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Benchmark Cheating: The Story Behind OnePlus, Meizu And Others

OnePlus 3T and Meizu Pro 6 Plus have recently caught red-handed by the XDA Developers for benchmark cheating. Both the handsets were found to artificially boost benchmark scores to woo consumers. While this is undeniably unethical, it is nothing new in the smartphone industry. In the past, many reputed mobile manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, HTC, and LG have been caught for the same malpractice.

Quite naturally, this was not taken lightly by the geek community. All these manufacturers received a lot of negative response for this unscrupulous tweaking. Eventually, most of them accepted their wrongdoing and stopped doing it. However, the recent incidents involving OnePlus and Meizu brought the issue to limelight once again. Here we will tell you the story of benchmark cheating.

Why Cheat On Benchmarks?

The answer is very simple. Superior benchmark scores indicate better performance. All the companies doing this aim to woo users by boasting the artificially inflated results. Unfortunately, this apparently works most of the times as the consumers are easily fooled.

How Is It Done?

Benchmark cheating usually works by artificially forcing the system to deliver the best possible performance for a short period of time. This done by compelling the CPU, GPU and RAM to run at their maximum frequency and loosen up the thermal controlling.

At first, a smartphone manufacturer adds a selected number of performance testing applications as a hotlist to the software of a handset. These apps are then preconfigured to trigger the artificial performance boosting mode. When a user opens any of the preselected application, the smartphone automatically tunes up the hardware to deliver the best possible output. This is done purely unnaturally by ignoring the thermal controlling of the device.

This type of artificially boosted performance is achievable only for a limited time. This is pretty evident as the internal components don’t have the capability to deliver this added power for an extended duration. They will simply overheat and lead to some nasty hardware damage. Nevertheless, this short period of performance enhancement is enough to fool the benchmarking applications.

Can you know if your smartphone is cheating too?

It is quite easy to check if your handset is spoofing benchmark scores. Just run the test multiple times continuously. If there is any drastic drop in the results after a couple of times, then it is almost certain that your phone is cheating.

As the aftermath of these cheating scandals, a number of benchmarking apps brought in changes in their functioning. Mostly, they extended the time duration of their tests. This strikes right at the week point as the artificial performance increase can last only for a short duration of time.


Benchmark cheating is not restricted to the smartphones. They are present across various industries. Last year, a reputed company like Volkswagen came under the scanner for cheating on emission benchmarks. Here too, the company had programmed its cars to shift to a special performance mode during testing. We all know that the company was prosecuted and had to pay a severe price for their wrongdoing. This was possible only because the car-maker flouted the law.

However, in the case of smartphones, there are no such official rules and regulations. It is entirely possible that this trend will continue among the mobile manufacturers. Thus, the only way to avoid this deceitful behavior is to keep a continuous vigilance.


Abhishek Bhatnagar

Abhishek Bhatnagar, a known technology blogger & YouTuber from India. A Software Engineer by qualification, now he works as the editor-In-Chief, Webmaster, & Managing Director at Gadgets To Use. He runs a number of other technology websites as well.