Mobile Technology

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

iPhone 5 display twice as responsive as Android phones according to new benchmarking test
The iPhone 5's display is twice as responsive as those in non-Apple handsets, new benchmarking suggests (Photo: Brett Jordan)
The iPhone 5's display is twice as responsive as those in non-Apple handsets, new benchmarking suggests (Photo: Brett Jordan)
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Agawi's results
Agawi's results
The iPhone 5's display is twice as responsive as those in non-Apple handsets, new benchmarking suggests (Photo: Brett Jordan)
The iPhone 5's display is twice as responsive as those in non-Apple handsets, new benchmarking suggests (Photo: Brett Jordan)
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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
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

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Tony Kalniev
Thank for that. Time for the galaxy s 5 to destroy this achievement by bettering yet another aspect of phones...
Does anyone really think that they can perceive a 60 ms. difference in response time?
Keith Lamb
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.
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!.
Mark C
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'.
Dave M
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.
Simon Sammut
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.
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!
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.
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.
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