HTC holds its hands up to tweaking benchmarking scores for the new HTC One (M8) but calls it a feature of the phone.
In the world of smartphone reviews, benchmarking proves a powerful tool, used to size up the raw power and efficiency of a handset’s key hardware. It’s getting more difficult to take benchmarking results as fact however, as manufacturers tweak or doctor their devices to serve up higher scores than they can truly muster in real-world situtations.
Whilst the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 have previously been caught in the act, this time HTC is the offender, as two versions of the popular AnTuTu benchmarking app turned up very different results when the company’s new flagship One (M8) was sized up alongside the other top superphones.
The team at CNET.com posted the scores the HTC One (M8) achieved in both AnTuTu 4 and AnTuTu X, the second app having been designed to try and thwart devices that take things up a gear when they detect any benchmarking apps sniffing around. Whilst AnTuTu 4 set the M8 well above the Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2 and LG G Pro 2, the scores from AnTuTu X actually placed it at the bottom of the this high-powered leader board.
When HTC was asked directly what exactly was going on, the company pushed out this statement.
“Thanks for your email about the HTC One (M8). Benchmarking tests look to determine maximum performance of the CPU and GPU and, similar to the engine in a high-performance sports car, our engineers optimize in certain scenarios to produce the best possible performance. If someone would like to get around this benchmarking optimization there are ways to do so, but we think most often this will not be the case.“
Not only does the Taiwanese phone maker admit to optimising the phone for benchmarking environments, but it bills this ‘High Performance Mode’ as a feature of the handset, designed to bowl us over when we press the ‘go’ button. Most of the time however, the phone takes a more balanced approach to resource management, weighing up performance versus battery drain.
“For those with a need for speed, we’ve provided a simple way to unleash this power by introducing a new High Performance Mode in the developer settings that can be enabled and disabled manually. The HTC One (M8) is optimized to provide the best balance of performance and battery life, but we believe in offering customer choice, as there may be times when the desire for performance outweighs the need for battery longevity.“
Do you think HTC has skewed honest results offered up by its new star player, or would you rather know how high it can push those benchmarking numbers to see what the silicon under the hood is really capable of?
Having used the HTC One (M8) in the real world, we can attest to the impressive speed of the user experience and its fluidity over pretty much everything in the market right now, but the potential for phoney results is a little unsettling.
Don’t forget to check out our full review, right here.