What just happened? OnePlus’ flagship phones, the 9 and 9 Pro launched to favorable reviews earlier this year, however, AnandTech’s deep dive into the latter’s performance revealed that the phone was throttling performance in popular apps in an apparent effort to boost efficiency and battery life. That’s led to Geekbench delisting both the standard 9 and 9 Pro models from its benchmark database.
The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro may undercut flagship competitors in pricing, but it seems that the devices aren’t offering owners the full-fledged performance of their powerful Snapdragon 888 SoCs.
In performance testing of the OnePlus 9 Pro, AnandTech discovered the phone to be aggressively throttling performance in dozens of popular apps including all of Google’s apps, Microsoft Office, mainstream web browsers, social media apps, and even OnePlus’ own first-party apps.
Essentially, OnePlus’ throttling mechanisms prevent workloads from utilizing the SD888’s high-performance Cortex X-1 core, as it shifts them to lower-powered cores while running at reduced clock speeds. Weirdly, this behavior was only observed when running popular Play Store apps, and found to be absent in case of alternative/less well-known apps.
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
— Geekbench (@geekbench) July 6, 2021
Geekbench has also taken note of this development and subsequently delisted the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro from its Android benchmark list, terming it as ‘a form of benchmark manipulation.’ The only OnePlus 9 model currently listed is the SD870-powered ‘R’ version.
Although OnePlus hasn’t responded to the controversy, it appears that the company employed these performance-limiting measures to ensure better battery life and efficiency. It’s a compromise one would expect on a mid-range/budget device, but certainly seems out of place in a 2021 flagship phone.