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Samsung denies fixing Galaxy S4 benchmark scores to trump rivals like Apple iPhone 5

Samsung has been accused of rigging reviews by designing its Galaxy S4 (opens in new tab) hardware to run at higher speeds than normal exclusively in benchmarking apps.

According to AnandTech (opens in new tab), which performed a number of tests on the Exynos 5 Octa-packing version of the smartphone, the GPU performance jumped significantly when running specific benchmarking tools like Antutu, GLBench 2.5.1 and Quadrant.

While the S4's GPU is clocked at 480MHz for regular usage, this rose by 11 per cent to 532MHz under test conditions.

Furthermore, Anandtech discovered that Galaxy S4 CPU speeds – in both the Exynos 5 Octa and quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon versions - were also subject to illegal weighting. As soon as a benchmarking app was opened, the processor's performance suddenly soared to maximum capacity.

"You should be careful about comparing Exynos 5 Octa based Galaxy S 4s using any of the affected benchmarks to other devices and drawing conclusions based on that," said AnandTech. "This seems to be purely an optimization to produce repeatable (and high) results in CPU tests, and deliver the highest possible GPU performance benchmarks."

Samsung has since issued a statement (opens in new tab), claiming that it did not intentionally try to rig the benchmark scores:

"Under ordinary conditions, the Galaxy S4 has been designed to allow a maximum GPU frequency of 533MHz. However, the maximum GPU frequency is lowered to 480MHz for certain gaming apps that may cause an overload, when they are used for a prolonged period of time in full-screen mode. Meanwhile, a maximum GPU frequency of 533MHz is applicable for running apps that are usually used in full-screen mode, such as the S Browser, Gallery, Camera, Video Player, and certain benchmarking apps, which also demand substantial performance.

"The maximum GPU frequencies for the Galaxy S4 have been varied to provide optimal user experience for our customers, and were not intended to improve certain benchmark results."

The Samsung Galaxy S4 became embroiled in more drama recently, with reports claiming that a model of the smartphone caught fire and destroyed a home in Hong Kong (opens in new tab). Experts believe third-party accessories might be to blame for the incident.

Aatif is a freelance copywriter and journalist based in the UK. He’s written about technology, science and politics for publications including Gizmodo, The Independent, Trusted Reviews, Newsweek, and ITProPortal.