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OnePlus admits throttling top Android apps and there may be trouble ahead

OnePlus has admitted to throttling the performance of more than 300 high profile Android apps, in order to optimise the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro battery life.

An expose from AnAndTech yesterday found the the real life performance of the OnePlus 9 series did not match the benchmarks.

That was because OnePlus has compiled a list of top apps – such as Chrome, Twitter, Instagram, Office, Zoom, YouTube, TikTok, Discord and Strava – which are being prevented from reaching their peak capabilities.

The report speculated that OnePlus wasn’t necessarily doing this to cheat benchmarking tests, which can be a reliable indicator of a phone’s overall performance and a metric power users play close attention to.

Rather, the site believed, OnePlus was doing this to eek a bit more battery life out of the phones. The firm has now admitted that’s the case in a statement. It says it has been working to “match the app’s processor requirements with the most appropriate power.”

Overall, it’s a terrible look for the company that has built its reputation on “flagship killer” phones offering the top Snapdragon processors for a little less than top dollar.

The full statement reads as follows:

“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.”

As a result Geekbench, the makers of the most famous benchmarking software out there, says it has delisted the OnePlus 9 Pro series, with other handsets liable to follow if investigations confirm this is a common practice.

In a tweet, Geekbench wrote: “It’s disappointing to see OnePlus handsets making performance decisions based on application identifiers rather than application behaviour. We view this as a form of benchmark manipulation. We’ve delisted the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro from our Android Benchmark chart.”

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