The OnePlus 5 cheats in benchmarks, just like those before it (Update - co-founder responds)
The mechanism in question is keeping four of the cores in the Snapdragon 835's octa-core CPU arrangement running at their maximum 1.9GHz frequency constantly, without the necesarry speed throttling that happens in accordance with sustained load. In its investigation, XDA discovered that when this mechanism is disabled, said cores run on their maximum 1.9GHz frequency only 24.4% of the time. Re-enabling it makes the cores hit 1.9GHz 95% of the time, which is a huge difference.
Thanks to this manipulation, which OnePlus explains is necessary to fully showcase the OnePlus 5's performance potential, the handset was able to achieve some of the highest scores commanded by a Snapdragon 835-powered device. However, it is dubious that these impressive numbers illustrate the actual performance in daily usage. The OnePlus 5 is still a very fast, modern smartphone, of course. But just like many athletes out there, it could do with a little more honesty about the true nature of its achievements.
Nothing new under the sun!Furthermore, benchmark cheating doesn't go especially well next to dropping support for the less than two years-old OnePlus 2, yearly price increase, and nabbing Apple's iPhone 7 Plus design when it comes to improving OnePlus' public image. Still, the OnePlus 5 is a compelling handset that's also reasonably priced. The strength of the offer should be able to carry the company forward for another year, at least.
The complete XDA Developers report is available in the links below if you wish to dig deeper into all the technological details of benchmark cheating. OnePlus isn't the only company to do so – the past remembers the likes of Samsung and HTC using this tactic too, hoping to squeeze a few thousand extra points out of AnTuTu or whatever. While synthetic benchmarks are great at providing a general idea of how a phone fares performance-wise, actual use is what really matters, and that's much harder to quantify.