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Benchmarking CES 2013's flagship smartphones

Benchmarking CES 2013's flagship smartphones
Joseph Volpe
Joseph Volpe|@jrvolpe|January 11, 2013 6:57 PM

As you might've noticed, CES 2013 didn't turn out much in they way of smartphone reveals. Most of the mobile industry's big guns held back their reserves (Sony aside), prepping behind-the-scenes for Barcelona's world stage and ceding this Vegas showcase to lesser known Chinese OEMs. So before we bid adieu to these vast convention halls and tuck in for the impending reviews, we've decided to roundup the show's only flagships -- ZTE's Grand S, Huawei's Ascend Mate and D2 and Sony's Xperia Z / ZL -- and pit them head-to-head in preliminary performance testing. Follow along after the break to find out which handset earns the top spot in this benchmark battle.

Sony Xperia Z Sony Xperia ZL Huawei Ascend Mate Huawei Ascend D2 ZTE Grand S
Quadrant 8,060 8,062 5,479 4,670 4,697
AnTuTu 10,219 13,589 9,480 6,907 7,992
SunSpider 0.9.1 (ms) 1,864.9 1,881.4 N/A N/A 1,860.5
CF-Bench 13,921 17,197 12,799 11,559 10,139
SunSpider: lower scores are better

With the exception of the Ascend Mate's 720p 6.1-inch screen, every handset we've matched up here sports a 5-inch 1080p display, 2GB RAM, a quad-core processor -- Snapdragon S4 Pros for the Xperia Z / ZL and ZTE Grand S, and a K3V2 for Huawei's devices -- clocked at 1.5GHz (the Grand S runs faster at 1.7GHz) and runs Android Jelly Bean. You'd think this would make for a fair fight, but as the chart above clearly shows, the Xperia Z / ZL (lumped together for their identical specs) notch significantly higher scores across Quadrant, AnTuTu and CF-Bench testing.

Sunspider results, on the other hand, were a bit inconclusive as we were consistently unable (try though we did) to successfully run that browser-based test on the Mate and D2. Excluding those latter two devices, ZTE's Grand S was clearly the fastest of the bunch at rendering web content, albeit by quite a small margin. Keep in mind these early results are based off of pre-production hardware and final units could yield welcome improvements in the form of software optimization. For now, though, we have to crown the Xperia Z / ZL as the best of the bunch at this year's show.

Brad Molen contributed to this report.

Benchmarking CES 2013's flagship smartphones