Can your device handle Fortnite?

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Just as Epic Games promised would happen, the free-to-play battle royale game ‘Fortnite’ finally became available last week. For the first 3 days of its release, the game was limited the Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy Tab S3, and Galaxy Tab S4. We expected a much longer exclusivity period, possibly limited to just the Note 9 and Galaxy Tab S4, but it turns out the exclusive content is just a free skin and 15,000 V-Bucks (the in-game currency.) Now that the game is officially available for non-Samsung devices, we decided to do some quick gameplay tests on as many supported devices as we could and capture the performance data thanks to help from our friends at GameBench. We tested several devices with most of the supported chipsets—that being the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, Snapdragon 835, Snapdragon 845, Kirin 970, and Exynos 8895—just to get a feel for how well Fortnite Mobile on Android performs on most current Android smartphones.

In particular, we tested Fortnite Mobile on Android on the following devices:

Device Chipset Name GPU RAM Default Graphics Quality Default Frame Rate Limit
Honor 10 HiSilicon Kirin 970 Mali-G72 MP12 6GB Epic 30fps
LG V30 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Adreno 540 4GB Epic 30fps
OnePlus 5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Adreno 540 8GB Epic 30fps
OnePlus 6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Adreno 630 8GB Epic 30fps
Samsung Galaxy S8 (Exynos) Exynos 8895 Mali-G71 MP20 4GB Medium 30fps
Samsung Galaxy S8 (Snapdragon) Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Adreno 540 4GB Epic 30fps
Samsung Galaxy S9+ (Snapdragon) Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Adreno 630 6GB Epic 30fps
Xiaomi Mi Note 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Adreno 530 4GB Low 20fps
ZTE Axon M Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Adreno 530 4GB Low 20fps

(Note: Due to limitations with the current version of GameBench, we were unable to test on any devices running Android Pie such as the Google Pixel 2 or Essential Phone.)

We only had a short time to test these devices since the game’s public release, so we were unable to test all the devices in our collection. Also, Fortnite currently does not work if you have an unlocked bootloader, which was a major barrier for us since unlocking bootloaders is kind of our thing. Fortunately, we were able to bypass Epic Games’ restriction on USB Debugging, so we had no problems getting GameBench‘s desktop client up and running.

Before we dive into the results, we want to clarify what this post is and is not designed to do:

  • We are NOT benchmarking Fortnite Mobile on Android. Each tester we had play the game did NOT play under the same conditions.
    • Each tester played a live match with other players to get data on how their device should perform in a typical match of Fortnite. We chose not to just sit around and build things in an empty playground match because the majority of users will be experiencing actual firefights with up to 99 other players and not just a sandbox building experience.
    • Each tester did not play the same length of time.
    • Each tester went through different areas of the map at different times and collected items and battled other players at different times as well.
  • We ARE attempting to answer the question: “Can my device handle playing Fortnite?” What do we mean by that?
    • We wanted to do some basic data collection on the median frame rates, CPU/GPU/RAM usage, and FPS stability (all data provided by GameBench) of a typical Fortnite Mobile match just so you can see if the game is worth trying out on your device.
    • We won’t be doing direct performance comparisons between any of the devices we tested. Instead, we’ll be summarizing how each device performs so you can decide for yourself (based on how similar your device’s specifications are to one of the devices we tested) whether it’s worth playing.

Now that we’re (hopefully) clear on what we’re trying to do with this article, let’s see how each device fared in the game.

We would like to give special thanks to the team at GameBench for the assistance they provided us. Their tool makes it possible for any person, whether it be a regular user, journalist, or engineer, to test a mobile game’s performance on an Android device. They have an Android app you can install to start benchmarking your games, but keep in mind that Fortnite’s anti-USB Debugging detection will prevent you from using GameBench‘s Android app to profile Fortnite Mobile.

GameBench (FPS counter without root)
GameBench (FPS counter without root)

Testing Fortnite Mobile on Android’s Performance with GameBench

All images have been scaled down to thumbnail size to shorten the article and improve page load speed. Click to expand an image you’re interested in viewing.

Honor 10

Summary: The player, TK Bay, collected samples from 3 games. The first 2 games he died around 3 minutes in. On his last game, he survived for 10 minutes and spectated for 7 minutes. During his first few minutes of gameplay, the device performed well. However, it became clear that the game’s graphical demands were taking a toll: The Honor 10 started experiencing frame drops quite often and became noticeably hot.

Data:

Verdict: It plays well for a short time, but the inconsistent frame rate will probably bug most players during extended gaming sessions. The Honor 10 (and likely other Kirin 970 devices) will need some additional optimizations before Fortnite Mobile will be an enjoyable experience at the highest graphics settings. If Huawei manages to optimize their GPU Turbo-compatible devices with Fortnite, then we may see a bump in performance once an update rolls out.

LG V30

Summary: The player, Joe Fedewa, collected samples from 2 games. The first game he died around 6 minutes in. The second game he lasted around 8 minutes and spectated for an extra 2 minutes. The device was unable to maintain 30 fps for most of the duration of the gameplay, unlike the Samsung Galaxy S8 or OnePlus 5.

Data:

Verdict: Rather disappointing performance in-game considering how well the OnePlus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S8, both devices with the same CPU/GPU, perform at the same settings. The OnePlus 5 has double the RAM which should help on such a RAM-hungry game, but the Galaxy S8 also has the same 4GB RAM. It might be worth turning down the graphics settings to eek out a bit more performance.

OnePlus 5

Summary: The player (myself) played a single 12-minute session comprised of 9 minutes of gameplay and 3 minutes of spectating until the end of the match. The OnePlus 5 had no trouble handling Fortnite Mobile.

Data:

 

 

Verdict: The OnePlus 5 handles Fortnite like a champ. There’s little to complain about here.

OnePlus 6

Summary: The tester, Daniel Marchena, played 2 matches. In the first, he lasted near 9 minutes while in the second he lasted near 8 minutes. Unsurprisingly, the OnePlus 6 performs really well in-game.

Data:

Verdict: As if there was any doubt, the OnePlus 6 is able to handle Fortnite Mobile with ease. After all, the game was optimized with devices on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9), so any device with the latest Qualcomm chipset should perform really well here.

Samsung Galaxy S8 (Exynos)

Summary: The tester, Adam Conway, played a single match that lasted 12 minutes. His Galaxy S8 performed incredibly well in-game, though keep in mind the game was not running at the highest graphics quality setting.

Data:

Verdict: You should have no trouble running the game provided you’re willing to sacrifice some graphical fidelity.

Samsung Galaxy S8 (Snapdragon)

Summary: The tester, XDA Junior Member thesbros, played a single session lasting nearly 12 minutes. While looting and running around, the game doesn’t seem to struggle very much. However, during intense firefights, you may notice some dips in performance.

Data:

Verdict: If you want to play the game without annoying frame drops, avoid playing at the highest graphics settings.

Samsung Galaxy S9+ (Snapdragon)

Summary: The tester, Max Weinbach, played a single session lasting 11 minutes. The game, unsurprisingly, performed well although there were a few notable areas of intense fighting that caused dips in performance. We’re told that explosions and certain special effects were largely responsible for these dips.

Data:

Verdict: We would expect the Galaxy S9+ to handle Fortnite with relative ease given that it shares the same chipset as the Galaxy Note 9, though of course the latter has liquid cooling to keep the device from throttling as quickly. You should generally have few issues playing the game at the Epic graphics setting.

Xiaomi Mi Note 2

Summary: I, the tester, played a single session lasting 8 minutes. It didn’t take much time for me to reach the conclusion that the game is a mess on this device. The device struggles to even maintain its 20fps target and falls apart in locations with lots of buildings or heavy firefights.

Data:

Verdict: Abort. Wait for an update improving experience before you try it on this device or a device with similar specifications.

ZTE Axon M

Summary: I, the tester, played the game for 8 minutes before giving up (after dying) with how badly it was performing. The game is a slideshow on this device, even more so than the Xiaomi Mi Note 2.

Data:

Verdict: Abort! Don’t bother playing Fortnite on the Axon M unless you plan on roasting marshmallows.


Can my device play Fortnite Mobile on Android?

We’ve posted the minimum hardware requirements, the exact hardware requirements, and the current list of devices that support the game. Here’s a summary of what you need to know:

Minimum Requirements

  • Chipset: Exynos 8890, 8895, 9810 or newer; HiSilicon Kirin 970 or newer; Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, 821, 835, or 845 or newer
  • RAM: 3GB or higher
  • Software: Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher
  • OpenGL Version: 3.1 or higher (Vulkan Graphics API support is optional)

Supported Devices

Currently Unsupported

Where to download?

If you’re on a Samsung device, just download the game from the Samsung Galaxy Apps store here. If you’re on a non-Samsung device, follow the instructions from Epic Games‘ website.


Fortnite Mobile on Android Gameplay

If you’re interested in seeing what actual gameplay looks like on one of the devices that handles Fortnite Mobile on Android rather well, check out our videos of the game running on the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and OnePlus 6 with the Snapdragon 845.

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