OnePlus has had to respond to an investigation that has revealed strange behavior in its latest high-end models, the OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9. These phones work better when using ‘benchmark’ apps, but they work worse with real applications of the user.
The scandal jumped when the Anandtech medium discovered strange performance figures , depending on the app they used; in some cases they got very good scores, and in others, very bad. Analyzing the use of the Snapdragon 888 processor that these models use, they found that many applications were not capable of using all the cores.
The Snapdragon 888, like most mobile processors, does not have all the same cores; some are more powerful than others, but also consume more battery. In this specific case, the 888 only has one core clocked at 2.84 GHz, three cores that go to 2.42 GHz, and four cores that go to 1.80 GHz. The operating system can assign different cores to each app and function, depending on whether the priority is pure power or getting more battery.
But in the case of OnePlus, its Android-based OxygenOS system seems to have a “blacklist” of apps that have restricted the use of cores. The most extreme case was that of the Google Chrome browser, which is limited to using only the least powerful cores of the processor. As a result, tests with this browser gave very poor results. Other popular apps, such as WhatsApp and Microsoft’s Office, are also on the list.
By itself, this would not be so controversial; is a way to improve battery life, assigning cores that are not very powerful, but also consume very little. There are two problems: the lack of transparency of OnePlus, and that there are some apps that do not suffer this discrimination.
The benchmarks, not affected
In particular, the most popular benchmark apps are not limited in the same way and therefore can get the best results . Benchmarks are synthetic tests in which the app measures the performance of the mobile in different tasks; They serve as a measuring stick to compare with other models. Users looking for the most powerful mobile pay a lot of attention to the benchmark score to know which model to buy.
However, OnePlus allows benchmark apps to use the more powerful cores of the Snapdragon 888, something that commonly used apps do not. Therefore, the user experience does not coincide with the score obtained , and according to what is read on social networks, many users consider this misleading.
They are not the only ones. Geekbench, creators of one of the most popular benchmark apps, did an independent investigation, after which they decided to kick the OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9 off their platform. They accuse OnePlus of manipulating the results to obtain better scores; that would make their phones more attractive to users looking for power.
It’s disappointing to see OnePlus handsets making performance decisions based on application identifiers rather than application behavior. We view this as a form of benchmark manipulation. We’ve delisted the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro from our Android Benchmark chart. https://t.co/G40wmWeg7o
OnePlus has publicly responded to the controversy, but this response has focused on justifying the limitation to apps like Chrome to improve the battery of the device . The company does not refer to the expulsion of Geekbench, nor does it explain why the benchmark apps were not affected in the same way to reflect the actual use of the device.
“Our top priority is always to deliver a great user experience on our products, based in part on acting quickly on user concerns. After the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro launched in March, some users alerted us to some areas where that we could improve battery life and heat management.
As a result, our team has worked in recent months to optimize device performance while using popular apps, including Chrome, adjusting processor requirements with the most appropriate power. This has helped provide a smooth experience while reducing battery consumption.
This may impact device performance in some benchmark apps.but our focus is always on doing what we can to improve device performance for our users. “
This is just the latest controversy in 2021 that is proving to be very difficult for OnePlus, which was once considered the ‘salvation’ of the sector.
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