LIke I mentioned, part of Verizon's strategy is to dial the processor back by 20% to 1.2 GHz on the CPU. We were curious, though, whether the GPU would face a similar clock hit. So we held it up against its One family counterparts, which includes several devices running the S4 at its full 1.5 GHz. 

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Egypt

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Egypt - Offscreen (720p)

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Pro

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Pro - Offscreen (720p)

RightWare Basemark ES 2.0 V1 - Hoverjet

GPU performance is just spot on with its One kin, even coming close to leading in some benchmarks. So, looks like the GPU isn't restricted at all. But, how big is the CPU performance deficit?

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9.1 - Stock Browser


Vellamo Overall Score

Linpack - Single-threaded

Linpack - Multi-threaded

Here we start to see the penalty paid for the lower clock speed. The delta was as small as 12% and as high as 35% compared ot the top S4 performer in each chart. Some of that delta can be chalked up to differences in software builds; Qualcomm provides optimized Android builds to OEM partners, but it's up to them and the carrier to decide whether to implement them or not. So, there is a real performance hit, but perception of that hit isn't necessarily going to mar the experience, especially with GPU performance unaffected.

So, there's mixed results here, GPU performance is good, but CPU performance takes a hit. The display is smaller and has a lower resolution, but maintains good characteristics. But there could be something to gain from these cut-backs, with display size and clock speed held in check, battery life SHOULD see a benefit? Will it? We're finding out right now. 

The Display and The Mid-Range
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  • piroroadkill - Thursday, July 12, 2012 - link

    I agree. I think 4" is about right, and 4.3" is getting on the large side, but is generally fine. I think 4.5"+ is just getting silly.
  • ivoryjohn - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    Since turning 50, I'll add that YES!!! Bigger is better!

    I got the Droid X when it came out, not for the touted video capability but for the big honking screen! Browsing the Internet, reading PDF encoded manuals all was easier with a larger screen.

    I downgraded slightly to the Droid 4 and wish I had an option for a 4.8 inch screen whether it fits in my pocket or not.

    Ten years ago, I would not have cared so much, but now, I am definitely in the near tablet size phone.
  • aliasfox - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    ... which isn't directly 'consumer demand'

    - Battery size. New SoCs and radios require relatively large amounts of power to get them through the day. A bigger screen (which might take an extra 10% power) affords space behind it for a battery that's maybe 20% larger - a net gain.

    And because the fastest phones now generally have the biggest screens to support the space for the larger battery (without sacrificing thickness), manufacturers and pundits are conflating 'bigger' with 'what consumers want in a top of the line phone.'

    Personally, I prefer iPhone sized. A 4" screen feels rather broad to type/tap on one handed (most of my usage) if you have to reach the opposite corner; I can't imagine living with a 4.5"+ screen day to day.
  • amdwilliam1985 - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    "if you have to reach the opposite corner; I can't imagine living with a 4.5"+ screen day to day."

    You'll get use to it, I got the SGS2 tmobile version(4.5" screen), and I can reach every corner of my screen comfortably.
    I got used to typing on my "giant" phone now whenever I pick up a 3.5" iPhone from a friend, I can't seem to hit the right key.
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    This is correct. There is a net gain in component space in making a thin form factor large display handset. But this opportunity was acted on in part because of consumer demand for larger screens. Even as early as CES 2010 the scuttle was that the market was going to move to larger and large screens, even before thin was a major selling point.

    But, again, there's still opportunity to cram similar devices in a thicker handset, so it's a matter of design and willingness.
  • secretmanofagent - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    My girlfriend had the original Droid Incredible, and wanted the successor. She, however, is on a family plan, and didn't want to wait and end up affecting the rest of the family with the "upgrade" to the shared data plan. She didn't want the Galaxy S, because it was too big. She's now an iPhone user.

    I don't know whether she's an isolated incident, but to me they lost out on if people are paying attention to the data BS that Verizon is pulling.
  • eldwraith - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    I got a new phone "only" because of Verizon's change. I didn't have any good reason to upgrade from my Incredible, but Verizon forced my hand, and now I have this book sized SGS3. I do hope she's happy with her purchase, and I think you're right about the Dinc 4g. Wow did this mess up HTC IMHO. For people racing to upgrade before the change they had very few options. Not nice how the Incredible line ended. Hopefully new customers will like the size, and still get it. I think it looks a little funny.
  • geniekid - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    In a similar situation. I have the OG Incredible, but I decided not to jump the gun on the S3 because it was too big. After using my OG Inc for 2 years and trying out other people's larger phones (Thunderbolt, Galaxy S2, EVO 3D, EVO 4G LTE), I've decided while my phone's 3.7" screen is too small, the S3's 4.8" screen is too large.

    So I might be paying full price for the Incredible 4G LTE depending on AT's review to 1) stay on Verizon's unlimited data plan and 2) give myself the opportunity to jump ship when my contract expires.
  • awaken688 - Sunday, July 15, 2012 - link

    Same deal here. I thought this phone would be a better fit for my wife, but she didn't want to lose her unlimited data. So now she is rocking an S3 instead. I'm guessing there are many more stories out there where SGS3's were purchased because of the data plan switch. So far she's liking her phone, big screen and all. Of course coming from an OG Droid that was dying, it didn't take much =)
  • Thud2 - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    I am 53, eyesight waning, hate wearing glasses, like mobile web surfing, hence prefer larger screen.

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