Huawei P20 Pro delisted on 3DMark over benchmark cheating controversy

Judy Cobb
September 9, 2018

Sadly, this isn't the first time Huawei got caught using deceitful approaches to promote its devices.

On Tuesday, AnandTech discovered that Huawei's smartphones were hard-coded to improve performance while running the test, according to UL, the company behind the 3DMark software. This is not what the folks at UL (the makers of 3D Mark) want to happen with their benchmark test. The company behind the app, UL Benchmarks, stated: "After testing the devices in our lab and confirming that they breach our rules, we have chose to delist the affected models and remove them from our performance rankings".

Huawei has admitted to using AI to increase their performance based on certain intensive tasks which might explain how the benchmarking app experienced artificially increased performance. They released a statement that suggested they'd "reached a positive agreement on the next steps in working together" on "benchmarking practices".

Huawei has stated that the performance peak observed during the run of 3DMark was intuitive and determined by Artificial Intelligence.

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Just when we thought that smartphone manufacturers had ditched efforts to mislead reviewers and the public with "juiced" benchmark numbers, the latest actions by Huawei prove that the practice is still alive and well.

In reaction to the report, Underwriters Laboratories Benchmarks, which owns 3DMark, has chose to blacklist the Huawei P20, P20 Pro, Nova 3 and Honor Play 3, based on data from AnandTech and its own testing. UL rules require the device to run the benchmark as if it were any other application. Huawei did this to boast the powerful performance of Huawei smartphones and impress the customers. This is the result of Huawei appearing to "cheat" on benchmark tests with 3D Mark - they've agreed to make their methods more accessible to all! That's presumably part of the reason why Huawei is launching "Performance Mode" with EMUI 9.0.

In reality, these phone's are not as powerful as represented by the benchmark scores. They do, however, provide information about the smartphone's performance during heavy stress.

In normal benchmarking scenarios, once Huawei's software recognizes a benchmarking application, it intelligently adapts to "Performance Mode" and delivers optimum performance. The software is set to rollout at an unspecified point in September to the P20, Mate 10, and Mate 9 series, and will presumably come to the Mate 20 series as well.

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