OnePlus caught throttling performance on some phones without users’ consent, admits later

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Updated: July 08, 2021 2:52 PM

An even bigger concern is that users do not have an option to opt out of this throttling so far.

An even bigger concern is that users do not have an option to opt out of this throttling so far.

OnePlus can’t catch a break, so it seems. Days after its official merger with Oppo, it has come to light that the company has been allegedly “throttling” the performance of some apps on some of its latest phones, including the OnePlus 9. The bigger issue is that it has apparently been doing this without users’ consent. OnePlus has since admitted that it has indeed been manipulating performance of as many as 300 apps — including some very popular ones like Chrome — on the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro making them run slower than others in order to reduce power consumption.

Media reports earlier indicated that OnePlus was tweaking performance of certain apps on its devices. Andrei Frumusanu from AnandTech had found clinching evidence that OnePlus was deliberately slowing down Google Chrome and other popular applications on the OnePlus 9. Frumusanu also found that in many instances the Google Chrome application was relying only on Cortex-A55 cores for its operations ignoring the device’s major computing horsepower effectively turning out to be slower in comparison to other applications. The throttling however was not observed while running benchmarks which is to say, scores would indicate faster performance (while actual real world use cases told a different story).

In technical parlance, the practice may well be an attempt by the phone maker at benchmark cheating. An alternate theory could be that by slowing down the performance of some applications, the company may well have been trying to sustain the battery performance of its devices for longer duration. OnePlus has cited the latter as the reason.

Also Read | OnePlus ‘officially’ merges with Oppo to build better products, roll out faster software updates

Popular benchmark app Geekbench taking cognisance of the news reports has banned the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro from the list of its benchmark charts. Geekbench also said that it is considering reviewing all other models of OnePlus devices for the alleged malpractice.

Far from refuting the allegations, the Chinese phone maker has conceded that it had heard complaints regarding battery performance from the users of OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro devices especially during the operations of the 300 of the most popular applications including Google Chrome and was working to find a solution to the issue. The company also admitted that some of the popular applications may be facing performance issues (that is running slower) on the device but it was all intended to optimise performance on these devices and by extension, to improve battery life.

While OnePlus’ reasoning may be fine, the bigger issue is that all this happened post launch of the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro through a software update pushed out to these phones. This means early reviews of the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro were based on an entirely different experience. Those who actually spent money and bought these devices have been getting a different experience which may be far from picture perfect. An even bigger concern is that users do not have an option to opt out of this throttling so far.

It would be interesting to see if all this effects OnePlus’ upcoming product launch (and if OnePlus would talk about it). The OnePlus Nord 2 is expected to launch in India later this month.

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