3DMark Delists Huawei, Honor Phones Over Benchmark Cheating

Android benchmark 3DMark delisted a number of Huawei smartphones and one device made by the Chinese firm's subsidiary Honor after the latest instance of the duo being caught cheating at benchmarks. UL, the company behind the mobile tool, tested three out of four offending devices in its own facilities, verified the authenticity of the original report on the matter, and delisted them from all of its performance rankings. The models in question are the Huawei P20, P20 Pro, Nova 3, and the Honor Play.

The chart below reveals the difference between the scores that the offending devices managed to achieve using the public build of the app that they were programmed to detect and artificially boost their performance and a masked version of the tool that avoided detection. The scheme used by Huawei and many handset manufacturers before it doesn't represent any real-world performance because the boost it activates during benchmarking isn't sustainable in the context of any actual use cases such as gaming. The hidden "Performance Mode" used for creating artificially high benchmark scores overrides the default power profile of the devices, meaning the chip powering them would throttle itself in a matter of minutes if it was actually running on such unreasonably high frequencies during regular use.

Huawei software chief Dr. Wang Chenglu originally said the company resorted to benchmark detection in order to demonstrate the full capabilities of its handsets because that's exactly what its Chinese rivals are doing. Today, the firm issued a prepared statement to media outlets, promising to make the hidden Performance Mode available to all users in EMUI 9.0 based on Android 9 Pie but leaving it off by default when any benchmarking software is launched. Huawei presented UL's delisting as a joint decision, stating that all four devices violating the benchmark's terms of service will be relisted once they receive EMUI 9.0 update and have their Performance Mode disabled by default.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]
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