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Galaxy S4 and Note 3 KitKat update stops cheating - report

Android 4.4 KitKat has cleaned up the reputations of Samsung's superphones, with the flagship devices no longer artificially boosting their benchmarks.

The upgrade to Android 4.4 KitKat hasn't only added some cool new features to Samsung's best phones -- it's cleaned up their reputations too, according to a new report.

Ars Technica ran the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 through a gamut of tests to compare their performance before and after the update, and the mighty mobiles are no longer fudging their answers.

Samsung got in some hot water with Android enthusiasts last year when its flagship phones -- widely acclaimed as the most powerful ever -- were found to be behaving rather oddly when running common benchmark apps.

The stink of it was that Samsung was goading its superphones to run unsustainably hot (sometimes known as overclocking) when they detected specific benchmarks. This gave results up to 20 per cent higher than if they'd been running at the normal frequency, potentially inflating Samsung's well-deserved reputation for building powerful phones.

"The maximum GPU frequencies for the Galaxy S4 have been varied to provide optimal user experience for our customers," a Samsung spokesperson said in a statement at the time, "and were not intended to improve certain benchmark results."

Ars Technica dug through the code Samsung pushed out to the Galaxy S4 and Note 3 in its Android 4.4 update, and found the list of apps was gone. The phones' performance in single-core and multi-core tests was also diminished, giving a more accurate picture of what the devices' capabilities are under normal everyday use.

It should be noted that most other Android manufacturers were found to be pulling the same trick last year, with only Google and Motorola fighting fair.

Samsung's new Galaxy S5 goes on sale on 11 April, boasting Android 4.4 KitKat and a new improved TouchWiz interface. Read my CNET colleague Jessica Dolcourt's extensive hands-on first take here.

And for more on Samsung's extraordinary rise to power, watch Luke's new Adventures in Tech: