Samsung Galaxy S6 saddled with poor graphics performance vs. Apple iPhone 6/Plus

“While boasting an ‘Octa Core’ Application Processor and an extremely high resolution display, Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 falls flat in running GPU intensive apps and games — particularly in comparison to Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus,” Daniel Eran Dilger reports for AppleInsider.

“The first benchmarks showing off the actual performance users will get from the new Galaxy S6 highlight that Samsung appears to still be making poor engineering choices, and that the conventional wisdom about Samsung’s advantages in operating its own chip design and fab are also wrong,” Dilger reports. “By pushing resolution numbers so fast (and without any regard for whether having more pixels actually makes a discernible, qualitative difference), Samsung has pushed screen technology ahead of its own processor capabilities, resulting in extremely poor performance in high definition.”

“In terms of fps, the latest benchmarks show that Samsung’s new ‘Exynos 7’ powered Galaxy S6 drops down to 15 fps — just 78 percent of the framerate of iPhone 6 Plus in the same test,” Dilger reports. “Of course, at the same time there are also a variety of other Android devices with the same 1080p resolution as iPhone 6 Plus, and they don’t score as well either. That’s a fact we earlier blamed on Google’s Android, particularly its shoddy implementation of OpenGL that squanders the capabilities of faster chips with more cores and more available RAM.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The fools at Samsung are so obtuse that they waste copious amounts of time pumping eleventy billion extra meaningless pixels that the human eye can’t even see in a desperate and quixotic quest to win some spec sheet shootout that they think matters, but really doesn’t. Meanwhile, what’s left of their users – Apple owns the vast majority of high-end smartphone share – suffer with inferior wares as usual.

It’s not just hardware. It’s not just software. It’s both complimenting each other. And Samsung simply can’t compete.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dominick P.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Wired: Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge is pointless – March 26, 2015
Significant Android to iPhone switching weakens market for Samsung Galaxy S6 – March 24, 2015
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 design looks like another iPhone knockoff – February 4, 2015


  1. Since the knowledge about the proper engineering of video is out there for all to see in the engineering world, the question arises as to why Samsung does this?

    My opinion is that the CEO of Samsung’s Android/smart phone division is NOT a designer and does not respect engineers and designers. The designers & engineers know the specs.

    In other words, the CEO treats the designers and engineers like trolls in the boiler room, shouting orders at them.

  2. I’m an Apple fan through and through but I don’t like misleading articles and misleading journalism no matter who it favors… These tests are all running on screen tests. The Galaxy S6 has more than twice the resolution of the iPhone 6 so it’s pushing more than twice the pixels for each test – of course it’s going to have lower frames; the GPU is doing much more work. Conversely in all the off screen tests which are tests that force both GPU’s to render at the same resolution the S6 has the lead by a LARGE margin. Now this isn’t to say that Apple’s chip designs are pack leaders, because we all know they are. I fully expect the next iPhone to mop the floor with this Galaxy line (it does every year so history can be our marker on this one). But this current test is misleading at best. It’s an Apples to oranges test and this reporting is especially slimy considering the Apples to Apples test using the same resolution has the S6 in a LARGE lead.

      1. That’s not necessarily true, I’ve prefaced my remarks (recently) that might seem anti-Apple by stating my Apple preference first and foremost so it won’t seem like a trolls remark. What you’re saying is your damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

      2. So you’re saying a fan welcomes the misrepresentation of information but facts are for trolls? Got it mate. Thanks for the update. For a minute I thought true fans supported a company even when the new guy comes out with something that’s slightly better – instead of needing to make up or perpetuate made up stories to make them feel better about the company they support.

        See I’m a real Apple fan. I can acknowledge when their gear might not be the fastest at X and still prefer their gear based on the whole package. I don’t need false truths to defend them… Their track record of defining product categories and shattering sales records and customer satisfaction records speak for themselves. But I digress… All this adult speak must be difficult for you. Carry on with your 12 year quips and “troll” laden responses.

      3. Whoosh. Paul was being sarcastic, folks, pointing out how often people say what big fans of Apple they are right before making a poorly-reasoned argument that criticizes Apple.

        The criticism of Samsung here is not the theoretical capability to push pixels. The criticism IS that in actual use by actual people, the Samsung phone performs more poorly in ways that can be noticed by the user. If you have more pixels that can’t really be noticed, but (due to those extra pixels) noticeably stutter in video performance, you’ve made a call based on marketing instead of what is actually better for the user. It sounds like Apple made the right call here, while Samsung included more pixels to have a bigger number on a piece of paper.

        1. To be fair, my sister has an older Samsung tablet with a 1080p screen. I have a Galaxy Tab S with the 2K screen.

          The difference is actually pretty noticeable. Especially when playing content that was made in 2K resolution. Edges are sharper, there’s also quite a bit less ghosting on the 2K screen. You don’t see individual pixels which makes it appear like less of an image on a screen and more…’real’ I suppose you could say.

          I think Apple just goes for what’s good enough for the average user. And Samsung pushes for people like me with higher expectations out of their gadgets.

    1. I think that was the point, the design is not well-balanced. Samsung chose to push pixels when it’s unnecessary and especially a poor choice when it’s not balanced by a chip that can support it.

    2. The article is completely upfront about the fact that these are GRAPHICS tests. Graphics do use the screen. So should the tests

      There’s absolutely nothing misleading here

    3. Hey Michael, I totally agree that this article seems to be displaying a LOT of Apple bias, and I concur with your premise that we need to recognise it as bad reporting.
      In all cases the S6 could have tried to render a 1080p version of the Manhatten test and performed considerably better. However, I do wonder whether due to the fragmentation of Android whether all games developers will have bothered to optimise their games to display in a less than native resolution on these devices in order to match (and even beat if we discount the use of Metal APIs) the iPhone’s frame rate. It is certainly interesting to see that when programming the same combinations of lighting, surfaces and effects, that because of the Galaxy’s default higher resolution a standardly written test runs without a visibly discernible difference in resolution at a much lower frame rate…

      1. The 1080P tests were still on screen though… which means the Galaxy S6 takes the 1080P signal and Upscales it to it’s native resolution which again is more work for the GPU

        1. The problem with current hardware for Android is that it is using resolutions way above what human eyes can resolve. There is a pixel size below which we simply cannot discern. And some Android products are coming to market with an unnecessary high ppi count. It is useful just for specs nerds ans for marketing.
          As there is no such thing as a free lunch, this comes at the cost of higher battery consumption and/or lower performance on graphics.

      2. Honest it doesn’t matter though like you say because games aren’t optimized well on Android (how could they be sense it’s so fragmented). Also these benchmark apps don’t use metal either which I think is something long term will be an issue especially as Apples GPU choices engineering wise will specifically target metal and that speed increase might not be reflected in the benchmarks.

      3. The real situation with Samsung is they are getting hammered on both the low end phones and the high end.

        They are grasping for whatever they can to hold onto a piece of the high end market share, but it looks like to me they are trying feature-itis.

        I doubt Samsung is going to be able to stay in high end phones, because they can’t or won’t commit to create a total Samsung ecosystem as Apple has done.

    4. You missed the point… The article is about the power needed to push pixels around on the screen (the stuff the user sees and experiences). And how Samsung decided to shove a higher density screen into their device (for specs sake) without considering the power required to drive the screen.

      So, yes, while the SoC Samsung uses may be more powerful with raw graphics number crunching, the GPU isn’t sufficient for the screen in the S6.

      This would be analogous to Apple sticking with an A5 for the iPad 3’s Retina display instead of designing the A5X with a beefed up GPU to support the higher density display.

    5. the 6 Plus actually renders graphics internally at an even higher 2.7M pixel resolution, then scales the results down to the physical resolution of its screen (its internal 2208×1242 rendering resolution is scaled down to fit its 1920×1080 display). So the iPhone 6 Plus is running very close to the S6 even onscreen. Apple talked about why they render at the higher resolution then scale it down for everything on the iPhone 6 Plus

  3. “Conversely in all the off screen tests which are tests that force both GPU’s to render at the same resolution the S6 has the lead by a LARGE margin.”

    Who, in their right mind, is going to run their S6 at the same resolution as the iPhone 6?

    And is that even possible?

    The point Apple Insider makes is perfectly valid–Samsung used a screen resolution that the GPU could barely keep up with–that was a stupid compromise.

    (Apple pretty much did the same thing with the first Retina iPad.)

  4. an important question is:
    By how much is Samsung cheating its customers this time with tuned benchmarks, using special clock speeds when and only when a benchmark program is running?

  5. I just ran a graphics benchmark test on my Galaxy Tab S. It has a 2K resolution screen, and the tests were done in native resolution.

    They ran in 2K resolution with a near consistent 60 – 70 FPS.

    So tell me again how the GPUs they use can’t handle the screens they use?

  6. Display resolution matters! Higher resolution provides sharper screen/text/picture/movie which does not necessarily require the full GPU power. And there is the GearVR for which 2K resolution of S6 is just a bare minimum. ( Personally I am looking forward to the upcoming Note 5 with 4K resolution for GearVR! )

    For fps-driven apps, you just need to draw on a low-res target and blow it up as every commercial game does. So what’s the purpose of this silly, unfair comparison with a zero practical significance?

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