OnePlus 9 Plus throttles performance of popular apps

Posted on Thursday, Jul 08 2021 @ 14:37 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
AnandTech discovered there's something strange going on with the performance of the OnePlus 9 Pro flagship phone. This new device seems to be performing a lot faster in benchmarks than in regular applications. Rather than the typical benchmark cheating, the OnePlus 9 Pro uses a blacklist that throttles the performance of common applications like Chrome, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

More obscure applications, as well as benchmarks, are not on the blacklist. AnandTech concludes that pretty much any app that has some sort of popularity in the Google Play Store is throttled in terms of performance. Video games and benchmarks seem to be the only exception.

The site concludes this is a pretty weird situation that makes it hard to judge the true performance of this phone. Compared with other high-end phones, AnandTech concludes the OnePlus 9 Pro is noticeably less responsive. The reporter believes OnePlus implemented this system, which limits use of the Snapdragon 888's most powerful cores, to get longer battery life:
The only sensible rationale for such a decision is to improve a device’s power efficiency and battery life. The OnePlus 9 Pro, even though it advertises itself as using the latest LTPO OLED technology as Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra for example, still suffers from notably worse power characteristics and worse power efficiency. In our web-browsing battery life test, even with this performance crippling mechanism in place, with both devices at 120Hz under the same test conditions, the OnePlus 9 Pro achieves 11.75 hours of runtime, versus the S21 Ultra’s 13.98 hours, the latter which runs at the SoC’s full performance potential. I’ll be running the same test within an undetected browser such as Vivaldi to see what it ends up at – but I suspect it’ll be notably worse for the OP9Pro.
Below is a test performed by AnandTech that shows the performance of Geekbench 5 on the OnePlus 9 Pro. First are the scores using the official APK and next are the scores achieved when the benchmark presents itself as "Twitter". In the second case, the test scores are significantly lower.


About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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