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Here's what Xiaomi says about throttling claims on its phones (Updated)

Update: Xiaomi has now confirmed that it uses 'temperature control strategies' on its phones.
By
April 1, 2022
xiaomi mi 11 in hand
Zarif Ali / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • The co-founder of the popular Geekbench app has claimed that Xiaomi is throttling performance.
  • Xiaomi seems to be throttling benchmark apps disguised as games but running them at full speed otherwise.
  • The company has since confirmed that it applies “temperature control strategies” on its phones.

Update: April 1, 2022 (5:56 AM ET): Xiaomi has come back to us after we asked the company to comment on claims that its devices throttle games but not benchmark apps. The company has essentially confirmed that it slows down performance but explained that it still offers various performance modes.

You can view the statement sent to Android Authority below:

Xiaomi applies temperature control strategies to ensure optimal product experience, particularly with demanding applications commonly used for extended periods. In many of our devices, we offer three performance modes, enabling users to adjust the balance of performance and power efficiency. At a system level, all optimizations related to application performance weigh many essential factors, such as power consumption, performance, and thermal impact.

We’ve asked the company why benchmark apps weren’t subjected to the same “temperature control strategies” as games and will update the article if/when it gets back to us.

Original article: March 28, 2022 (6:31 AM ET): Samsung was in the news recently after it emerged that the company was forcibly throttling a variety of games but not slowing down benchmark apps. This came a year after OnePlus was found to be doing something similar, and now it looks like Xiaomi could be joining the party too.

Geekbench co-founder John Poole claimed on Twitter that Xiaomi is also throttling performance based on app names. More specifically, he found that disguising the Geekbench benchmarking app as the popular Fortnite game resulted in single-core performance scores dropping by a massive 30%. Meanwhile, multi-core scores apparently dropped by 15%.

Poole added that he saw similarly hobbled behavior when the Geekbench app was disguised as Genshin Impact. This all suggests that Xiaomi is throttling games (it remains to be seen if other apps are affected) presumably in the name of heating concerns and to improve battery life.

It’s not unheard of smartphone brands to throttle demanding apps due to these reasons, but the lack of transparency here once again is disappointing. The fact that Xiaomi doesn’t appear to throttle benchmarks also makes for a bad look, as these benchmark results wouldn’t reflect the real-world experience.

This isn’t actually the first time claims of app-based throttling were leveled against Xiaomi, as Anandtech tested the Xiaomi 11T Pro last year and reported similar behavior. But Poole’s test comes amid renewed scrutiny of the practice after industry juggernaut Samsung faced criticism for the same issue. Samsung eventually announced an update for the Galaxy S22 series to offer a performance priority mode in its Game Launcher.

We’ve asked Xiaomi to confirm its throttling practices and for comment on its apparent decision to let benchmark apps run unthrottled. We’ll update the article if/when the company gets back to us.