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Antutu Benchmark Test Now Available in iTunes, Confirms that the iPad 2 is a $400 "Budget" Tablet

When imagethe 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.

imageIt’s simply amazing that Apple can pull the wool over so many people’s eyes, isn’t it?

Well, no.

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?

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Patrick Watson February 26, 2014 um 6:12 am

I’ve tried to switch over to Android in the bigger than 7″ tablet space but I’m constantly frustrated by the "incompatible" apps or just the phone apps "embiggened" to work in a tablet setting. I find the PLAY store messy. Just yesterday I typed MOJANG into the search bar within the apps section and Minecraft was the 11th or 12th hit. The rest was disingenuous crapware. Search on iTunes and it’s the first hit in apps. If you’re willing to really learn how your tablet works, you can wade thru all the launchers and widgets and figure out a pretty customized device. Of course, all that learning doesn’t carry over from your Tab 3 to a Nook HD+ or a Nexus 7. For the most part IOS is IOS and the end user experience seems much higher even on older hardware.
Spent 20 minutes talking with a samsung sales guy at Best Buy about the Tab Pro 8.4 last night and really liked a lot of its qualities except for the app problems. Battery life also seems to be less than stellar as well.

Nate Hoffelder February 26, 2014 um 6:48 am

This is true, and it’s another point in the iPad’s favor.

I had a similar experience when I reviewed the Nook HD+. It was generally a great tablet in terms of hardware but the apps were another matter. Many didn’t scale properly, resulting in tiny text and icons.

Patrick O Watson February 26, 2014 um 8:06 am

my HD+ has become the Comixology, Netflix, Adobe Reader, Feedly machine. The screen and the card slot (my sole reason for not getting a retina Air or Mini) for the price make it too good to pass up.

Q February 26, 2014 um 8:47 am

I’m not sure the comparison is fair. The Nexus 7 (2013) scores higher than the iPad 2 and is still significantly cheaper. It doesn’t feel cheap, the software is polished, and it’s responsive with comparable battery life.

I think Apple selling the iPad 2 is almost a crime–at least, selling it at their current margin.

Paul February 26, 2014 um 11:34 am

I think they mainly see the iPad 2 for the schools who have a large investment in the old dock connector. No one buying new would buy it when you can get the iPad Mini with retina display for the same price.

Q February 26, 2014 um 11:37 am

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the Nexus 7 (2013) also has a MUCH better screen. 🙂

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