OnePlus 9 benchmark leak reveals a bad surprise

OnePlus 8T review
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Early benchmarks for what looks like next year's OnePlus 9 flagship have popped up on the Geekbench phone testing site. And while the numbers are not going to impress anyone — and fall way behind the iPhone 12 —  it's a little early to be pressing the panic button just yet.

The OnePlus 9 should be a step forward from this year's OnePlus flagships, which include the OnePlus 8 Pro released in spring and the recently unveiled OnePlus 8T. Those two phones featured a Snapdragon 865 chipset while rumors point to next year's release running on the still-to-be-announced Snapdragon 875.

As spotted by Notebook Check, there are two Geekbench listings for phones that match the description of the OnePlus 9 and the 1.8GHz, 8-core chip inside the mystery phones would seem to be the Snapdragon 875. If so, the scores are dramatically lower than what you might expect.

The best result turned in by the alleged OnePlus 9 shows a single-core score of 1,122 and a multicore score of 2,733 on Geekbench 5. While that single-core score improves on the numbers turned in by OnePlus' recent flagships, the multicore result is worse than what we saw from both the OnePlus 8T and OnePlus 8 Pro. Those phones had multicore scores of 3,203 and 3,379, respectively.

The best result we've gotten on Geekbench 5 has come from Apple's new iPhones, where the iPhone 12 mini posted a multicore score of 4,123. Needless to say, that's much better than what the rumored OnePlus 9 posted to the Geekbench site.

We'd caution against reading too much into this early benchmarking number. Besides the fact that it's easy to post doctored numbers to the site, it's also early days for OnePlus' next phone. Early tests that crop up on benchmarking sites often reflect early versions of both the phone and the components running it. This result came from a phone featuring 8GB of RAM, and it's a likelihood that OnePlus will pack in more memory if recent releases are any indication. The Qualcomm chipset used in this early test may also not have been optimized to max out performance.

Another reason to avoid drawing any conclusions from these numbers — both the chipset and the phone it's powering are still very much on the drawing board. Assuming OnePlus sticks to its usual six-month pattern of rolling out new flagship phones, we're not going to see the OnePlus 9 until the March/April time frame. And the Snapdragon 875 likely won't appear until the end of 2020 at the earliest.

When Qualcomm does show off its next generation chip, we'll likely hear about a number of improvements that aren't limited to just performance. But on that front, we'd expect to see gains in performance, graphics speed and energy efficiency over the Snapdragon 865 that will likely be reflected in future benchmarks.

As for the OnePlus 9, these early Geekbench results follow closely behind leaked CAD renders of the new phone that recently appeared. That leak suggests a larger display than what OnePlus included with the 6.55-inch 8T and that the screen will have a fast 120Hz refresh rate. Expect more OnePlus 9 info to start trickling out as we get closer to the new year.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.