Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus finally unveiled its flagship OnePlus 5 handset yesterday, and the early reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Publications praised its speed, specs, software, and comparatively low price, but the company has come under fire for claims that it has once again used code in the review units to manipulate benchmark scores.
In January this year, XDA Developers reported that OnePlus and Meizu were artificially boosting the benchmark scores of the OnePlus 3T and Meizu Pro 6 Plus by causing the systems to run at higher than normal CPU speeds when they detected a benchmark tool was running.
OnePlus said it would fix the issue in the next update of OxygenOS (the custom version of Android found in its smartphones). But XDA Developers claim the company is up to its old tricks once again with the OnePlus 5.
“… it [the OnePlus 5] resorts to the kind of obvious, calculated cheating mechanisms we saw in flagships in the early days of Android, an approach that is clearly intended to maximize scores in the most misleading fashion,” the publication notes.
“While there are no governor switches when a user enters a benchmark (at least, we can't seem to see that's the case), the minimum frequency of the little cluster jumps to the maximum frequency as seen under performance governors. All little cores are affected and kept at 1.9GHz, and it is through this cheat that OnePlus achieves some of the highest GeekBench 4 scores of a Snapdragon 835 to date.”
When XDA contacted OnePlus, the company gave the following statement: “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.”
Contrary to what OnePlus is stating, the handset’s CPU is boosted only when certain benchmark tools are being run. This doesn’t happen in apps that aren't targetted by the boosts, meaning it's not representative of the kind of performance owners will see during daily usage.
The OnePlus 5 is still a great, well-priced phone, and it could even be the case that the issue won't be present in the consumer units. We’ll just have to wait and see whether the revelations affect sales of the handset, which can now be preordered and will be available starting June 27.