Benchmarks are a thorny subject, especially on mobile. A favorite among PC users, especially gamers, benchmarks have fallen out of fashion and under suspicion, no thanks to some OEMs caught “cheating” these tools. Of course, that hasn’t stopped Futuremark, creators of PCMark and the cross-platform 3DMark, in trying to make their numbers more relevant and more meaningful to users. Which is exactly what it trying to do with the latest update to the 3DMark benchmark app for Android, giving the tool a more “human” message.
All benchmark tools technically do the same thing. They put the hardware through a battery of non-standard tests to produce non-standard scores. Each benchmark system has its own way of measuring that performance and coming up with numbers. Most also let you compare those numbers with others devices from users who agreed to share their scores on the platform.
The problem comes in the interpretation of those numbers. At most, benchmarks simply give you a ranking and very little else. Benchmark makers also don’t see eye to eye on whether they should be testing for real-world performance or for ideal and maximum performance instead. How is a user, even an advanced one, supposed to make sense of all of these?
Here comes the latest 3DMark for Android to the rescue, bringing along with it some charts. The redesigned app is now able to show more easily how your smartphone’s performance compares with other users with the exact same device, with others on other popular devices, or even how the performance has changed over different Android versions. The app also shows whether a particular device is able to achieve its ideal performance in whatever condition or is rather inconsistent and unreliable.
3DMark’s Android app now also supports the Vulkan API, at least in the cross-platform Sling Shot Extreme test. While Vulkan doesn’t exactly add anything to the hardware that’s already there, it does, in theory, expose more of that hardware’s capabilities, more than OpenGL ES, which should, also in theory, produce better graphics performance.