Thought the whole benchmark cheating scandal was behind us? Apparently not. Some OEMs have just gotten better at hiding it. Or at least that’s the picture that Huawei is painting after it was caught red-handed using a benchmark detection feature. But unlike other manufacturers in the past, it didn’t deny the allegation but instead tried to justify why it was doing so. Bottom line: its competitors are doing it anyway and trying to cheat it out of the market.
The whole benchmark cheating drama half a decade ago, also reported by AnandTech, caused the industry to question the relevance, usefulness, and credibility of mobile benchmarking tools. Arguments were raised, companies were called out and blacklisted, and benchmark tool makers revised their software and policies to indicate what exactly they are testing.
Those improvements, however, may have only been applicable in Western markets. Or at least until the media was focused on the issue. Unfortunately for Huawei, its boasts about its new GPU Turbo feature made it too big of a target for third-parties to verify or refute its claims. AnandTech makes it clear that Huawei’s new tech is sound but, during the course of its testing, it uncovered something sinister as well.
Huawei’s P20, Honor’s new Play, and probably every smartphone running on a Kirin 970 SoC may be using a Benchmark Detection tool that makes the chip perform better by raising the power limit for the processor. While you might not think much of it, AnandTech reminds readers that such tricks raise power consumption, reduces battery life, and actually decreases the efficiency of the processor. In other words, by pushing the SoC beyond its limits, Huawei and Honor are practically degrading it in the long run.
When confronted with the findings, Huawei didn’t exactly deny it. Instead, it explained that it was calling for a benchmarking standard that everyone has to adhere to. But in the same breath, it said that other OEMs, particularly its biggest rivals in China, were also cheating and bragging those numbers, much to the detriment of Huawei. In other words, since it can’t beat them by being true, it might as well join them while waiting for that elusive benchmarking standard to be made.