Car nuts race their rides to see whose machine is the fastest. Fitness fanatics run marathons to test their physical limitations and endurance against that of their fellows. Geeks and gearheads? Our battles are fought and won on the basis of how capable our hardware is. While our desktops and laptops might be a thing of wonder to behold, carrying them around with us for the sake of collecting the accolades we deserve isn’t always convenient. Carrying around a smartphone or tablet, however, is. Benchmarking also provides the added benefit of telling you how well your phone manages the current version of your handset’s operating system and apps, as well as whether future OS upgrades will slow all that zippy mobile computing hotness to a bag of sluggish hardware fail. If you’re the owner of an Android handset, there’s a lot of options out there to see how hard your phone rocks. Here’s three of our favourite free benchmarking tools, along with the reasons why you should use them.
BenchmarkPi gauges processor efficiency so well it’d make a grown man cry. The genius of BenchmarkPi is in its simplicity: By tasking how quickly your handset is able to calculate Pi to a particular number of decimal places, BenchmarkPi is able to ascertain how powerful your processor is. Additionally, the app is great at being able to tell whether or not your device is being overtasked by other programs running in the background, making it easyto troubleshoot problem apps. If you’re feeling competitive, you’re in luck: BenchmarkPi also maintains a constantly updated list of the top 300 Android phones out there, ranking them by their processing power.
The harder your smartphone has to chug in order to crunch the numbers necessary to do important work like running a session of Minecraft Pocket Edition, the less juice your battery will have left for lower priority tasks such as calling your loved ones to assure them that you’re still alive and well despite the Creeper’s best efforts. Battery Graph is designed to run in the background on your handset while you go about your business. Start it up when you turn on your phone, and check it out at the end of the day. While you’re busy, texting, finding your way with Google Maps or having a jaw-wag with a co-worker via Skype, Battery Graph will quietly collect data on how each hoop you force your phone to jump through effects its battery. To snag a balanced benchmark of your battery’s performance, drain it all the way down and then charge it completely before starting. In order to paint a true picture of your battery’s performance, we recommend running Battery Graph over several days under normal operating conditions. Doing so will let you discover what applications and times of day take the biggest bite out of your battery’s life, as well as show you how long your battery lasts during an average day.
NenaMark 1 & 2
Available in two different flavors—one for high-end Android phones and the other for handsets wielded by mere mortals— NenaMark is one of the easiest ways to benchmark your phone’s GPU performance for free. By measuring the number of frames per second your smartphone can crank out in the face of parametric surfaces, varying light models, particles and reflections, NenaMark is able to ascertain whether your phone’s takes graphical hits like a champ or glass-jawed featherweight. Your handsets results can then be measured against those of other makes and models to see how your phone ranks.