Oppo caught cheating in benchmark tests

By on
October 22, 2018
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Not long after Huawei was accused on graphics benchmark tests with its flagship handsets, Oppo has been found guilty of exactly the same transgression. According to UL Benchmarks (the company behind 3DMark), Oppo was artificially boosting the performance of two of its handsets – Find X and F7. The two phones have now been delisted from 3DMark’s benchmark leaderboard for the same reason. When UL Benchmarks compared the results from the public 3DMark test to its private version (which is functionally identical but has a different name), the benchmarking company found the outcome to be significantly different.

One of the most basic rules that UL imposes is that phones shouldn’t use a special performance mode just because it detects that a benchmark, like its 3DMark, is running. “We found that the scores from the public 3DMark app were up to 41% higher than the scores from the private app, even though the tests are identical,” UL Benchmarks revealed.

OPPO’s response

Oppo acknowledged that it always stepped things up when it detected games or 3D Benchmarks that required high performance, but claimed that any app would run with maximum speed if the user tapped on the screen every few seconds to signal the actions. UL, however, rejected the justifications citing it was clear that Oppo was looking for the benchmark by name and not the extra processing load involved, according to the outfit. Moreover, tapping wouldn’t be an effective solution if Oppo treated apps equally — you couldn’t get consistent results.

The Chinese OEM says it does this for games too and the performance mode allows its chip to run at full power. With other apps, it has a “power optimization” mode where system performance it throttled to 70-80% if it doesn’t detect any user input for 5 to 10 seconds. Tapping on the screen “wakes up” the processor again. Unfortunately, that’s not how automated benchmarks work and UL is not impressed.

While UL does allow for phones to optimize performance under heavy demand, it regards changing the mode simply by detecting app names as cheating. It has thus removed the two phones from its list but OPPO promises it will be making some changes to its system soon. Oppo did indicate that it might change and was planning on “upgrading the system” and trying to “distinguish” between the demands of everyday apps and what users wanted. However, the company didn’t strictly promise that it would stop cheating. Previously, HTC, Huawei, Samsung, and other manufacturers have also cheated in the benchmark tests.

 
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