Decision time? Check out our latest product comparisons

iPhone 5 display twice as responsive as Android phones according to new benchmarking test

By

September 23, 2013

The iPhone 5's display is twice as responsive as those in non-Apple handsets, new benchmar...

The iPhone 5's display is twice as responsive as those in non-Apple handsets, new benchmarking suggests (Photo: Brett Jordan)

Image Gallery (2 images)

Conscious that the world of mobile devices lacks benchmarking tests to measure the responsiveness of touchscreen displays, app-streaming company Agawi has developed the TouchMarks benchmark to measure touchscreen latency. In a company blog post published last Thursday, the company reveals that, according to its tests, Apple's year-old iPhone 5 screen response time is more than twice as fast as the best Android phone tested, the Samsung Galaxy S4. The iPhone 4, released June 2010, was also significantly faster than the non-Apple handsets tested.

Agawi says that the benchmarking procedure uses a number of high speed cameras shooting at 240 frames per second to measure the delay between the user sensing that they've touched the screen and seeing the response. This is a similar method to that used to measure latency in computer games. By developing very simple apps which cause the screen to flash white when touched, Agawi aims to ascertain the best possible response time of each device. Agawi calls this the Minimum App Response Time or MART. OpenGL and DirectX rendering were used to ensure screen responses were as close to immediate as the device makes possible.

Agawi's results

The company found that the iPhone 5 achieved a response time of 55 ms while the best-performing Android device tested achieved 114 ms. The Nokia Lumia 928 Windows Phone managed 117 ms, and the HTC One and Motororola Moto X clocked in at 121 and 123 ms respectively. The iPhone 4 managed 85 ms.

"As you can see, the results are remarkable," Agawi writes. "At a MART of 55 ms, The iPhone 5 is twice as responsive as any Android or WP8 phone tested. All the Android devices' MARTs fell in the same 110 – 120 ms range, with the WP8-based Lumia 928 falling into that bucket as well."

Agawi suggests that the superior response times in the Apple phones may be down to superior touch sensitivity or calibration, or because iPhone code is written in "closer-to-the-metal" Objective-C rather than within virtual machines as is the case with Android and Windows phones.

"Regardless of the reasons, the conclusion is clear: the best written apps on iPhones will simply feel more responsive than similar apps on the current gen of Android devices," the company concludes. "(We speculate this might be a major reason why the iPhone keyboard generally feels better than the Android keyboard to many people.)"

Agawi says that it will make the method open source in order for results to be replicated and the process improved. That may go some way to assuage doubts about the benchmarking process, though a debate about the significance of these lag times is sure to ensue. Agawi will likely test newer devices as they become more widely available.

Source: Agawi, via VentureBeat

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
15 Comments

Thank for that. Time for the galaxy s 5 to destroy this achievement by bettering yet another aspect of phones...

Tony Kalniev
23rd September, 2013 @ 07:46 am PDT

Does anyone really think that they can perceive a 60 ms. difference in response time?

DR
23rd September, 2013 @ 09:19 am PDT

I've never really noticed any significant lag when trying any of the phones on the list. Doesn't really seem to be as significant as the processor speed as glitches and lags caused by that will be far more significant.

Keith Lamb
23rd September, 2013 @ 09:56 am PDT

DR, the benefit comes not from the initial response time but in the apps when the quality of control matters. Inf. Blade comes to mind. Fast response means better control in high performance apps.

I don't have much to back that claim, but it seems the most logical. Also, spec hounds find it worthy of a gadget fight. Everytime I see a iFan and a DroidFan go at it, all I can think of is "My Daddy can beat your Daddy!.

Silverbird
23rd September, 2013 @ 10:37 am PDT

DR, yes people can. Not all, but some at least - people have logged sustained typing speeds (on iPhones) of 1 keystroke per 125ms. That's about the latency of the Android phones, so they will struggle.

At least one speed record on a Galaxy S was beaten on an iPhone - try searching for 'iphone typing speed record'.

Mark C
23rd September, 2013 @ 03:00 pm PDT

Such a critical win for Apple... since everyone is all up in arms about the less than a 1/10th of a second difference in screen performance. Thank god that issue is settled. Maybe they should boost the sound range of their speakers to 100khz so they can win another meaningless competition; the dogs will all want iPhones then too.

Dave M
23rd September, 2013 @ 07:57 pm PDT

I have an S4 and am happy with it, however, while I agree that you would never consciously perceive that sort of a lag, these things are often no conscious, we are talking about a 'feel' here... quite a subjective thing.. I think a blind test is warranted - if you could disguise rival phones to the point that you wouldn't know what device you were on and create an app one each OS to look identical on each then do a subjectivity test to see if there are statistical variances in the groups.

Simon Sammut
23rd September, 2013 @ 09:13 pm PDT

Ok all you guys, stop thinking that cos something is measured in milliseconds it is has no discernable effect in the real world. Think about this - 125ms (around what the android phones are in this test) is 1/8 of a second, therefore your maximum reponse rate to inputs is 8 responses per second. If you think this lag wouldn't be noticable, then try watching your favourite movie at 8 frames per second and see how long you can last watching it before you get annoyed with it! Do the math people!

ClubDoug
24th September, 2013 @ 03:43 am PDT

It's so foolish to bother measuring a phone's response time at these speeds. The average human eye is only capable of seeing at 16 frames per second. The human capacity for reaction is much slower than that.

@ClubDoug, we're not talking about video frames per second, we're talking about touch screen response time. Your eye-hand coordination doesn't react anywhere near as quickly as your actual persistence of vision (the 16 frames per second I mentioned.) Even more, that's just the speed required to see a series of images flow as a moving image. The human eye can only actually see 10-12 images per second. Eye-hand coordination is even slower still. Human eye-hand coordination (reaction time) is around .15 to .3 seconds, meaning it takes that long for the finger to begin reacting to something the eye sees. 125ms is more than sufficient to handle even the fastest human eye-hand coordination times.

dandrews1138
24th September, 2013 @ 10:46 am PDT

i'm with club dog. even though physical response time is slower, i don't interact with it blindly. I need the visual cues to keep up with my physical inputs. On the other hand, these are such small variations that perhaps the brain would accommodate the lag without our even noticing it. maybe a hardcore gamer might notice a subtle difference, who knows.

kar
24th September, 2013 @ 02:29 pm PDT

LOL @ Tony Kalniev: The s4 just got hammered by a phone much older than it, and you think the s5 will break some new record? Yeh ok. Sorry but android is forever following ios in terms of performance. I have an S4 and I can tell you right now that in general the iphone 5 is noticably snappier to use, even though its processor is running at about half the speed.

TBH I think android has only really gained traction because it features on cheap phones. But people are too proud to admit they like android because it's cheap so they swear it's because it's a superior system, even tho in just about every metric it falls well behind the iphone.

Jim Timings
24th September, 2013 @ 05:57 pm PDT

So if the Android phones are instantaneous, then the iPhone 4 is half again as instantaneous, and the iPhone 5 is twice as instantaneous. But I can't wait to be more instantaneous than that.

dchall8
24th September, 2013 @ 08:44 pm PDT

Hold an iPhone in one hand and an Android in the other. The difference is obvious. I think the first iPhone I owned back in 2007 was snappier than my GS3. iOS is coded in C directly onto the hardware. Android's written in Java over a virtual OS, and isn't optimized to run on whatever hardware you're running it on. So the top of the line Android phones need quad core processors and 2 gigs of RAM to even come anywhere close to feeling as smooth as iPhones. But isn't it great how customizable Android is? Yeah, it needs to be because it's ugly as hell lol

hocobo
26th September, 2013 @ 01:47 am PDT

We can discuss a lot if 120 vs 60 ms makes a difference in a touchscreen context. Existing or upcoming research can answer that. But consider this: let's say you can notice 200ms. When I program something, the response time will add to the time above. Thus when making complex stuff, it'll be easier to meet the 200ms limit with the iPhone app. On even the very powerfull S4 I need to optimise more, or won't be able to do that complex stuff.

Latency in hardware, be it touchscreen or audio input/output is an area where the Android OS needs improvement. This is a downside with the openness in the platform, whereas Apple can do more optimisation for one piece of hardware. Also Android relying on Java VM poses other limits, but surely there are people who can find a way to overcome this generally, or by letting handset makers optimise some low-level parts of the OS for their hardware.

Anders Berg
26th September, 2013 @ 04:21 am PDT

Too bad this comparison did not include the Nexus 4. It would be interesting to see how much the manufacturer's "bloatware" has added to this response time.

Knowledge Thirsty
27th September, 2013 @ 11:08 am PDT
Post a Comment

Login with your gizmag account:

Or Login with Facebook:


Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our 29,044 articles