Every day we come across comments like, “Wow, my device got this much score in ‘XYZ’ benchmark app” across various social media platforms. Most of us have tried these apps to get an idea about the performance of our device. Should you be worried about these scores, shown to you by these apps? No. Here’s why.

Most benchmarking apps out there, only test the raw performance of your device. They just run for a pre-defined time or employs a series of tasks to measure ‘performance’. These scores don’t matter in daily life. You won’t be using your phone for a pre-defined time or give a limited number of tasks to perform. In real life, your device will start to throttle when it starts to heat. Due to this, overall performance of your device reduces. Reducing the clock speed of your processor so as to keep the heat under control is known as throttling. All phones throttle and most of the benchmarking apps doesn’t consider this scenario during their tests. In short, a device with a higher benchmark score may perform poorly than the device with a lower benchmark score while executing a task for a long period of time.

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Screenshot of Antutu score of one of our Redmi Note 5 Pro units,an instance where the benchmark app was easily fooled

For example, you download a new graphics intensive game from the Google Play Store. You are really excited to try out this cool game everyone is talking about. You fire up the app and breeze through the tutorials to play the game. Five minutes into the game and you start to see stutters and frame drops which is ruining your experience. You are mad that, your phone with a high score in benchmarking apps is not able to keep up. Many of us have experienced this stutters and frame drops while doing some task in our smartphones. This is due to the’ throttling’ we mentioned earlier. A smartphone with a high benchmark score and poor thermal management can ruin your smartphone experience. So make sure to get a device with good thermal management the next time, instead of going for high benchmark scores.

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Also recently, it has to come to light that many smartphone manufacturers lock your device at a higher clock speed while running a benchmarking app to get higher scores. Basically, they don’t throttle your device while you are running a benchmarking app and runs the device on the ‘Performance Governor’. This might cause the device to heat up, but it will get a high score in these benchmark tests. Many famous smartphone manufacturers have been caught red-handed for cheating in benchmarks. The moral of the story being ‘Take these scores with a pinch of salt’.

So how would you know about the performance of the device you are going to buy? Ask people out there who have personally used it or owns it. Only real life opinions matter. Also referring to some good technology blogs to get a rough idea of the device and its performance is a good option. Do a little research before falling for the marketing tricks of smartphone companies!

Mihran Thalhath
A Computer Science Engineer with a serious crush on Android. He has been working on custom ROMs and custom kernels for the Android devices he use and have contributed a lot to the community. He is the go-to-guy for anything and everything related to Android.

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