Hardware configurations with Snapdragon 800 chips and Adreno 330 GPUs are on their way to becoming the norm rather than the exceptions in the high-end Android smartphone décor.
Everybody from Samsung to LG, Sony to Asus, Acer to Pantech has either unveiled such an uber-zippy handheld of late or is getting ready to do so. Which would make the online spotting of yet another smartphone powered by an S800 and Adreno 330 a, how I shall put it delicately, not very spectacular event. Almost not newsworthy at all.
Yet the Samsung GT-I9506, said newly emerged Snapdragon 800-based device, actually looks pretty special. Not only is it set to be an “international” counterpart of the so far Korean-exclusive Galaxy S4 LTE-A, which let’s be honest we’ve fantasized quite a lot about lately, but apparently it’s the absolute best Android gizmo in terms of GPU performance.
That’s right, better than the Korean S4 LTE-A (aka SHV-E330S). And the soon to be launched “new” Asus PadFone Infinity (also known as T004, or A86). And Sony’s Xperia Z Ultra. And the LG G2. And I could go on.
Not sure about another Samsung device, the Galaxy Note 3, or Sony’s Xperia Z1, as the two haven’t yet been tested through GFX Bench, but all the other top-notch Androids are forced to bow before the new king.
But if the GT-I9506 and SHV-E330S are to pack the same CPU/GPU combo, plus the exact same display (a 5-inch unit with Full HD resolution) how come the new thing knocks the old one senseless?
Well, for one thing, the GPU performance gap is not that massive. Only four frames and 0.1 fps in an offscreen 1,080p test and 84 frames and 0.7 fps in another. Second, the gap that is there probably has nothing to do with the processor or graphics processing unit. Or the display, for that matter.
Instead, it’s likely due to Samsung’s fantastic talents of optimizing software to squeeze out every possible drop of juice out of the SoC and GPU. Which is even more impressive given both the international and Korean S4 LTE-A seem to run the same version of Android out the box – 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.
Now, when and where should we expect this GT-I9506 to see daylight? No way to know for sure just yet, but Germany “sometime soon” is already confirmed, so a wide October launch in Western Europe appears to be the best guesstimate.
As for America, I don’t think Samsung will risk the cannibalizing of Galaxy Note 3 sales, though I guess weirder things have happened before. Remember, aside from the processor bump and adding of LTE-Advanced speeds, everything else will be the same as on the “old” original Galaxy S4.
With that in mind, is anyone considering scoring the new handheld? Yes, no, maybe?