The past two dual-core clashes have seen the Samsung Galaxy S II claim victory over the LG Optimus 2X and a somewhat controversial win for the Motorola Atrix. The Galaxy S II romped home with a clear win in all three categories, speed, software and hardware; the tussle between the Atrix and Sensation, however, wasn’t as clear cut. Although the Sensation offered what we believed was a higher quality user experience, owing to the inclusion of Android 2.3 and the HTC Sense 3.0 UI, the Motorola Atrix was of similar standing across the board, but outperformed its dual-core counterpart on the benchmark test, had an expansive hardware offering and better battery life.
With contentions firmly in the past, we’re now onto the third and final stage, where the previous winners will go head-to-head in a battle to become the undisputed dual-core champion. Both the Samsung Galaxy S II and Motorola Atrix will be tested in the following areas:
- Speed: Benchmarks and general usability
- Software: Operating system and user-interface
- Hardware: Display, battery life, additional extras
Before we begin, it’s important to note that we’ve continued to use our 1GHz Samsung device. It is shipped with a 1.2GHz processor, but we’ve decided to continue with the under-clocked kit (we’re yet to get our hands on a finished model, sad but true). We will, however, give you a rough estimation of how we expect the final version to handle throughout.
For those of you just joining the series we’ll quickly recap, the Motorola Atrix comes with a Tegra 2 chipset, a dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 CPU with ULP GeForce GPU, while the Samsung Galaxy S II is issued with an Exynos chipset, which comprises of a dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor with Mali-400 MP GPU. Both have 1GB RAM. It looks set to be an interesting match, although we will remind you that the S II is expected to fall with a 1.2GHz processor, which will significantly increase CPU speed.
And so to usability; both handle daily functions with ease. We begin with the basics and when powering them up there’s a considerable difference, the Galaxy S II bursts into life and completes a media scan before the Atrix even grants the faintest glimpse of a homescreen. But, given chance to catch its breath the Motorola begins to improve, navigation is fluid and the Motoblur user interface works well and makes a big difference to the stock Android to which we’ve become accustomed. The Samsung Galaxy S II matches it with ease and so it’s difficult to tell the two apart on interaction alone.
This is where the benchmarks come into play. We’ve gathered three different apps to use, the CPU-attentive Linpack app, GPU-focused NenaMark 2 and general performance scorer, Quadrant.
The Quadrant app provides insight into CPU performance as a whole, taking CPU speed, memory, input and output and 2D and 3D graphics into account.
2654: Motorola Atrix
2767: Samsung Galaxy S II
The two are fairly evenly matched, however, when you take into consideration that the Samsung is missing additional power – and in recent tests has scored well over 3,000 – you begin to realise the potential of the S II.
Next to put the duo through their paces is the Linpack app. This focuses on CPU alone, the higher the score, the more powerful the processor is through various channels.
MFLOP: 36.545 TIME: 2.29secs: Motorola Atrix
MFLOP: 39.563 TIME: 2.12secs: Samsung Galaxy SII
Finally, we’ve got the NenaMark 2, which benchmarks the GPU. Naturally, the higher the frame rate, the more efficient the processor is at dealing with graphical output.
23.4 Frames per second: Motorola Atrix
34.4 Frames per second: Samsung Galaxy S II
After all that the Samsung has clearly out-performed the Atrix on every test, and yes we sound like a broken record but it’s not even running at full speed.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S II
Software is a tricky one to call – there’s always going to be people gunning for different UI’s and as often as we say it, it’s always going to be down to user preference. That said, both devices run Android although the Samsung Galaxy S II benefits from the most recent version, 2.3 Gingerbread, while the Motorola Atrix is stuck on 2.2 (at least until an update is rolled out). If you’ve been paying attention to this series you’ll be well versed in the ongoing argument about dual-core processors and their efficiency when running 2.2; it’s widely believed that the old platform isn’t fully optimised for the multi-channel approach and therefore does not perform as well as 2.3. Of course, this open for debate, but what we do know is that both offer an extremely pleasurable user experience.
The TouchWiz UI found on the S II may be the better known of the two, but that’s not to say it’s any better than the Motoblur platform on the Atrix. Both offer a comprehensive menu and homescreen set-up, which perform well under pressure – meaning multitasking and the quickfire opening and closing of apps – and both are easy to navigate. Neither suffer from lag or are unsightly so they’re pretty evenly matched here.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S II (based on OS variant more than anything else)
We’ve said this throughout the entire series but both handsets are decent looking pieces of kit. The majority of smartphones nowadays seem to sport extremely similar bodywork so there’s very little to compare. Both handsets are adorned with large displays, the Samsung Galaxy S II has a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus (480 x 800) job , the Motorola Atrix a 4.0-inch (540 x 960) screen. The quality of both is superb and each is nicely incorporated to the chassis that holds it.
The plastic outer shell of the S II makes this sleek, device extremely lightweight, a definite plus when it comes to practicality. The Motorola Atrix shares the same build material but feels far more solid in hand, it’s also chunkier than its dual-core counterpart but tips the scales well over the mark at a weighty 135g.
Its saving grace, however, comes in the form of additional hardware that you attach to the device to beef it up. There’s a lapdock to turn it into a fully functional laptop and a media dock to create a home entertainment system.
Winner: Motorola Atrix
Having taken everything into consideration there’s really only one winner, the Samsung Galaxy S II. Despite using a pre-production model, it wiped the floor with each and every current dual-core offering and boasts an impressive spec set that’s set the bar high for future phones. A good job by the Koreans indeed.