OnePlus 5 Review Units Found Cheating In Benchmark Apps, OnePlus Responds With Details

If you’ve noticed any of the reviews of the OnePlus 5 that were posted on the internet yesterday, a common theme that was presented was the device’s incredible speed. There’s no question that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 is responsible for part of the performance perks, but many also attributed the up to 8GB of RAM for contributing to the lightning fast speeds of the OnePlus 5.

However, XDA Developers has discovered another reason for the OnePlus 5’s excellent benchmark performance. Apparently, OnePlus is cheating by enabling functionality within the ROM to identify when a benchmark is running. According to the site, the ROM keeps a list of the package IDs of popular benchmarks, flagging them when they run so that the CPU cores can run at sustained peak frequencies.

oneplus 5 2

“The ROM would alter the frequency in relation to an adjusted CPU load — our tools showed CPU load would drop to 0% regardless of obvious activity within the application, and the CPU would see a near-minimum frequency of 1.29GHz in the big cores and 0.98GHz in the little cores,” writes XDA Developers. “This minimum frequency reduced the effective frequency range, which in turn reduced the number of step frequencies; in benchmarks, this resulted in slightly lower variance and, as we showed, higher sustained performance as the higher minimum frequency could not be overridden by thermal throttling.”

OnePlus singled out the following apps for its nefarious benchmark cheating:

  • AnTuTu
  • Androbench
  • Geekbench 4
  • GFXBench
  • Quadrant
  • Nenamark 2
  • Vellamo

For a visual representation of how this benchmark cheating looks, here’s a plot of GeekBench 4 running on the OnePlus 5’s little cluster:

geekbench4 cheating

Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time that OnePlus has been called out for benchmark manipulation, which makes its return to such tomfoolery rather surprising. For its part, OnePlus issued the following statement to XDA Developers:

People use benchmark apps in order to ascertain the performance of their device, and we want users to see the true performance of the OnePlus 5. Therefore, we have allowed benchmark apps to run in a state similar to daily usage, including the running of resource intensive apps and games. Additionally, when launching apps the OnePlus 5 runs at a similar state in order to increase the speed in which apps open. We are not overclocking the device, rather we are displaying the performance potential of the OnePlus 5.

We don’t know in what world OnePlus lives in where running the processor full-tilt constantly represents real-world use, but that’s the company’s explanation and it is sticking to it.