News: Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6 – IPsec Service consuming device space

I’m a fairly heavy user of apps on my mobile devices. I periodically review them, but it’s quite rare I discover an app that I can happily uninstall and live without. It’s not uncommon for me to have over a hundred apps installed, only one of which is a game. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this. It tells us, doesn’t it, what an invaluable tool the smart phone has become for life, work and play.

So initially when my phone (a Samsung Galaxy S5) told me I was running out of space, I wasn’t all that surprised. Time to review my app usage. Time to move some apps from device storage to SD. Time to clear out some on-device photos and videos. Which I duly did.

And then a few days later – running out of space again. Curious.

I chased it down to the IPsec service. Each time I freed up a bit more space, according to the app manager, IPsec Service expanded to fill the void. At the time of writing, it’s now consuming a wholly excessive 1.64GB – but as I’ve read around about this problem I see reports from Galaxy S6 users who have lost over 4GB to this service’s insatiable appetite. On a clean install by the way, it’s taking up 388KB.

IPsec service run amok

As best we can tell, it’s due to some kind of memory leak in the IPsec service. This afflicts Android 5.0 – and as luck would have it, a few weeks ago I finally relented and upgraded my S5 to Lollipop. And it will be some time before the fix, in 5.1.1 is rolled out by my carrier – that’s if they ever do get round to it. The S5 is so last year, darling.

So what’s the workaround? Well, I wish I could give you good news. I’ve come up with nothing. This has taken me to the point of saying the heck with the warranty, I’m going to root it and flash a different ROM. What with this and the recent StageFright scare, it almost makes me want to move over to the Dark Side and buy an iPhone. Almost!

If you’ve found a more satisfactory solution, do let us know in the comments. Meanwhile, I’ll be getting to grips with CF-Auto-Root and finally releasing my handset from the whims of manufacturers and carriers. Wish me luck!

16GB Class 10 MicroSD card head-to-head shootout: SanDisk vs Kingston vs Transcend vs Samsung vs Toshiba

Fight!  Fight!  Fight!  Fight!
Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
There’s a lot of information and misinformation concerning SD technology, on the Internet. I’ve read a few conflicting theories about how many different companies actually manufacture SD cards and how many re-badge other companies’ kit. For your average consumer (and by this, I mean Dummy) though, this is all a bit of a red herring. Dummy wants to know (a) which card is fastest and (b) which card is best value for money. End of.

In order to separate the wheat from the chaff, we’ve picked 16GB Class 10 MicroSD cards (with full size adapters) from the top five brands out there: SanDisk, Transcend, Kingston, Toshiba and Samsung. We’re not too concerned with who made ’em; we just want to see which is the best package overall. To that end, we’ve benchmarked the cards in two different environments: firstly using a MicroSD card USB reader on a Windows PC and secondly on an Android mobile device. This gives us a really good idea of how these five cards perform in real-world scenarios.

MicroSD cards - the contenders
MicroSD cards – the contenders

If you can’t be bothered with all the stats and just want the summary (and we can’t blame you!), click here.

Test rig

eSecure All-in-1 USB card reader connected to HP Probook
eSecure All-in-1 USB card reader connected to HP Probook
Our Windows 7-based test rig consisted of an eSecure All-in-1 card reader connected to an excellent HP ProBook 6560b. The 6560b isn’t available any more by the way, but the 6570b is a worthy successor. Our test software was the venerable and well-respected CrystalDiskMark.

Our mobile device test rig consisted of the brilliant Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (replaced by the even more incredible Note 3). Using this phone we ran the handy app A1 SD Bench. It’s less comprehensive than CrystalDiskMark, but gives you a good feel for how the card performs in one of its most likely use cases – plugged into a smartphone or tablet.

The Tests

For our tests, we ran five passes of the benchmarks on each card. When a test run contained anomalous results (which could be down to processor blips or other irrelevant causes), we discarded the test and ran again. We then averaged the scores from the five clean passes. We think this gives us a pretty bulletproof set of scores.

We ran three distinct batteries of tests:

  1. 5 passes of CrystalDiskMark with the file size set to 1000MB
  2. 5 passes of CrystalDiskMark with the file size set to 50MB
  3. 5 passes of A1 SD Bench

The results are summarised in this image (click to enlarge):

SD Card Benchmark Analysis

This is worthy of some explanation! The bottom row of the table shows the “standard deviation”. You don’t need to understand statistics to get the point: if there’s not a lot of difference between the cards, you’ll see a small figure on this row. So for example in the sequential read tests, there’s very little difference between the cards (standard deviations of 0.12 and 0.18). In the case of a 50MB file written randomly in 512k chunks, there’s a huge variation – 5.97. If you look more closely at the column, you’ll see that the Samsung card clocked in at 15.2MB/s in this test, which is very good, while the Toshiba managed a paltry 1.3MB/s.

The bar chart overlays are fairly easy to follow, we hope. For each column, the card that has the biggest bar achieved the best speeds. This is most noticeable on columns with the largest deviation (512K random writes).

The price column is colour-coded going from red to green; expensive to cheap. “Expensive” is a relative term – there’s only £3.50 difference between the most expensive and least expensive cards here. Mind you, that means that the pricy SanDisk is over 40% more expensive than the modest Toshiba.

SanDisk MicroSD card - overpriced and over here
SanDisk MicroSD card – overpriced and over here
Let’s look at the SanDisk card for a moment. It’s considerably more expensive than the cheaper cards on test, so what do you get for your money? Well it actually performs worst on one of the tests (1000MB sequential write). If you’re working with video, that is going to be noticeable. The story’s better with random writes, but that seems to us to be a fairly “edge” scenario. It also does worst when being written to in an Android environment. All in all, not good. It certainly hasn’t justified its high price ticket. We were expecting a lot better from such a well known and respected manufacturer.

With generally narrow deviations, it’s hard to pick out an outstanding card, but if you can managed to stare at the figures a bit without your eyes glazing over, we do think a hero emerges.

Look at that Samsung card. Best at the 1000M sequential read. Best at the 1000MB sequential write. Second best at the 1000MB/512K random write and leading the pack for the 50MB/512K random write. In almost every test, it achieves consistently good results. It’s top dog when it comes to writing data and no slouch at reading it. All this and it’s the second cheapest.


Samsung MicroSD card - the winner
Samsung MicroSD card – the winner
If you’d like to mine the data we collected, you can download it here as a zipped Excel spreadsheet – this contains the raw data from all our tests – no less than 450 data points! Whatever you do, we think you’ll agree with us that in this class, the best value MicroSD card by far is the Samsung 16GB Class 10 MicroSD. There isn’t even a runner up in this contest; the remaining contenders are either too slow or too expensive.

Light sabre duel image copyright © Sean Dreilinger, licensed under Creative Commons. Used with permission.