OnePlus has stirred up a lot of news in 2021. From several product announcements to a back-end merger with Oppo, the company has had a lot of attention this year. But a very recent report has shone light on some potential shady practices with how the OnePlus 9 Pro handles applications.
In the report, Anandtech notes some strange behavior while running a browser benchmark, which resulted in a very low result for a Snapdragon 888. This led to diving deeper into what the phone was doing, and Anandtech found what appears to be some kind of blacklist for certain apps where they're not allowed to access the 888's full power.
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Many popular apps, including the Office suite, Google apps, and many others, were blocked from using the processor's bigger cores. However, benchmark apps (like Geekbench) are apparently excluded from this blacklist, allowing it full access to the Snapdragon 888. It's because of this that Geekbench has delisted the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro from its chart. You can read the statement below.
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/G40wmWeg7oJuly 6, 2021
It remains unknown if OnePlus did this for battery optimization purposes, though that's the going theory. OnePlus has previously done some other things in its OxygenOS skin in the name of improving battery life, sometimes to the detriment of the user experience.
We reached out to OnePlus for comment, and here's the response we received.
"Our top priority is always delivering a great user experience with our products, based in part on acting quickly on important user feedback. Following the launch of the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro in March, some users told us about some areas where we could improve the devices’ battery life and heat management. As a result of this feedback, our R&D team has been working over the past few months to optimize the devices’ performance when using many of the most popular apps, including Chrome, by matching the app’s processor requirements with the most appropriate power. This has helped to provide a smooth experience while reducing power consumption. While this may impact the devices’ performance in some benchmarking apps, our focus as always is to do what we can to improve the performance of the device for our users."