The Cortex A5 could well be one of the most undervalued products ARM launched on the market for a long time as only Qualcomm has products based on this solution in the pipeline.
The Cambridge-based company has been comparing four generations of system on chips on its booth at MWC 2012 in Barcelona, using the University of Michigan BBench v2.0 which tests the various loading times of some of the most popular websites on the web (albeit all in the UK).
And the results are rather surprising for a 600MHz processor and although only one benchmark is provided (and other variables like architectural tweaks, browser and OS will have an impact), it shows how much ARM engineers have achieved performance wise in just a few years.
The HTC Dream with an ARM11-based processor clocked at 528MHz had an average warm page rendering time of 13.12 seconds, the Motorola Droid with a 600MHz Cortex-A8 processor, 6.9 seconds and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus which has a dual core Cortex-A9 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, 1.54 seconds.
As for the Cortex-A5 SoC in the HTC Explorer, it is clocked at 600MHz and ran the benchmark in 2.34 seconds which is nearly three time faster than the Cortex A8 and, clock for clock, faster than even the Cortex-A9.
Indeed, another separate review (by Techdeville) generated similar results using CF-Bench, AnTuTu benchmark and Quadrant. In the first test, it bests the HTC Hero a very wide margin, attained 944 points on Quadrant, better than the Galaxy S and hit 2200 in the AnTuTu benchmark.
All in all, the Cortex A5 performs like an intermediate Cortex A8.5 and represents an excellent value for money with the cheapest handset based on this SoC costing around £100.
But that's not all; Qualcomm will release a dual ARM Cortex A5 SoC clocked at 1GHz, the MSM8225 with an upgraded Adreno 203 GPU which could change the entry level landscape.