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Qualcomm: Smartphone benchmarks have become less relevant

Luke Johnson

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Qualcomm Snapdragon

Smartphones are becoming increasingly powerful, but benchmark tests to outline their inner workers are becoming less relevant.

That is the surprising mindset of chipset giant Qualcomm who has suggested the perceived quality of a smartphone is now based largely on highlight features such as cameras, screen or design, not simply its processing capabilities – and rightly so.

As the smartphone market has matured, and Snapdragon has matured, the benchmarks have become a little less interesting relative to the experiences,” Tim McDonough, Qualcomm’s Vice President of Marketing said speaking with TrustedReviews.

“Consumers today don’t buy a new phone because the benchmark is 10 per cent better, they buy it because it does something their old phone doesn’t.”

Suggesting consumers are now making handset choices on the overall user experience and hardware package as opposed to just one component or feature, he added: “I think the specs are there, but they are secondary. You use them as a tool.”

Bizarrely McDonough’s comments came during a dedicated benchmarking day at the company’s HQ in San Diego where the latest Snapdragon 810 chipset was the focus of our attentions.

Having come under fire in recent weeks for a series of reported delays and overheating concerns, the Snapdragon 810 is set to feature in a number of flagship phones, including the Sony Xperia Z4 and HTC One M9.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S6

Despite suggesting benchmarks are not the basis for future smartphone purchases, McDonough has sung the praises of Qualcomm’s latest high-end SoC offering, a chip which broke AnTuTu benchmark records in our tests with a score of 61,499.

“The 810 is better in almost all ways than the leading processors which preceded it,” he said.

“It improves performance, it takes better pictures, the Wi-Fi has been upgraded, we’ve improved the battery life and the graphics have been upgraded.

“The 810 is, for us, the no compromise, high-end chip."

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