Hummingbird vs. Snapdragon: The 1 GHz Smartphone Showdown

41 Responses

  1. Jordan says:

    I’ve been looking for weeks for a breakdown like this, so: thanks. I hope you update it when the device is released and there’s more information available; I look forward to it, in fact.

    In doing my research (no citation, sorry, this is just what I recall seeing) it seems that because the 3GS has a high pixel/second refresh rate, it has a “smooth” feel to it–as compared with the nexus one, specifically. Obviously apples to oranges with android vs iPhone OS, but still.

    I just want a smooth android experience… hope the galaxy S makes that a reality.

  2. Crone says:

    I realise that I might be a bit less knowledgeable in the area, but the HTC Desire running a Snapdragon (QSD8250) seems like a good choice.

    How does the QSD8250 compare to the QSD8650 in terms of performance and battery usage? They are both 1GHz and I have not been able to find a comparison anywhere.

  3. MrK says:

    They are both the same. One is a GSM version, the other is the CDMA version.

  4. Electrofreak says:

    Jordan, thanks for your feedback, it’s much appreciated.

    I think a lot of it has to do with the OS itself. The Apple iPhone OS sacrifices a lot of the functionality that more complex mobile OS like Google’s Android have, but it allows for a very smooth user experience. It’ll take some impressive hardware and a very efficient UI before Android can match that kind of performance.

    If Samsung isn’t jerking our chain and the Galaxy S really does have that kind of graphics power, we should see a phone with an Android that’s buttery smooth. I can’t wait for the day that I can get both the EVO 4G and the Samsung Galaxy S in my hands to see how they stack up.

    I’d be happy to write a followup to this article with those impressions when that day comes!

    One of ABT’s editors might be able to get his hands on a demo unit or two in the near future, so I’ll see if I can drag some hands-on impressions out of him 😉

    Crone, MrK nailed your question. There isn’t any difference between the two other than the integrated radio chip (8250 is GSM, 8650 CDMA). I was considering referring to it as the 8×50 in the article, but didn’t want to cause any unnecessary confusion.

  5. Electrofreak says:

    Update: GSMArena.com has confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy S contains 512 MB of RAM, equaling the EVO 4G.

    I still would like a direct confirmation that the memory is LPDDR2 though.

  6. Walt French says:

    Thanks for this sensible and clear analysis. It’s a real rarity in too much tech blogging these days.

    Your comparisons dug down into the screens’ appearances, but didn’t touch on the point of resolution and clarity that this week’s “retina” announcement prompts. Specifically, previous AMOLED screens are reported to have only two colors per pixel, so only 2/3 the number of directly-addressable locations as an otherwise like-resolution screen. So, the modestly more detailed iPhone4 spec actually has 80% more independent loci—about a third more in each dimension. Does this matter? For red-on-blue or your blue-on-black signature above, it reduces 800X480 to about 400X240, no? Even for black-on-white, It could matter a lot for legibility.

    Here’s where my knowledge hits the wall. First, I know Samsung makes these Pentile screens, but does the Galaxy S also use one? Other commenters say yes, but I dunno how authoritatively.

    Second, I know that both Windows and MacOSX have long had very clever OS text rendering routines that address individual sub-pixels in displays, so that a slice across a row might go
    … r g b r g B R G B R g b r g b …
    (where caps show “ON” and lower shows “off.”)

    That is, rather than deciding what level of gray to set each pixel triad, the OS lights up individual sub-pixels, making its own boundaries, often not worrying about including a full set of all three colors in each run. Adobe Reader has also allowed you to use “sub-pixel rendering” since the early days of LCDs, when it became very valuable. So, the $64K questions: are these very smart text rendering routines at work on either iPhones or Android devices? … both portrait & landscape?

    Thanks in advance.

    “Inquiring Minds Want to Know!” ®

  7. Walt French says:

    Woops, 400X480 for AMOLED colors.

  8. Electrofreak says:

    Very interesting question Walt, and definitely one I’ll have to look into.

    In writing this article, I read a very interesting piece on how the PenTile display system works and its limitations. Some rather complex algorithms are used to determine the proper color pattern on those types of screen. Looks like I’ll need to find out more.
    Check out these articles if you haven’t already:

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2010/03/secrets-of-the-nexus-ones-screen-science-color-and-hacks.ars/

    http://www.displaymate.com/Nexus_One_ShootOut.htm

    I suspect highly that the Galaxy S will feature a PenTile screen on its Super AMOLED, but I don’t know for certain until I can see one under a microscope.

  9. Walt French says:

    Thanks for the great links.

    The shootout page was especially interesting to me: the OLED display only uses less power for rather dark areas of the screen; for black-on-white text, the OLED would seem to net-net use more power, as well as suffer from poorer resolution (since DisplayMate opined that the LEDs just couldn’t be packed any tighter without the reliability problems that Ars found). Makes it an especially curious choice unless over-saturation is the goal.

    I’ll look forward to the lab tests of color etc, which I presume those links will provide soon, and still hope for some more clarity about advanced resolution, especially for clarity of reading.

  10. AR says:

    thanks! this was quite helpful!

  11. Electrofreak says:

    Walt; the pictures in this article lead me to believe that the Super-AMOLED does indeed use the PenTile LED arrangement.

    http://www.engadget.com/photos/iphone-4-vs-samsung-galaxy-s-displays-at-full-brightness/

  12. Electrofreak says:

    Hey everyone, just for the record, this article is a few months old now. When it was written, I had very little material to work with aside from some Samsung / HTC PR statements, a handful of specs, and some camera shots for each phone.

    Just had some inattentive (and very impolite) fellow do a drive-by on my blog ridiculing the fact that I didn’t do a side-by-side comparison. Given that the phones had just been announced and were not available for review, it would have been a tad bit difficult. 😉

  13. Joel says:

    Really nice writeup.
    Thanks. :)

  14. Columbus Vickrey says:

    Really looking forward to the new HTC Android, it looks awesome!

  15. Max says:

    Awesome breakdown! Although its a little late to post any comment on the article, but recent video reviews of the two phones (actually vibrant and droid incredible) show that vibrant(galaxy) performs a little better than droid incredible( evo 4g). Although there are lot of assumptions on the UIs of the two phones, and lots of other things.

  16. boybawang says:

    Nice Review! but you complete forgot to mention TEGRA2!!!!

  17. Hunter says:

    So, overall, which processor is the best, if one must choose??

  18. Spot says:

    For what its worth to anyone reading this article as research in piicking a phone:

    My roomate got a DroidX this week, and I just picked up the Vibrant, TMobiles Galaxy S. Speeds while firing up and scrolling through and opening apps appear to be very similar between the two phones side by side. That being said, I am very pleased to say as far as the graphics go the Galaxy phone really surges ahead. The picture quality and color especially in both video playback and in web browsing are both clearer and richer on the Galaxy. Also, major kudos to Samsung for how visible the Galaxy is in sunlight, I can hadly see the DroidX at all. Also the audio quality and volume are better on the Galaxy.

    Thanks for the great article and useful info!

  19. Electrofreak says:

    @boybawang: Tegra 2 is Cortex-A9, like the OMAP 4440 I touched upon. Since there is very little documentation to describe any differences between the OMAP 4440 and the Tegra 250 (for example) I did not cover the topic.

    However, as more information on the specific manufacturer’s implementations of Cortex-A9 come through, I look forward to writing about them. I assume that early on in Cortex-A9 production, the primary differences between the chips will be the graphics solution, and I’m sure that nVidia will not disappoint.

  20. Electrofreak says:

    @hunter: The best *current* response can be seen here: http://androidandme.com/2010/07/news/droid-x-vs-galaxy-s-and-more-with-quadrant-professional/

    However, I know that AlienBabelTech has taken an interest in starting to benchmark smartphones. Knowing the editor who is going to be doing the benchmarks, I can assure you that ABT will do an excellent job. :)

  21. dean says:

    whata great website. the true comparison to the limited features of the iphone creating a better user experience was intersting. something oi have said alot to people. yesterday i was at a marketing reasearch panel that was trying to figure out if all this “DROID” branding for verizon was worth it. but the 2 people on the panel were iphone users and they were the most difficult. they proved that regardless of weather or not it performs better or worse they only will use iphones. i think 77% of iphone users upgraded to the new 4. the new droid X laked “text reflow” which was a killer for me. if that samsung galaxy sported a flash i would be all over it. the iphone screen seems so small to me now. 4 or 4.3 seems to be the correct size for me. keep up the great blog!

  22. Peter says:

    Great article!

  23. Joaquín says:

    GREAT ARTICLE, I enjoyed so much reading it, I use to look on a daily basis to Engadged but many times it leaves me with the bad taste of knowing too little, now I will take a look at this site!!

  24. Vendetta_revived says:

    Why doesn’t this website not show any images in firefox browser ?

  25. Jordy says:

    Excellent Article.

  26. Pl says:

    Quite well written, a lot more informative then other sites I’ve been browsing through. I actually own a galaxy s vibrant and love it. In regards to processing power I hope developers start producing apps that actually use most of the phones capabilities.

  27. john says:

    Galaxy does support with 2.2 which i am currently using

  28. Monk says:

    Solves any doubts , nice article…

  29. ravinayag says:

    Really nice, you are appreciated.

    Vendetta_revived , I viewed read in fire fox.

  30. popper says:

    hi alienbeltech, it appears you do not tribute the actual name of your “by Guest Contributor on Apr.26, 2010” and that’s a shame as they seem to be king amount the blind 😉 and actually provide real hard information, rather than marketing speak , and thanks for that.

    id like to know their name and keep and eye on all their written work as i found it most refreshing… but moving on.

    would it be possible to provide real life data for al these ARM v7 like SOC especially their SIMD throughput tests please and especially x264 data for all the NEON 128bit capable devices please….

    it might be interesting to see numbers for that Marvell 1.6GHz, quad-core ARMADA XP SOC too
    http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/11/intels-former-arm-team-hits-back-at-chipzilla-with-new-server-chip.ars?comments=1&p=21012558

    “its a shame it doesn’t seem to include a Bunch of 128bit NEON SIMD, but rather that Intel extended WMMX2 SIMD thing (a reasonable assumption, until someone asks them to clarify,if you look at the other existing ARMADA lines) ,what ever that is, and how it perform’s ?

    Do we have Any Real Life x264 encoded 720P or even 640×360 at Ultrafast crf=24 etc performance figures for this WMMX2 SIMD compared to the standard MMX2 in the same 1.6 Ghz range ?

    this real life Benchmark test came from the old x264-dev logs if anyone’s interested in the real life Number’s , and StippenG’s number’s came from an older Quad A9/NEON developer board at Uni apparently, and the generic single core A8/NEON Beagle board OC.

    640×360 at Ultrafast: 38.59 seems like a very good start without these extra SIMD patches being written yet

    “2010-08-24 15:39:19 Some X264 Benchmarks (Rush Hour 640×360, preset=medium, crf=24): 4-core Cortex-A9 @ 400 MHz gives 5.55 fps, Beagleboard (A8 @ 720MHz) gives 1,65. Really nice speedup, considering the much higher frequency of the A8
    2010-08-24 15:39:56 It’d go a lot faster if you used a faster preset.
    2010-08-24 15:40:01 Or if you wrote some of the asm we’re missing
    2010-08-24 15:40:26 But yeah, that scales surprisingly well. about 3.5x faster
    2010-08-24 15:40:27 Yes. Superfast gives 22.07. Ultrafast: 38.59
    2010-08-24 15:41:23 Guess the out-of-order execution and shorter pipeline is really quite a bit better for performance
    2010-08-24 15:41:35 Well, the A9 is known to be a lot faster

  31. popper says:

    oops, i meant alienbabeltech not alienbeltech 😉

    it also seems this site among several strips greater than, less than and so removed the contributor’s names so here’s that part again to be clear and fair.

    “2010-08-24 15:39:19 StippenG Some X264 Benchmarks (Rush Hour 640×360, preset=medium, crf=24): 4-core Cortex-A9 @ 400 MHz gives 5.55 fps, Beagleboard (A8 @ 720MHz) gives 1,65. Really nice speedup, considering the much higher frequency of the A8
    2010-08-24 15:39:56 Dark_Shikari It’d go a lot faster if you used a faster preset.
    2010-08-24 15:40:01 Dark_Shikari Or if you wrote some of the asm we’re missing
    2010-08-24 15:40:26 Dark_Shikari But yeah, that scales surprisingly well. about 3.5x faster
    2010-08-24 15:40:27 StippenG Yes. Superfast gives 22.07. Ultrafast: 38.59
    2010-08-24 15:41:23 StippenG Guess the out-of-order execution and shorter pipeline is really quite a bit better for performance
    2010-08-24 15:41:35 Dark_Shikari Well, the A9 is known to be a lot faster”

  32. diesel says:

    sorry se ve interesante pero me choca el que no tenga flash que clase de basura es algo muy basico para mi ese movil no existe

  33. el loco says:

    Diesel, eres un pendejo. El galaxy S de sprint, US Cellular, AT&T y verizon tiene flash.
    asi es ke mejor conose los factores antes de abrir el ocico.

  34. Hitu says:

    I dont feel like reading ur blog because of the color selection. Hate the black background. Otherwise i would love to. Please change

  35. CB says:

    Phenomenal review and comparison, you should look into doing this professionally!

  36. ‘It competes with the next iPhone”, writes Sascha Segan for PC Mag.com…. That last statement is the clincher. Samsung already is one generation ahead of Apple.”-Joe Wilcox

  37. dave says:

    I find the site informative however the information concerning the galaxy phones is way off base. The ratings on the new phones and specifically at&t models rates them far less than actually true ratings. Even comparisons.done on line show the true ratings as compared to phones such as the EVO and so on. As a matter of fact the gallaxy series cpu’s are 1.2 and [ 1.5gigs]. Screens Are 4.3 NOT 4.0. Cameras ARE 8MEG and 2MEG front. I realize that phone come out at a very fast rate but current rating

  38. dave says:

    I find the site informative however the information concerning the galaxy phones is way off base. The ratings on the new phones and specifically at&t models rates them far less than actually true ratings. Even comparisons.done on line show the true ratings as compared to phones such as the EVO and so on. As a matter of fact the gallaxy series cpu’s are 1.2 and [ 1.5gigs]. Screens Are 4.3 NOT 4.0. Cameras ARE 8MEG and 2MEG front. I realize that phone come out at a very fast rate but current ratings should be reflected. Thank you.

  39. Boris Abruzzo says:

    This phone was purchased for my girlfriend as she wanted a android phone that was small with a physical keyboard

  40. Chong Reasonover says:

    The product has good call quality. I prefer all of the features this phone has. Used to do battle with the device restarting itself.

  41. Ericka Register says:

    My first Android phone. Works well but internal app memory (RAM) somewhat limited methinks.

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