Fastest Android smartphone: we test 2016's most powerful devices

Update: New models make the grade
AndroidPIT samsung S7 epic citadel 1278
© NextPit

In our overview of the fastest Android smartphones, three devices are emerging in the new categories. Here you can find out which smartphones are the best for gaming, for photo processing and the best for everyday usage.

Google Pixel: fastest gaming performance

The Google Pixel was not developed with gamers in mind, and it was not promoted as a device for gaming. That said, when we did the comparison we found that the 3D performance on the Pixel was the fastest. As a result, and also thanks to the Daydream optimizations, the Google Pixel is super for VR applications.

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The Google Pixel proved to be an unlikely gaming hero. / © NextPit

Additionally, the battery performance and camera on the Pixel are uncompromisingly good. The only downside is the very high price. With the OnePlus 3T, you'll find you get almost the same gaming performance at about half the price.

Benchmark comparison

  3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.1 3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.0 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited ES 2.0
Google Pixel 2559 3329 27702
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 1977 2362 30310
Huawei Mate 9 2264 2471 25826
OnePlus 3T 2358 2983 30611

We tested these devices three time, after which we calculated the mean value.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge: fastest image processing

Samsung developed its own processors in 2016 and both the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are fully optimized. Both devices have the same chip: The Exynos 8890. This delivers high scores on Geekbench, and effectively hangs its younger competitors out to dry.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are CPU and Web optimized. / © NextPit

The image processing performance on the device is excellent. Compared with the rest of the smartphones on the market, camera for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge is one of the best. It has a quick release mechanism, and the snapshots are sharp and good contrasting for almost all light conditions. The processor also ensures you get fast post-processing or effect preview in real-time.

Benchmark comparison

  Geekbench CPU - single core Geekbench CPU - multicore
Google Pixel XL 1604 3969
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 2018 6248
Huawei Mate 9 1919 5287

Huawei Mate 9: fastest for everyday use 

The Mate 9 is one of Huawei's best devices and includes the latest high-end components. Although the device hasn't been released in the US yet (it's expected to be available in early 2017) when it does hit the market we're expecting it will be much cheaper than most of its competitors. 

We weren't surprised when we saw high score ​the Mate 9 managed to get for the storage performance from PC Mark for Android. However, we had already experienced this first hand during our review, so even before we had the final figures ​​we were already sure it was a strong performer.

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The Mate 9 has the highest working speed. / © NextPit

Whether it's powering up, awakening from standby via fingerprint, or installing or launching apps, you never really have to wait for the Mate 9 to swing into action. Once you've got used to your workspace, other smartphones are sluggish. The key: Huawei uses an intelligent offline algorithm, which adjusts to your usage behavior and maintains the high speed of the smartphone in the long term.

Benchmark comparison

  PC Mark Work Performance PC Mark Storage Google Octane 2.0
Google Pixel XL 4786 4900 7911
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 5077 4607 10292
Mate 9 7558 7398 11527

Some final words

If you want to buy the fastest Android smartphone on the market, it does not necessarily mean it has to be the most expensive device. If you know what you want before you start looking, you'll easily find one of the top candidates. 

Did you see these results coming? Which phone do you think is the fastest at the moment? Let us know in the comments.

Some comments may refer to an older version of this article.

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Eric Ferrari-Herrmann

Eric Ferrari-Herrmann
Senior Editor

Eric has been with AndroidPIT since 2014. He’s writing articles and reviews for the German website. Topics are mostly privacy and new technology but there's also the occasional piece on environmental sustainability.

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  • Virgil Bates Jr Jan 4, 2017 Link to comment

    Personally I have and really like the Motorola turbo 2 with 21 megapixel camera, bright clear photos, awesome video capabilities also with slo-mo ...

  • Sowri Rajan Dec 30, 2016 Link to comment

    I could not agree with you more. LG V20 is an awesome phone. Just because it is priced a bit low, people do not pay attention. The more they pay, they tend to think in terms of features and functionalities. LG V20 rocks!

    Deactivated Account

  •   46
    Deactivated Account Dec 30, 2016 Link to comment

    Why Is the LG V20 not here again. You never cover the V20 and it is a great phone in my opinion the best of the year. Pocketnow also rates it the best phone of the year.

    PS This should have been a new article not a revamped one from last year with all the old comments on last years phones.

  • Nino Hergotić Dec 30, 2016 Link to comment

    I'm rockin Nexus 5x and i can honestly say it is one of fastest phone i have ever used. I have official android 7.1.1. installed. The camera is awesome and the speed is incredible. I would recommend anybody this phone.

  • Ettercap Aircrackng Jan 11, 2016 Link to comment

    @Lee Moreau
    The Galaxy s6 was released too early, Lollipop 5.0.0 was poorly optimised it was less a problem with the phone and more of a problem with the software within a month of release 5.0.1 came out and fixed all of the most prominent flaws, then a month after that 5.1.1 was released and brought serious performance boosts and fixed the rest of the remaining kinks.
    You either had the device pre-update or defective might I add that ios 9 and the iphone 6 plus had its own set of flaws I had to return my first iPhone 6s plus that was causing blurry photos this was a hardware defect with the device it also had some serious ram memory handling problems.
    Just because you had one experience with one phone has little indication on the overall quality of the phone, if that were the case based on my first iPhone 6s plus all iphone 6s Plus's must be defective.

  • Lee Moreau Oct 27, 2015 Link to comment

    Specs along don't mean anything. I had/have the iPhone 6 Plus, then switched to the Galaxy S6 as well. At first it seemed fast, but after using it about 15-20 minutes and actually having apps open, it's SOOOO slow. Wiped it to factory so many times. Partner's has the same problem, they are just so slow. Sold it and went back to the iPhone and honestly I can't believe how much faster it feels. The S6 half the time you'd switch to another app and the keyboard would stay permanently open until you rebooted the thing. Worst phone I've ever bought.

    • Derek Claycomb Nov 8, 2015 Link to comment

      I know, I know. It might sound like too much work, but you should have installed a program called Smart Switch, which is for backup, restore, and updating Samsung smartphone's. Instead of giving up, people just buy things and "They work!" or "It doesn't work, it sucks, it's soooo slow!" Anyway once the software is installed, you plug in your smartphone. The software will then install the USB driver for your phone and your ready to go. After a major update (going from Android 4 to 5), I use Smart Switch to do what called "emergency software recovery and initialization." It's like doing a factory reset but also reinstalls the latest version of android. If you have a newer computer,it doesn't take that long. I've done it to a Galaxy Note 4, straight out of the box, just to be problem free. Guess what? I'm problem free! Note 4 still kicking hard after a week and a half, with 79 apps installed! Pretty cool huh? I cabby really compare it worth an iPhone 6 plus though. I never touched one. But, I did transfer one iPhone 6 to another over my WiFi once. They seem like nice phone's, I cannot lie. But I'm used to my Android, and have no issues at all with the Lollipop OS on my Note 4.

  • Andrew Gates Oct 13, 2015 Link to comment

    Does the Galaxy still use that terrible Samsung skin on its Android?

    That's a deal breaker. Would be a shame because the hardware is excellent.

  • Chad_Higgins Sep 24, 2015 Link to comment

    G4 is the Best phone out there today.
    Best camera too!

    • Nicholas Orr Sep 25, 2015 Link to comment

      Yeah it is!! The camera is amazing!!

      Though I'm probably going to sidegrade to the N5X and get back to ChromaOS w/ custom DPI :P

  • drkmgiri Sep 23, 2015 Link to comment

    Rather than a fastest phone you need a phone which suits your needs. What you want from the phone is matters most.

  •   24
    Deactivated Account Sep 23, 2015 Link to comment

    In my humble opinion I have both the s6 edge and the Htc One M9. The Htc might not be the the fastest or performed well in these tests, but to me the all round package is by far much better tan what samsung can deliver with the s6/edge/+. Htc have better firmware updates not just quicker but the updates I have received actually fix bugs not create more like with samsungs updates. Better and more themes from Htc. And overall the Htc is just a more fun device to me where as the edge started to bore me after a month. Also after sales service from samsung sucks here in south africa you can send them emails till your head explodes and your fingers are mere little stumps they read it and ignore it not even asking on their Facebook page helps. Thus it doesn't help samsung having the best phone by merely comparing the performance of the devices the company and how good or bad they are is just as important in my humble opinion.

    •   24
      Deactivated Account Sep 23, 2015 Link to comment

      sorry wanted to add excellent article Kris.

    • An Droid Sep 23, 2015 Link to comment

      Howzit Swaer, where do you live? Samsung has Customer Service Centres is all the major cities in SA, that offer a 24 hour turnaround service. I've tested it with older phones, and they live up to that promise.
      Last time I owned a HTC, there was one customer call centre in Egypt for the Africa/Middle East region, so much for HTC service.
      Switched to Samsung after receiving an "out of box failure" One X, which was "made in China". Since then, S3, S5 and S6 edge have been awsome, and are all still in use. Horses for courses I suppose.

      Deactivated Account

      •   24
        Deactivated Account Sep 25, 2015 Link to comment

        Thanks for the reply An Droid. In the Western Cape my friend. Which is true but I mean if they can't even answer a email or facebook post what use is it, for me to drive 5 hours to the nearest service center is not a option to ask about firmware updates and problems I'm having with the S6 edge update and the parallax issues with the XFV OTA update and other issues I have. Thus it's not a hardware/device issue that can be fixed at a service centre iow.

      • An Droid Sep 25, 2015 Link to comment

        Bro, call the CT Care Centre and enquire if they have a satellite branch close to where you are. (021) 551 5534
        It is also important to clear the phone's cache after an update, otherwise there might be conflict between new and old information. (if you need help with that, let me know)
        Good luck.

        Deactivated Account

      •   24
        Deactivated Account Sep 28, 2015 Link to comment

        Thanks An Droid, I did clear the cache and did a factory reset even tested the sensors but to no avail unfortunately. I googled and found other people complained about the same issue in European countries, and then later replied the issue was fixed after they've received new updated firmware in September. It seems the s6 edge firmware versions, csc and pda, where the second last letter ended on G was a problem for example: PDA: G925FXXU2POGM and CSC: G925FXFV2POG2.

      • An Droid Sep 28, 2015 Link to comment

        Hi bro. Glad to hear youre sorted. My firmware ends in COH2, so I did not experience the same issues. Good luck.

  • Rodger Ramirez Sep 22, 2015 Link to comment

    My S6 Edge+ is not far behind the S6. Way to go Samsung.

  • Gurdev Walia Sep 21, 2015 Link to comment


  • Gurdev Walia Sep 21, 2015 Link to comment

    Very good

  • rayann howard Sep 20, 2015 Link to comment

    That's all Good.

  • MD IMRAN KHAN Sep 20, 2015 Link to comment

    Will Samsung Galaxy j5 have Android m
    Plz leave a comment

  • G. Surya Sep 19, 2015 Link to comment

    one plus 2 is fastest mobile

    • An Droid Sep 23, 2015 Link to comment

      I'm laughing SO loud right now! 😂

  • Junaid Q. Sep 18, 2015 Link to comment

    No doubt S6 is fastest android phone with 64x CPU Architecture and 3 GB ram

  • Larry R. Sep 18, 2015 Link to comment

    Samsung is trying everything they can to sell the S6. It's not worth what they are asking. They take away one thing and give you another. It's not worth it. They want to charge you for taking away the Battery and SD Card. Back off samsung.

    • Eric D8 Sep 23, 2015 Link to comment

      Well, I bought one, and I could not be happier. I get a new phone every year, and this S6 Edge is by far the best phone that I've owned.

    • Chad_Higgins Sep 24, 2015 Link to comment

      Thats why i say get a G4.

  •   46
    Deactivated Account Sep 18, 2015 Link to comment

    Speed is not everything most of these phones you would not know the difference. Unless you played the latest high demand apps or games. The top 5 maybe not even then. Storage internal and external expansion with removable battery is the key to a long productive life of the phone. The LG G4 is the only one of these I would buy. My old S3 still runs most things well and will for sometime.

  • Charlie Adkins Sep 18, 2015 Link to comment

    Where is Sony Xperia Z5 here? They should be included in the list as the features, functions and even performance of it is better than the Samsung Galaxy S6.

    •   6
      Deactivated Account Sep 18, 2015 Link to comment

      Z5 hasn't been officially benchmarked yet but it is my next phone :)

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