Not long ago, aesthetics played an important role in what phone you chose. These days, practically every smartphone out there is a simple slab of glass. The fit and finish are about the only appreciable aesthetic qualities there are to judge in a phone until you turn it on. After that, it just comes down to how well the phone performs and how good the screen is. How do you judge how well a model performs?
It can be difficult to judge a phone’s performance by its specifications. Just as with computers, processor speeds are very difficult to help judge what your user experience will be like. A cheap no-name phone with a 1.2 GHz dual core processor can be irritatingly slow and a well-made 800 MHz single processor phone can offer a satisfying user experience. The way a phone is designed to use its processor cycles can make all the difference.
What you need then is a way to benchmark a phone – an objective way to test your phone for performance and compare it to a reasonable standard.
What to benchmark
Smartphones are much like small computers – they have most of the components that computers do (even if these are mostly parts built into one chip). You should go about benchmarking a phone, then, just as you would a computer. You need to test the processor, the graphics processor, the storage, the RAM and so on.
The tools to use
There are several well-respected Android benchmarking tools available on the Google Play Store. These are free, too. AnTuTu System Benchmark and CF Bench are all-round benchmarking tools that test your phone’s CPU, GPU, storage and RAM. These all-in-one apps are a good first step to take when benchmarking your phone. Once you have a general idea of how your phone performs on the whole, you can turn your attention to specialized apps that test the components of your phone.
An3DBenchXL is a great app to benchmark your graphics processor with. It runs your GPU through its paces, creating textures, vertex shading and other visual processes at high resolution. You get to compare the results you get to the way other phones score.
Testing the browser
With all these tools in hand, you should be able to cut through the hype and really focus on whether your phone is really worth the asking price.