Today we learn that the popular Geekbench benchmark removed the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro from its device database, after learning that the company manipulated the results.
This manipulation has caused the most popular apps to see their performance deliberately limited by the system, probably in an attempt to maximize battery life. Although, reference applications are not subject to these limitations.
Now the company responded by issuing a statement:
Our top priority is always delivering a great user experience with our products, based in part on acting quickly on important user feedback. Following the launch of the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro in March, some users told us about some areas where we could improve the devices’ battery life and heat management. As a result of this feedback, our R&D team has been working over the past few months to optimize the devices’ performance when using many of the most popular apps, including Chrome, by matching the app’s processor requirements with the most appropriate power. This has helped to provide a smooth experience while reducing power consumption. While this may impact the devices’ performance in some benchmarking apps, our focus as always is to do what we can to improve the performance of the device for our users.
As discovered by AnandTech, OxygenOS does not allow the most popular applications, including its system applications, to use the “main” core of the Snapdragon 888 chipset.
This performance limitation appears to be imposed by a blacklist, although the search did not find the actual list in the code.
However, after dozens of applications tested, the evidence is quite clear: Unless an app is unknown, any app on your OnePlus 9/9 Pro will automatically see its performance limited, simply because it is that app and not because of its behavior.
The latter is why Geekbench considered this a manipulation of the benchmark., though not in the traditional sense. In the past, many companies were caught unlocking special high-performance modes when their phones were running benchmarks.
The method used by OnePlus here is just the opposite, but the result is the same: the phone will use “more” hardware in the benchmarks, not in the apps you might use every day.