The iPhone is still the king in graphics performance (but for a matter of pixels)

¿Quién gana si enfrentamos un Snapdragon 810 contra un Samsung Exynos 7?

Although the distance has been shortening, the graphic performance of the iPhone has always stood out from the high end of Android. In a world addicted to playing with the mobile phone, this is an important point; but the GPU is not only for games: graphics acceleration also enters the cloth when loading the CSS of a web page or in the system’s animations.

The iPhone is still the king in graphics performance (but for a matter of pixels)
The iPhone is still the king in graphics performance (but for a matter of pixels)

How does the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus GPU measure up to the next generation of Android? Apple Insider has compared the iPhone benchmarks with the Samsung Galaxy S6 results, and speaks of the “poor performance” of the Galaxy . Looking at the numbers, our conclusions are a little more modest.

Benchmarks and 2K resolution

Samsung has put all its eggs in the basket with the Galaxy S6; not only because of that twist in design language and finishes, but also because of the power of the bug: it’s the first global launch with the eight-core SoC Exynos 7 and features the latest technology in RAM and flash. But what about when you compare it in terms of graphics performance with iPhone 6? That the Apple phone manages to bend it… Why?

iPhone 6 has a 1334-by-750 Retina panel and iPhone 6 Plus has a resolution scaled to 1920-by-1080 pixels. For the Galaxy S6, Samsung opted for a QHD panel (2540 × 1440), i.e. a 2K resolution. The difference for the GPU is abysmal and that’s why the iPhone comes out much better in the benchmarks. But only at native resolution.

Native resolution (onscreen) graphics performance

The Galaxy’s Mali-T760 GPU would offer the best results on the market if Samsung hadn’t put so many pixels on a 5.1-inch screen, but they preferred to mount their best SuperAMOLED. We can see it clearly by including the HTC One M9 in the comparison: the M9 has a Snapdragon 810 chipset with the Adreno 430 GPU (the “standards” of the market in 2015), but it has a 1080p panel. Both the HTC and the iPhone outperform the Galaxy S6 by a long way when they all run at their screen resolution:

Graphics performance at 1080p (offscreen)

The results are reversed with the test offscreen , i.e. with the benchmark running at 1080p. In this case, the Galaxy’s GPU stands out by one head, and now the iPhone 6 Plus performs somewhat better than the iPhone 6 (the latter’s native resolution is less than 1080p). Meanwhile, the HTC One M9 shows that Qualcomm’s latest addition is a match for the Apple A8 :

As a corollary, it’s clear that the iPhone 6 GPU couldn’t move a 2K panel that easily.

A couple of considerations

  • OpenGL is the standard for mobile game development, however Apple offers Metal, a much more powerful API than OpenGL because it allows developers to work at a lower level. The GFXBench benchmark does not use Metal.
  • When it comes down to it, the resolution that matters is the native one: it is the one that determines the graphic performance in the most normal situations. However, many games work at lower resolutions and then resize the image.

In Xataka

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