TL;DR
  • Popular benchmark site Geekbench has removed OnePlus 9 benchmarks from its charts.
  • The removal is due to allegations that OnePlus designed Oxygen OS optimization tools in such a way that Geekbench views them as cheating.
  • This isn’t the first time OnePlus has been in hot water for benchmark cheating, although this time is less egregious than some others.

Updated, July 7, 2021 (01:55 PM ET): OnePlus contacted Android Authority to give a statement on the matter described below. Here is the statement in full:

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.

So far, Geekbench has not reinstated the previously removed OnePlus 9 benchmarks.


Original article, July 7, 2021 (11:16 AM ET): Yesterday, AnandTech posted some information about “weird behavior” it spotted with the OnePlus 9 Pro. According to the team’s research, Oxygen OS apparently limits the performance of some popular Android apps — but none of those apps are benchmark suites.

Related: OnePlus 9, OnePlus 9 Pro, and OnePlus 9R buyer’s guide: What you need to know

Geekbench, one of the more popular benchmarking sites, took these allegations seriously. After conducting its own investigation, Geekbench recently announced that it has removed all OnePlus 9 benchmarks from its charts.

Geekbench called Oxygen OS’s behavior a form of “benchmark manipulation.” OnePlus has yet to issue a statement on the matter.

OnePlus 9 benchmarks: What’s going on?

In some of our own testing, we found that AnandTech’s data is on the mark. We found that the OnePlus 9 series limits the performance of Google Chrome while older OnePlus phones do not. Check out the screenshots below, and note that the OnePlus 9 Pro does not throttle Microsoft Edge:

OnePlus is no stranger to benchmark manipulation. For the OnePlus 5, eagle-eyed users caught the company pushing the performance capabilities of its devices way up when the operating system detected a benchmark app. This resulted in artificially inflated scores that users would not see during real-world usage.

This situation is different from that, though. Here, OnePlus appears to be limiting the performance of certain apps, likely in an attempt to conserve battery power. This isn’t a problem, but the fact that benchmark apps are not also affected by these optimizations misrepresents what the user will actually experience with the phone. In other words, it’s not blatant cheating but still could give a false impression to a potential buyer if they just looked at OnePlus 9 benchmarks.