Samsung was caught red-handed more than once last year as reviewers repeatedly discovered evidence that the company’s phones and tablets were artificially boosting benchmark scores. Although Samsung was the primary culprit, other popular brands were found to be using similar CPU optimization to skirt around legitimate results, but based on the latest tests, the biggest name in Android seems to have cleaned up its act once and for all.
Ars Technica started with a Galaxy S4 and a Galaxy Note 3, both running Android 4.3, to perform the benchmark tests once again. As expected, the processors immediately jumped to their respective maximum speeds as soon as a benchmark app was opened. Once the phones were updated to Android 4.4, everything changed:
“After applying the KitKat update, none of the apps behave any differently from any other application,” writes Ars Technica’s Andrew Cunningham. “Most of the time, the CPU cores are running at lower frequencies, and individual cores are often turned off. While running the tests, the CPUs approach their maximum clock speeds but are allowed to fluctuate as they would under actual use rather than staying artificially inflated.”
When AnandTech published its comprehensive report last October, the expectation was that “this is all going to get a lot worse before it gets better,” but Samsung appears to have taken the criticism to heart. We’ll see if other OEMs follow suit in the future.