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Nexus 6 Performance With Android 5.1

Web Browsing Benchmarks

BenchmarkNexus 6Android 5.0Nexus 6Android 5.1Difference
Browsermark12591258-0.08%
JSBench340.2 ms344.0 ms-1.11%
Peacekeeper953908-4.72%
Google Octane43224254-1.58%

The update does not seem to impact JavaScript performance in our browser benchmarks.

MobileXPRT 2013

TestNexus 6Android 5.0Nexus 6Android 5.1Difference
Overall Performance238209-12.18%
Apply Photo Effects24.62 s29.91 s-21.49%
Create Photo Collages15.11 s18.57 s-22.94%
Create Slideshow26.50 s29.50 s-11.32%
Encrypt Personal Content57.94 s67.55 s-16.59%
Detect Faces6.64 s6.57 s0.99%
Overall User Experience10097-3.00%
List Scroll60 fps60 fps0.00%
Grid Scroll60 fps60 fps0.00%
Gallery Scroll50 fps50 fps0.00%
Browser Scroll59 fps50 fps-15.25%
Zoom and Pinch57 fps57 fps0.00%

MobileXPRT 2013 shows a worst case scenario for the updated Nexus 6. All of the content related tests read and write small amounts of data to disk and don’t fully task the CPU cores. The lower scores here likely reflect the loss of thread migration and a small reduction in storage performance for certain workloads (more on this in the next section).

The user experience tests are unchanged except for Browser Scroll, which sees a significant reduction. Investigating further reveals that the Nexus 6, running either Android 5.0 or 5.1, sets the CPU frequency to a fixed 1497MHz during UI interactions such as the List Scroll, Grid Scroll, Gallery Scroll, and Zoom and Pinch tests. When running 5.0, the Nexus 6 sets the CPU frequency to a minimum of 1497MHz during the Browser Scroll test but frequently spikes to its max frequency of 2649MHz. The 5.1 update changes this behavior, with the CPU governor frequently letting the frequency drop to 300MHz during the Browser Scroll test, which accounts for the lower score.

To see if these results are valid when using a real web browser, I fired up Opera and loaded a simple page without ads (Wikipedia’s home page). I then continuously scrolled up and down while monitoring the CPU usage and frequency. The Nexus 6 running the 5.0 release locks the CPU frequency at 1728MHz with two cores active. Running 5.1, the CPU frequency is locked at 1497MHz, which is the same frequency as the Browser Scroll test and equal to the touch input boost frequency.

For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 running Android 5.0.1, which also uses a Snapdragon 805 SoC, behaves quite differently during these tests. The CPU governor allows the frequency to bounce around quite a bit during all of the user experience tests except for Browser Scroll, where the frequency is set to 1190MHz. With a lower average CPU frequency, the Note 4 performs worse than the Nexus 6 in these tests. I also performed the same basic browser scrolling test in Opera on the Note 4, and it also set the CPU frequency to 1190MHz.

These results suggest that UI responsiveness remains essentially unchanged with the OS update, with the Nexus 6 maintaining its lead over the Note 4 in this critical area. However, these benchmarks fail to capture the effect of having all four CPU cores active all the time. In the real-world, there will be several background tasks running, performing tasks like checking for new email, social media news, and app updates. It’s these uncontrolled scenarios where having the additional cores available will help balance the load and help keep these other processes from interrupting UI update threads. So while peak UI responsiveness is unchanged, or even slightly reduced, the effective responsiveness seen in normal use may be better with the 5.1 update.

  • ZolaIII
    Just to point out how CPU clocking logic effect busses on Qualcomm SoCs. For instance if 1 core CPU frequency fell down under the minimum frequently than is tied to max bus frequency it will narrow & memory bandwidth & this will impact GPU performance badly under GPU intensive tasks. For me it looks like that on-demand scheduler is working more as it should under 5.1. Including patch sets from Linux kernel 3.12~3.21 (on demand to use more mid frequencies) should be just enough to address performance regressions still savings (even litle more) juice. They should really disable file encryption on any ARM V7 build. Switching to last stable GCC should increase user experience greatly, it's funny they still use 4.6. To address possible fluctuations & determine real impact of changes do the tests again with performance governor & disable MP decision (hot plug) for GPU tests.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml
    Ouch. Glad I bought the N5 last year.
    Reply
  • endeavour37a
    I have an old LG G2 and it does not even have filters :(
    Reply
  • theusual
    Be sure to upgrade 'Android System WebView' through Google Play as well as for me it didn't upgrade automatically and was causing app issues.
    Reply
  • Plyro109
    Sorry. Browser seems to be autofilling and submitting in every comment thread I visit.
    Reply
  • Tracy Kohler
    Get that stupid bar off the top of my screen please! It takes up a whole INCH of screen space (and vertical space is LIMITED already on this wide CRAP they call monitors today).

    I guess I'll have to come up with a way to kill it and still be able to navigate, other than scrolling. Go back to pages with a bar at top or bottom for index. While your at it FIRE the guy/gal who decided an inch of real estate on a monitor is OK to block all day. He/she will only piss off users over and over (hired from win8 team?...LOL).
    Reply
  • Senecaz
    TL, DR : Lollipop s*cks! next update please...
    Reply
  • musical marv
    15881932 said:
    TL, DR : Lollipop s*cks! next update please...
    Why do you say Loliipop sucks?

    Reply
  • musical marv
    15881932 said:
    TL, DR : Lollipop s*cks! next update please...
    Back Up what you post here and do not ignore it.

    Reply
  • endeavour37a
    I thought Tom's was a place we could have opinions and points of view we could share and express freely, how does one back up what they like and don't like? I sort of like 5.0 but it's just fine if some else does not, I ignore a lot of stuff myself.
    Reply