Is your smartphone underperforming?

Sometimes it feels like your phone takes ages to load your Facebook Timeline. Switching between apps may be as smooth as running hurdles, your screen responding to your touch only after some very persistent tapping or even worse: your phone just disconnects from you all together by switching off all on its own accord.

Things that make you wonder: maybe it’s time for a new phone. Now there are lots of reasons why your phone may slow down or behave in unpredictable ways. Over time you have collected numerous apps that just sit there taking up memory space, even while you never use them. Your photo library has grown to Jurassic proportions, and you have allowed many of your apps to perform all sorts of tasks in the background, using up much of your processor capacity.

Rigorous benchmark test

So maybe it’s not the phone that’s slowly withering away in your loving hands and instead there’s nothing more to it than some long overdue housekeeping. The only way to know, is by putting your phone through a rigorous benchmark test.

Both the App Store and Google Play offer several good apps for benchmarking your Android and iOS devices. Out of many, we chose one that works for both operating systems, based on the criteria that it should be free and have a substantial number of verifiable 4 and 5-star reviews on multiple independent platforms.

Vast benchmark database

In short, benchmark apps put your phone through several sets of relevant tasks involving 3D graphics processing, multithreaded operations, multitasking, simulated user interaction and memory read/write commands. We picked AnTuTu Benchmark, as it’s one of the first benchmarkers around. It has a vast database of previously tested devices, giving you solid averages for each model that has ever been released. After all, a benchmark is not worth the badge if there’s insufficient data to compare to.

Hardware specific tests

AnTuTu Benchmark works on tablets as well as smartphones, so this app literally works for any Android or iOS device. We tested three devices of various types and ages.

  •       Brand-new Samsung Galaxy S9
  •       Six months old iPhone X
  •       Two-year-old iPhone 6s Plus

The app recognises each device and adjusts the tests automatically to suit the specific hardware configuration.

The fun part of this otherwise rather serious exercise are the 3D movies the app renders for measuring graphics performance. We see an alien spaceship that has crashed into what looks to be a power station or oil refinery. Another time we’re on a rocky beach, gazing at the breathtaking scenery. Or we take a night stroll through a futuristic, colourful landscape.

Comparing results

Testing the user experience AnTuTu conjures up fictional apps that seem to come alive all by themselves, as if some invisible user is operating your phone. The entire testing cycle takes around seven minutes to complete, before presenting you with the performance data of your device. Obviously, the higher the number, the better it is.

For each device, the app has an average score of thousands and thousands of tests for that same model.

Compared to those results, our AnTuTu test show these models’ performance:

– Samsung Galaxy S9 – On par

– iPhone X – Over par

– iPhone 6S Plus – Slightly under par

For the iPhone 6S Plus it’s what you would expect. After all, the device has been used for over two years, so at least some wear and tear are to be expected. But the result actually isn’t that bad at all, scoring 86% of its standard capacity.

The iPhone X however, being heavily used for over half a year, scores higher than the brand-new Galaxy S9. Not only relative to its standard performance, but also absolutely, boasting an impressive score of 241.608 points, beating the Samsung by 145 points.

To replace, or not to replace

So, what are we to conclude after half an hour of testing and comparing? That the iPhone X is a winner, for sure. And that the Galaxy lives up to its standard, which must be re-assuring for Android adepts. But most notably, we think, is that our iPhone 6S Plus, that seemed to be slowing down significantly, is not in half as bad a shape as we thought. Nothing that some proper tidying won’t fix.

If you’re not the type that’s always in need of the latest model, AnTuTu is a perfect tool to help you decide when the time has come to start considering replacement. And once you do, it’s good to keep in mind that a premium refurbished version of your current phone, is just as fast as yours used to be when you first took it out of the box. Just considerably less expensive, and not nearly as taxing on the environment.

More information about AnTuTu Benchmark.