Samsung is the latest Android phone manufacturer to be suspected of throttling popular...

nanoguy

Posts: 1,217   +21
Staff member
Why it matters: Some people may remember how OnePlus got delisted from Geekbench for manipulating benchmark results and then throttling popular apps and games that were being run on its phones. A similar issue has been observed on some Galaxy phones, but it’s unclear whether Samsung deliberately chose to do this to make its devices look better on paper.

Samsung’s Galaxy S22 phone lineup launched to generally positive reviews, with a familiar design, improved internals, and a gorgeous display being the highlights. However, the software side of things has always been a bit of a mixed bag on Galaxy phones, and this time is likely no different.

According to several reports, the Korean giant may have been limiting the performance of a large number of apps on some Galaxy phones. As noted by Android Authority, over the past few years some manufacturers have used this technique as a way to improve battery life and prevent the SoC from overheating, not to mention manipulate benchmark results.

The issue was first brought into focus by YouTuber and Twitter user GaryeonHan and confirmed on Korean social media by several Galaxy users. Apparently, no less than 10,000 apps are affected, most of them games, which are known to be more demanding on phone hardware. The list also includes apps like Netflix, Microsoft Office, TikTok, Spotify, YouTube Music and Instagram, as well as some of Samsung’s own apps such as Samsung Pay, Bixby, and Secure Folder.

In a demonstrative video, GaryeonHan shows how apps on the list are being prevented from accessing the full hardware capabilities of Galaxy phones by Samsung’s so-called Game Optimizing Service (GOS). Meanwhile, benchmarking apps like Antutu, 3DMark, GFXBench, and GeekBench 5 are allowed to run without any artificial performance limits. This prompted backlash on Samsung’s forums from many users who discovered they’ve been affected by the issue.

A recent post on Naver suggests Samsung is currently investigating the GOS issue, so it won’t be long before we’ll see an official position on the matter.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 2,212   +4,254
I am genuinely unsure of what anyone would want to do with a modern flagship when even a mid range phone from 3 or 4 years ago is basically the exact same experience when it comes to using apps and such.

Games? Well they're throttled. Refresh rates? Yeah those be nice to have...For games which as we discussed, are throttled anyway just play on a console or pc.

The only features I have some interest are stuff like the desktop modes some of these phones have as I could potentially use stuff like that for productivity but they're not worth 1200 USD when a 300 or 400 usd midranger that came out a few years ago will do most of the phone stuff you'd want: Check social media and messaging, some videos and music, misc stuff like 2 factor Auth if you're someone who doesn't constantly loses or damages phones (And most people *do* constantly destroy them so 2 factor for them is not very reliable) and some of the more common use stuff we have been railroaded into just using as a fact of life like uber and doordash.
 

eforce

Posts: 961   +1,382
Flagships no longer offer considerable gains in performance; the sweet spot for phones is about 1/3 of the price of flagships.
 

brucek

Posts: 1,129   +1,671
Pretty much any silicon could be driven the point where it's heat, energy usage, and/or stability are no longer acceptable. "Throttling" to keep the overall device within its design envelope is a core function of the O/S and lower level layers. So to me the scandal isn't that devices do that, it's more that they are specifically not doing that on known benchmark apps in an attempt to defraud consumers of how they perform more generally.

btw I suspect my local cable co may be doing something similar with network traffic to speedtest.net.
 

ZackL04

Posts: 793   +600
Pretty much any silicon could be driven the point where it's heat, energy usage, and/or stability are no longer acceptable. "Throttling" to keep the overall device within its design envelope is a core function of the O/S and lower level layers. So to me the scandal isn't that devices do that, it's more that they are specifically not doing that on known benchmark apps in an attempt to defraud consumers of how they perform more generally.

btw I suspect my local cable co may be doing something similar with network traffic to speedtest.net.

I wouldnt doubt the ISP throttling. Ive got Mediacom, worst company ever, I bet they do it too.
 

brucek

Posts: 1,129   +1,671
Do any of these benchmarks have a mode where you set it to run all out on a full charge and then the final score is how much work gets done by the time the battery dies? This would prevent the phone from being able to cheat the score by temporarily ignoring energy / heat / stability concerns.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,218   +1,113
Already the latest SD SOC is showing up poorly in tests hot on the heels of the SD888 rubbish. Maybe Qualcomm should give up on making flagship phone SoC. They need to be in much larger devices to control heat.