Oppo is the latest smartphone company to be called out for cheating on benchmarks. Companies are desperate to be on top within the fierce competition. Cheaters may or may not win, depending on how their attempt plays out. But they typically don’t lose anything due to their cheating. It is really easy to cheat on benchmark tests. This has become a huge epidemic in the tech industry. Every once in a while news surfaces of a brand trying to cheat the benchmarks
It is not just smartphone manufacturers either who are complicit in cheating the benchmarks. In 2009, Intel was caught doing the same thing. Wherever there is a specs battle between powerful competitors in the tech world, it is almost certain that at least one of the participants is cheating to produce better results. Two of Oppo’s devices, including its flagship Find X, have been delisted from 3DMark’s benchmark leaderboard for cheating on the benchmarks.
UL says that Oppo admitted that it was specifically identifying 3DMark. “When we detect that the user is running applications like games or 3D Benchmarks that require high performance, we allow the SoC to run at full speed for the smoothest experience”, said Oppo.
How Did They Do It?
The phones were programmed to recognize the 3DMark app from the Google Play Store by name and then allocate system resources to ensure a better score. UL, the company that makes 3DMark, tested the devices again with a private version of 3DMark. Reportedly, the phones were scoring up to 41 percent higher with the publicly available app. This was surprising as the benchmarking tests were identical on both the apps.
UL’s benchmarking rules allow for phones to optimize performance by detecting heavier workloads. This does not include specifically looking out for the name of the app and then optimizing based on that. As such, UL is delisting the two Oppo devices in question and moving them without scores to the bottom of its benchmarking list. This is particularly a big blow for the Find X. It was previously ranked fourth on the leaderboard for the 3DMark’s Sling Shot Extreme performance test.
That’s different from how Oppo explains that its devices handle computationally demanding apps it doesn’t recognize by name, and they simply use the default power optimization strategy. In Oppo’s case, that means limiting performance to between 70 and 80 percent and only offering full power when the user interacts with it. At the end of the day, consumers should ignore benchmark claims. Firstly, there is enough general cheating within the benchmark community that there is no reason to trust any of them. Second, even when the benchmarks are honest, they only tell a small part of the performance story. As a consumer, you’re better off avoiding the benchmarks completely.