The latest smartphone OEM to be caught playing games with device power is OnePlus. Depending on who you want to believe, the company is either benchmark cheating or “optimizing performance.” But everyone—OnePlus included—seems to agree that OnePlus is taking control of app performance out of the hands of users and deciding what is and isn’t allowed to run at maximum speed on the user’s device.
The story starts with Andrei Frumusanu of AnandTech. Frumusanu recently did some digging into the behavior of the OnePlus 9 and found it dramatically throttled Chrome and other popular apps. At times, Chrome was apparently limited to the Cortex-A55 cores only, ignoring most of the phone’s computing horsepower, which is present in the bigger A78 and X1 cores.
Why would any OEM want to make its phone slower on popular apps? Frumusanu assumed this was a roundabout way of benchmark cheating: