Friday, September 7, 2018

Huawei phones delisted by 3DMark after being caught fudging benchmark scores

In a detailed blow-by-blow account, AnandTech revealed how Huawei phones have been over performing on benchmark tests and now, the company behind popular smartphone benchmarking app 3D Mark has delisted the Huawei phones caught cheating. UL, the company behind 3D Mark has delisted the Huawei P20 Pro, P20, Nova 3 and the Honor Play from its rankings. The website also notes that the “manufacturer has not complied with UL benchmark rules.” The results of the phones have been removed from the database as well. AnandTech learned that the Huawei P20 smartphone has software programmed to maximise performance especially when running 3DMark, by ignoring thermal constraints. That resulted in a high benchmark score, which wouldn’t reflect in real-world situations. 3D Mark tested AnandTech’s findings independently with its own internal version of the benchmark app, the phone couldn’t detect the benchmark and posted visibly lower scores. It indicated that the Huawei P20 wasn’t as powerful as the company claimed to be. That's the difference between the fudged scores and the actual scores, according to 3DMark Phones these days have algorithms to detect when high-computation is required and allocates resources dynamically. However, in this case, Huawei had trained its phones to detect benchmarking apps specifically and shoot up the performance beyond thermal constraints. In a statement to Android Authority, Huawei admitted to the activity and defended it saying, “Huawei – as the industry leader – is willing to work with partners to find the best benchmarking standards that can accurately evaluate the user experience.” This isn’t the first time a manufacturer has been caught fudging benchmark scores. Samsung did in 2013 and OnePlus, Meizu, and Oppo were also caught cheating on benchmarks.  While reviewing the Realme 1 earlier this year, we noticed that it also posted unusually high benchmark scores, and upon investigation, we found that it kept the all the cores running at peak speed no matter what the load on the CPU was. For Huawei though, the blow couldn’t have come at a worse time. Just a few days back, the company was caught passing off a DSLR photo as one taken by one of its phones. Now that the phones are delisted, the P20 Pro, P20, Nova 3 and the Honor Play will all show in the bottom of the rankings without scores. Huawei also claimed that the phone’s AI co-processors are smart enough to detect what app is running and optimise performance based on that. Turns out, that’s not the case. It only goes on to prove how unreliable and misleading marketing jargon can be for the end user.

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