Remember how Android OEMs were once caught boosting the performance of their devices beyond a certain threshold whenever the software detected that a benchmark was running? The move led to the likes of Samsung and OnePlus receiving a lot of criticism from the Android community but since then these companies have mended their ways. Huawei, however, has been caught doing the same thing again.
An AnandTech report details how some of the company’s flagship devices like the Huawei P20, P20 Pro, Honor Play, and Nova 3 were entering into an overdrive mode when running popular benchmarks like 3D Mark. This led to the handsets scoring higher than what they would usually score thereby giving users a false impression of their performance. Not to mention, by entering into this overdrive mode, other critical factors like power efficiency and heating of these chipsets went for a toss.
As the report shows, the Honor Play featuring Huawei’s Kirin 970 chipset managed 66.54fps in GFX Bench’s T-Rex benchmark when the benchmark detection feature of the handset was circumvented. The phone had an average power consumption of 4.39W in this mode. When using the Google Play version of the benchmark though, the Honor Play went into overdrive mode and managed 127.36fps — almost double of what it managed while running the game in normal mode. It is important to note that this increase in performance came at the cost of average power consumption shooting up to a staggering 8.57W. The higher power consumption not only affects the chipset’s life but also ends up generating a lot of heat.
Post the report, UL — the creators of 3DMark — decided to list all four Huawei/Honor phones caught cheating in benchmarks: the Huawei P20, P20 Pro, Honor Play, and Nova 3. Huawei has now issued a statement of its own saying it has “reached a positive agreement” with UL on how they can work together.
It says that its latest devices make use of AI to allocate resources for more demanding tasks and to allow for its devices to flex their muscles to the fullest. However, this hidden “Performance mode” which is automatically activated while running a game goes against UL’s rules. So, Huawei will now be offering users the option to enable “Performance Mode” as a part of EMUI 9.0. Under this mode, the devices will perform at their very best capabilities to help quickly finish demanding workloads. It is only after Huawei provides all its existing devices with access to the Performance mode that UL will list all the delisted devices again on its platform.