OnePlus is now at the heart of a major scandal after it was discovered that the company’s latest phones, the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro, have been stifling popular apps in an effort to conserve battery life.
Originally discovered by AnandTech, real world usage of apps such as Twitch, Strava, Uber and Netflix doesn’t match up with the benchmark results provided by Geekbench.
To tackle the controversy head-on, OnePlus has now released the following statement:
“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 optimise the devices’ performance when using 300 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.”
At this point however the damage has already been done, with Geekbench having removed the OnePlus 9 phones from its database.
It's disappointing to see OnePlus handsets making performance decisions based on application identifiers rather than application behavior. We view this as a form of benchmark manipulation. We've delisted the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro from our Android Benchmark chart. https://t.co/G40wmWeg7o— Geekbench (@geekbench) July 6, 2021
The whole affair rings familiar of the Apple scandal from some years back, where suspicions of older phones becoming slower over time were confirmed, forcing Apple to admit that its practices were done in the name of prolonging battery life.
Given that the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro are brand new devices, throttling speeds so early on seems like an absurd idea, and there’s no telling what this might do to OnePlus’ reputation and consumer attitudes towards its next flagship devices.