During the last week, GameBench published an interesting report after comparing the respective performances of the Galaxy S6, the iPhone 6, the HTC One M9 and the Nexus 6 on their benchmark tool. The aim of the study was to compare not only the performance of the four smartphones through ten pretty popular games, but also those of the two OS.
If officially Gamebench is available only on Android, the company disposes also an iOS version to compare the relative performance of the four smartphones with a list of ten games, which some of them are quite greedy, these games are: Asphalt 8 Real Racing 3, Dead Trigger 2, Kill Shot, Boom Beach, XCOM: Enemy Within, GTA: San Andreas, Modern Combat 5, Marvel: Contest of Champions and Monument Valley.
As we can be read in the full version of the report of Gamebench, the benchmark is about playing each of the 10 games on the four phones for fifteen minutes to measure three different values: The number of frames per second more commonly called the Median FPS, the minimum FPS which is the minimum of frames displayed per second when slowing down, and the stability index which allows to observe any slowdowns. A methodology, in theory, that seems to be pretty reliable to approximate the real performance of the phones when playing games.
When observing the synthetic results of Galaxy S6, iPhone 6, HTC One M9 and Nexus 6 on all ten tests, we see, without difficulty, that latest flagship of Apple leads the way with an average framerate of 42 FPS. In second place, there is the latest Samsung with 36 FPS while the HTC One and the Nexus 6 M9 arrive tied with 34 FPS. Moreover, the iPhone 6, is one with the best stability index.
However, if the iPhone 6 arrives first on the majority of games, there are nevertheless some exceptions especially with Asphalt 8 where the HTC One M9 is placed in first position and well ahead the three competitors. For its part, the Galaxy S6 is first on Kill Shot and Real Racing 3.
Android devices limited by their screen resolution?
Unlike some benchmarks that take place “offscreen”, Gamebench is done with the monitor on. Knowing that the Retina HD screen of the iPhone 6 displays a definition of 1334 × 750 pixels against 2560 x 1440 pixels for the Galaxy S6 Nexus 6, while the HTC One M9 comes with a full HD 1080p screen, it is understandable that it comes first on some games.
However, this factor can not alone explain the superiority of Apple’s latest flagship on Gamebench tests. As it is precised in the original report, all Android and iOS games are not executed according to the native resolution of the devices. Real Racing 3, for example, never runs Quad HD. However, the games running in full resolution on the Galaxy S6 can potentially reduce scores against the iPhone 6.
Some games are limited to 30 fps
Gamebench highlights a reality that we could not have imagined at first. Some games are artificially capped at 30 FPS but only certain devices limit their performances while some competing smartphones take advantage.This is particularly the case of Asphalt 8 on the Galaxy S6 which would probably have got a better score without the 30 FPS restriction. This is also the case of the iPhone 6 on Real Racing 3 where the device arrived only third.
Generally, six of the ten tested games were capped on Android. A decision made by both manufacturers who seek to limit overheating but also by developers who need to ensure that their games run smoothly on all devices. And it is even more complex when it comes to Android, given the number of terminals in the Google OS.