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Breaking news: Toshiba TG01 with the 1 GHz CPU benchmarked in real-life situations!

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If you know my H.264 bible (link to original HERE; note that it has the charts messed up. The latter, without problems, can be found HERE or in any other mirrors I've listed at the end of the original article; see the paragraph starting with "Cross-posted to"), you may be aware of that, so far, no Windows Mobile device was able to play back “high”- resolution H.264 videos.

I refer to videos 640 (or more) pixels wide; this, practically, also means it’s fully impossible to play back 720p (that is, 1280-wide) H.264 videos if you don’t disable bilinear filtering or CABAC at encoding time and deblocking at runtime. (Or, you don’t use the simple profile to create a video that is comparatively easy to decode and not includes any goodies like CABAC or bilinear filtering.) If you do all the available techniques to increase video quality, not any of the current Windows Mobile devices will deliver a stuttering-free video playback.

The new Toshiba TG01 with it brand new 1 GHz Snapdragon CPU seems to have changed this all. At the Toshiba booth of MWC, I had the chance to play with the forthcoming TG01. Incidentally, interestingly, at Microsoft’s booth, along with the HTC Diamond II (which I had the chance to play at HTC’s booth and, frankly, found it to be pretty mediocre), the device was behind glass and couldn’t be tested; no such restrictions existed at Toshiba’s booth.

I’ve tested the video playback and H.264 decoding performance with the 464 kbps H.264 video HERE (feel free to conduct the benchmark yourself to make sure I have the right figures). The benchmark, as can be seen in the following screenshot, resulted in a very impressive decoding efficiency: 148%! Again, this is around 100% on contemporary Windows Mobile PDA’s – that is, the speed difference is about 50%. It seems switching to the new platform indeed does deliver some substantive speed increase – unlike the case with the 206 MHz StrongARM -> 400 MHz Intel Xscale PXA-250 switch back in 2002, under Pocket PC 2002.


Gaming and 3D performance was equally good. The device has (enabled) 3D acceleration. I’ve made and posted to YouTube three different videos.

one shows a simple tech demo;
shows Prince of Persia in action (yes, I know it’s upside down; tomorrow, I take my tripod with me and make a far better video) and, finally,
shows a 3D sphere-alike GUI. Note that all these videos are 640*480; as soon as the Panasonic G1 HD or the Canon 500D (hopefully the latter with HD video) comes out, I upgrade to it. Until then, I can only make videos at 15 fps at 1024*768; this is why I've gone for the smaller, but two times faster VGA ones so that you can have a real picture of the speed.

All these three demos / games use the full WVGA screen estate (that is, 800*480) to render their content. Everything is crystal clear.

Note that there are some games that don’t seem to be hardware accelerated. Gameloft’s Asphalt4 is, unfortunately, one of them. I had the chance of playing it on the Samsung Omnia at MWC, on Gameloft’s booth and was really disappointed. It has low resolution and very bad, stuttering graphics – far-far inferior to the hardware accelerated, absolutely perfect iPhone version. Unfortunately, the situation is the same on the TG01 as can also be seen in THIS

test video.

Now, I only wish the TG01

- Had a D-Pad on the front (there is a LOT of unused space on the face of the device – much more than on, say, the iPhone) to allow for playing games. This device would be an excellent gaming / emulation device – but the lack of a D-pad severely hampers this usage. Read: very few games that require a D-pad for control will be playable.

- Supported call recording (the Toshi folks I’ve asked stated the TG01, unfortunately, won’t allow for recording calls).

- Had a better camera – like that of the (better) Nokia N-series phones or the Samsung Omnia HD.

- Had stereo speakers – again, like some Nokia N-series handsets or the brand new Samsung Omnia HD.

Other, various Toshi shots (click the thumbnails for much larger shots)












(Note that I’ll try to post more tomorrow; for example, direct size comparisons with the iPhone etc.)

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