has ever asked us to replace part of the system like a keyboard. If you have an application that needs a custom keyboard, you can implement one for your application, but you can't replace the keyboard in other people's applications.

            When I say that the things clients ask us to do are things that are user-hostile, I'm talking about things like hookin

            • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspAm.world3.net> on Saturday November 09, 2013 @06:04PM (#45379417) Homepage

              If I want to, say, modify my Xperia Pro so that a particular application that is useless to me isn't forcibly bundled, it's far more difficult than it should be.

              That has nothing to do with Android and everything to do with Sony not wanting you to modify their proprietary ROM images. Also, how is it any worse than iOS which provides no mechanism at all?

              Which means nothing when vendors customise the implementations of those APIs and break them.

              Can you point to a specific example of a vendor doing this? I don't know of any. In fact one of the requirements of shipping a device with "Android" on it (as opposed to some custom OS that can't be called "Android", like the Kindle Fire OS) is that you don't break the standard APIs. There wouldn't really be any point doing that anyway as you would just get complains that apps don't work on your phone.

              On another device, the rendering was completely fucked in some way, something like being a tenth of the size they should be or something.

              Definitely sounds like a problem with your code, The Android Compatibility Test Suite checks for things like incorrect rendering settings when using the standard APIs, and vendors are required to use it if they want to use the Android trademark. Otherwise it's not Android, it's their own concoction.

              No, not everyone gets via Play. You're confusing Play with Android. You don't have to license Play to deploy Android.

              99% of Android devices have Play. Those that don't are almost all locked down by the manufacturer so you can't install any 3rd party apps other than the ones on their own market anyway, so are irrelevant to you.

              You are repeatedly insinuating that we are crap developers simply because I am pointing out problems with Android.

              No, I'm insinuating you are crap developers because you think there are problems with Android when in fact they are problems with your code or it wasn't even Android you were running on. You might want to think about that.

              What are the non-shitty Android vendors? Because I was buying flagship phones with good reviews from mainstream vendors like Sony.

              Sony are kinda shitty, especially with updates. They have tried to do better lately, but it remains to be seen if they have really made progress.

              Obviously Google's devices are the best if you have a boner for running the latest version. Being a developer those would be the ones to go for. If you can stand to wait a few months for point releases Samsung are pretty good too.

              Which Google phone did you have? What are you claiming was wrong with it?

              Once you stop arguing against what I am saying, and put words in my mouth that are the opposite of what I believe, there really isn't much discussion to be had.

              I was pointing out that you say you don't like Apple's policies, but prior to that complained about all the things you think are wrong with Android that stem from not having those policies. Devices don't always run the latest version of the OS because Google doesn't force vendors to release it for all current models and then ban downgrades. You complain about hardware variations because Google doesn't mandate one hardware platform with no variations. You seem to be saying that everything you "hate" about Apple's control over iOS is what makes it superior to Android, and that you think it is a good thing.

    • Well what are we comparing here price or performance?

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Friday November 08, 2013 @10:17PM (#45374911) Journal
    They are both very nice phones. There. I said it.
    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      They are very nice phones. One gives much better performance for the money, but both are nice. Of course, one runs an open OS and the other is controlled very tightly. Choose based on your needs.

      • Yes, wonderfully open. Open to Google who gets to peer into your shorts and your soul.

        Unless you root the thing and put Cynogen on your device (if you can) you're merely switching gardens. The number of people interested and capable of doing so are well in the noise floor.

      • by symbolset (646467) *

        I chose the N5 personally - I'm well invested in Android apps, and it automatically re-installs the apps I use with their data. But I do see why people like the iPhone. My daughters prefer it.

        I wonder if the benchmarks enabled ART [androidpolice.com] though. I'm enabling the new ART runtime on mine and will report back if the numbers are significantly different from the article. It takes a while to enable ART if you have a lot of apps...

        At this level though the benchmarks seem ridiculous. Both phones have the power and

        • by symbolset (646467) *

          Ice Storm Extreme benchmark on N5 with ART reports "Maxed Out! This test is too light for your device. Try running Ice Storm Unlimited instead." The only other device with this score is iPad Air. Ice Storm Unlimited reports Ice Storm score 16943. Details:

          • Graphics: 17854
          • Physics: 14376
          • Graphics 1: 91.5 FPS
          • Graphics 2: 67.4 FPS
          • Physics: 45.6 FPS
          • Demo 0 FPS

          The other devices reported are Kindle Fire HDX 7, Acer Liquid S2, NVIDIA Shield and Pantech Vega LTE-A. The differences between these are not signif

          • by symbolset (646467) *
            BTW: with the score I got this: "Good news! This is one of the most powerful devices around and everything seems to be working normally."
        • by symbolset (646467) *
          N5 with ART, GFXBench 2.7.2 reports for 2.5 Egypt HD Onscreen: 5727 - 51 FPS. With a *. This is a pretty amazing score for a mobile device.
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Friday November 08, 2013 @10:20PM (#45374917)

    Qualcomm's latest Krait 400 quad-core along with the Adreno 330 GPU that comprise the Snapdragon 800, is a powerful beast.

    If they had not focused much on the specs, but rather on battery life that can last a day of average use, I'd be happier. I ask my self: -

    "Of what use is having the"latest and greatest if by mid-afternoon, I will be holding a brick in hand?

    This is what I do to these good phones that are limited in the battery department. I underclock them with acceptable results.

    By the way: Can one explain to me how Motorola was able to cram a 3000mAH into a phone smaller than this but Google and its LG partner cannot?

    • by NeoMorphy (576507)

      The LG G2 has a 3000mAH battery, so I am assuming it's an issue of keeping the cost down.

    • by iONiUM (530420)

      It would seem, the mAH doesn't seem to matter: KitKat (and presumably, with ART as well, as people have reported, but not the example I'm about to cite) have improved battery performance immensely. Here is one example of many [google.com].

      Personally, I am getting 4 hours screen-on with 16 hours standby, and still have 15% battery left, using Dalvik, Google now (all options on), WiFi+LTE (but GPS and bluetooth off), which is more than acceptable IMO and great.

      So maybe, much like the CPU MHz, we should stop concentrating

    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      I have yet to see real battery benchmarks but Google is claiming 17 hours of talk time and 300 hours of standby. If the phone gets even half that it's going to have better battery life than any device released in the last 7 years.

      • by smash (1351)

        Lol. The talk time metric is so outdated now. Hands up who uses their phone for voice more than anything else? Anyone? Bueller?

        Thought not.

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      Qualcomm's latest Krait 400 quad-core along with the Adreno 330 GPU that comprise the Snapdragon 800, is a powerful beast.

      If they had not focused much on the specs, but rather on battery life that can last a day of average use, I'd be happier. I ask my self: -

      "Of what use is having the"latest and greatest if by mid-afternoon, I will be holding a brick in hand?

      This is what I do to these good phones that are limited in the battery department. I underclock them with acceptable results.

      By the way: Can one explain to me how Motorola was able to cram a 3000mAH into a phone smaller than this but Google and its LG partner cannot?

      My N5 has been off the charger for 15 hours, I used it off and on today for Pandora streaming and web browsing, texting, and email, and the battery is down to 58%. What are you using the phone for that it won't last a day?

  • ... something better than my old HTC 3G EVO that runs latest android for a decent price? I'm switching to Ting and don't mind buying behind the curve, but it's not easy to get something at the same budget I'm used to when I get the phone(s) mostly subsidized from Sprint. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong review sites to find a peppy cheap android.
    • by hawguy (1600213)

      ... something better than my old HTC 3G EVO that runs latest android for a decent price? I'm switching to Ting and don't mind buying behind the curve, but it's not easy to get something at the same budget I'm used to when I get the phone(s) mostly subsidized from Sprint. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong review sites to find a peppy cheap android.

      Last I heard, Ting was waiting to see if Sprint would let them activate the Google Play Nexus 5's, or if they could only activate ones bought from Sprint or from Ting.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Friday November 08, 2013 @11:52PM (#45375263)

    We ran Sunspider (1.0.2).

    The iPhone 5S (and a Nokia Lumia 920) pasted my Nexus 5 on Sunspider. Both were about twice as fast as the Nexus 5.

    I like the Nexus 5, it's very snappy. But when using it, it doesn't feel faster than a 5S.

    The N5 is a heck of a value.

    Now, about the awful pictures it takes... Is there any chance a better camera app (which also sucks) can improve them some?

  • And one with private parts possessing a particularly desirable physical attribute.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have owned iPhones since the iPhone4. I currently own the iPhone 5. My wife owns the Nexus 5. I can tell you that there is *** NO LAG *** on either the Nexus 5 or the iPhone 5. They are equally fast, both very smooth and instantaneous response times. Both phones are very, very sweet.

    The iPhone 5 presentation is slightly nicer, but for the price??? The Nexus 5 is king. There is NO comparison. When you consider the cost difference, Apple gets kicked to the curb.

    My initial thoughts? I love the new I

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