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Samsung defends Galaxy Note 3 benchmarking shenanigans

Samsung has been forced on the defensive yet again over reports that its top-notch smart phones are cheating at benchmark tests.

Samsung has been forced on the defensive yet again over reports that its top-notch smart phones are cheating at benchmark tests.

The Korean company has denied its Galaxy Note 3 superphone exaggerates its performance when it detects well-known benchmarks running, as was claimed yesterday in an extensive, well-documented report on the website Ars Technica.

"The Galaxy Note 3 maximises its CPU/GPU frequencies when running features that demand substantial performance," Samsung said in a statement to CNET UK.

"This was not an attempt to exaggerate particular benchmarking results. We remain committed to providing our customers with the best possible user experience."

The Note 3 was found to apparently rev up all four of its cores to their full 2.3GHz frequency when running popular test programs such as Geekbench, Quadrant and AnTuTu, giving spectacularly good scores. Most of its cores remained idle when running renamed versions of these same apps, as they normally do, to prevent overheating.

Furthermore, Ars Technica claims, the boosting is reserved exclusively for a named list of benchmarking apps. This directly contradicts Samsung's position, and isn't addressed in the company's statement.

Alarm bells began to ring when the Note 3 scored much better than phones such as the Xperia Z1 and LG G2, both of which have exactly the same quad-core Snapdragon 800 chip. The Note 3 is the first phone to boast 3GB of RAM (the Z1 and G2 both have 2GB), but that would not account for scores in tests of sheer speed. As Ars points out, even without the boosting, it beats its rivals anyway.

Samsung had much the same response earlier this year when it was reported that the Galaxy S4 did the same thing -- pushing its processor to the limit to appear more powerful than similarly specced rivals.

Benchmarks are used by many review sites, including CNET UK, to give an indication of a device's power in comparison to other products. They are only one element of our testing process, however, with more weight given to the phone's smoothness of use and the performance of intensive apps like 3D games and photo editing.

Are you disappointed that Samsung has acted in this way, or doesn't it make any difference? If you've got your hands on a Note 3, what did you think? Leave a comment below, or on the benchmark for friendliness that is our Facebook page.

Update: according to a new report, the only Android manufacturers who aren't cheating at benchmarks are Google and its subsidiary Motorola.

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