When the Antutu benchmark app showed up in iTunes a few weeks ago, hardly anyone commented on the opportunity it presented to make a more general comparison between Android devices and Apple’s hardware.
A similar app has long been available for Android, and it’s my preferred benchmark test because it offers a more balanced result than most tests. Even though there are several benchmark tests which can be run on both Android and Apple hardware, this is the one that gives a general result that doesn’t focus on graphics.
I had expected that the release of the Antutu app would raise all sorts of interesting questions about whether Apple’s hardware lived up to the hype, but unfortunately I haven’t seen any commentary on this topic. Allow me to repair that lack.
I’ve run the Antutu test on my iPad 2, and do you know what I discovered?
This tablet, which was initially released 3 years ago, scored in the same range as the $99 budget Android tablets I have been reviewing for the past 5 months. A tablet which Apple is selling for $400 is assembled using components (RAM, CPU, Flash storage, graphics chip) of about the same quality as found in tablets that cost a quarter as much. In fact, a couple tablets, including the ClickNKids tablet, actually scored higher.
As much as I would like to slap Apple around for conning people into buying a piece of junk, in reality the iPad 2 is an example of why i don’t like benchmark tests: the test results don’t match up with my hands-on experiences.
Sure, the Antutu test can offer a basic technical summary of how well a tablet should perform, but the iPad 2 reminds us that there is a difference between lab tests and field tests. The Antutu test says that the Android tablets have similar scores, but my eyes and hands tell me that the iPad 2 has a much more polished software, better construction quality, and significantly better battery life.
This is part of the reason why I avoided running benchmark tests until recently. At best it offers half the picture, and a fuzzy one at that.
So have you tried running this test on your Apple hardware? What was the score?