Galaxy Nexus & Ice Cream Sandwich: Initial Performance Analysisby Anand Lal Shimpi on November 18, 2011 11:42 PM EST
The road to Google's Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is finally nearing its destination. As of yesterday, the Samsung made Galaxy Nexus went on sale in the UK. Its arrival in the US on Verizon is imminent, but it'll still be another couple of weeks before we can get our hands on a CDMA/LTE sample.
The Galaxy Nexus hardware platform isn't a significant departure from what we've already seen on Android. TI was chosen as the launch silicon partner with its OMAP 4460. The SoC takes a pair of Cortex A9 CPUs running at 1.2GHz and gives them a dual-channel LPDDR2 memory interface to talk to. The GPU is Imagination Technologies' PowerVR SGX 540. The CPU side of things is comparable to Apple's A5, although the cores are clocked noticeably higher than the 800MHz we saw in the iPhone 4S. Until Tegra 3 and Krait show up, the CPU side of the 4460 is as good as it gets.
The real advantage the Galaxy Nexus has is on the software side. All of the goodness of Honeycomb makes its way to a handset along with even further optimization work. One of the early Galaxy Nexus owners ran the usual browser benchmarks on his phone and shared the results with us. Google has obviously done a lot of browser optimization in ICS as performance is now better than even Honeycomb:
The GPU in the Galaxy Nexus isn't bad by any means - the SGX 540 is competent, but it is outgunned by ARM's Mali 400 (Samsung Exynos 4210) and the SGX 543MP2 (Apple A5). As I mentioned earlier, the Galaxy Nexus wasn't about putting the fastest hardware in a phone but rather providing a stable vehicle for Ice Cream Sandwich. Results for the Galaxy Nexus have been in the GLBenchmark database for a while and show an overall improvement over previous SGX 540 implementations (the GPU clock in the 4460 is higher than in the 4430):
Performance is pretty much as expected in both areas: Google really pushed the performance of its software further with Ice Cream Sandwich, while GPU performance is limited by the SGX 540. The good news is that there's more than enough hardware at ICS' disposal to deliver a smooth experience. We'll be able to quantify that once we get our hands on a device.
Source: GLBenchmark, @SigThief
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jacknhut - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - linkEdit: Oops not Nexus S, I mean Galaxy Nexus my bad.
staryoshi - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - linkI was very interested in the Nexus until it was delayed beyond my required time frame... Now I'll just hold out for Tegra 3 smartphones like the HTC Edge. I should learn to program for Tegra anyway :)
stsh0502 - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - linkI would hold my breath on any HTC phone having a Tegra 3 or any processor not made by Qualcomm
itpromike - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - linkYou are incorrect about that. Both phones were tested rendering Graphics at 1024x768 which also happens to be the same native screen resolution as the Galaxy Nexus. Essentially the iPhone 4S beats the Galaxy Nexus at it's own game(s) (Pun slightly intended). The iPhone 4S perform even better once bench marked at it's own native resolution. FYI the Graphic chip that's in the Galaxy Nexus is 2 years old and interestingly enough is the same GPU as the original iPhone4... so it's a bit behind. Nice phone though, just lacking on cutting edge performance in some areas.
eallan - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - linkHow do you figure that's the nexus's native resolution?
tipoo - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - linkNot true. The iPhone 4 used the 535, not the 540, and the 540 in the Galaxy Nexus is clocked higher than the 540 in the Nexus S you're probably thinking of, and looking at the benchmarks you can see its easily double the speed of the original 540, don't be fooled by a name. Not as fast as the 543MP2 of course, but its not the same old 540 either.
ananduser - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - linkMac faithful Josh Topolsky of The Verge(hot new tech site) had very good words about this device in his review. And coming from him it must really be good. He rated with 10 both the performance and hardware aspects of this device.
vision33r - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - linkJosh is hardly a Mac guy, more Windows guy. Since he sees an average 3-4 Android devices on a given month. It's hard to give any device a 10 and this is the 1st device to earn that mark.
augustofretes - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - linkJosh is a Windows guy? Sorry, you clearly don't know Josh. He once said "Windows 7 is like poison to me, seriously... what's so great about Windows, come on, tell me one thing it does better than Mac OS X?". But, he's not a fanboy, he said in the same day "No, no, I'm talking about Windows Desktop, Windows Phone 7 is great, and Windows 8 could be great".
jbwhite99 - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - linkI'm not a big gamer - if I wanted to play shoot 'em up games, that's what XBOX, etc are for. What I am more interested in is CPU - and it sounds like this is (for now) the best choice. I agree - would curious to see how the Qualcomm 1.5 Dual (I believe) in the Rezound performs, but thanks for the chart, Anand. I am just hopeful that Verizon at Brier Creek will be giving these phones out tomorrow - my OG Droid is on its last legs.