UL delists Huawei phones with suspect benchmark scores
September 6, 2018
Over the last five years, more than a few smartphone manufacturers have been caught and shamed for trying to manipulate benchmark scores. That's why UL has clear rules for manufacturers that govern how a platform can interact with its benchmarking software.
Earlier this week, AnandTech reported that several recent smartphone models from Huawei and its sub-brand, Honor, seem to be producing artificially high and misleading benchmark scores. Huawei is the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world by volume according to IDC.
After testing the devices in our own lab and confirming that they breach our rules, we have decided to delist the affected models and remove them from our performance rankings.
Which models have been delisted?
Based on our own testing, we have delisted the following models:
- Huawei P20 Pro
- Huawei Nova 3
- Honor Play
Based on AnandTech's testing and reporting, we have also delisted:
- Huawei P20
Delisted devices appear unranked, and without scores, at the bottom of our popular list of the best smartphones. 3DMark scores from delisted devices should not be used to compare models.
Why have you delisted these models?
We tested each model with the public version of 3DMark, available from Google Play, and a private version of 3DMark that is not available to the public or manufacturers.
We found that the scores from the public 3DMark app were up to 47% higher than the scores from the private app, even though the tests are identical.
With the public 3DMark app, these devices appear to use a hidden "Performance Mode" that overrides the devices' usual power profile—see the AnandTech article for more details.
The difference in scores tells us that the devices are simply recognizing the 3DMark app by name rather than adapting to the type of work in the test.
This kind of detection and optimization is forbidden by our rules for manufacturers. We contacted Huawei with our findings, and we are happy to say that they have pledged to implement a more transparent approach in a future update,
"Huawei is planning to provide users with access to “Performance Mode” so they can use the maximum power of their device when they need to."
Optional performance modes that can be set by the user—already available on some other manufacturers' models—are allowed under our current rules as long as they are disabled by default. A device must run the benchmark as if it were any other application.
We're committed to creating benchmarks you can trust
- 3DMark is protected by rules for manufacturers.
- 3DMark has public documentation that explains what each test measures and how the scores are calculated.
- Our Best Smartphones list only shows publicly available models. We never list or leak unverified scores from pre-release hardware.
Test your phone with 3DMark
3DMark is a free Android benchmark app available from Google Play. Benchmark your smartphone then compare its performance with the latest models. With its unique charts, lists, and rankings, 3DMark gives you unrivaled insights into the performance of your device.
New security and reporting features in Testdriver Cloud Edition
May 25, 2021
PCMark for Android adds new Work 3.0 benchmark with 64-bit support
May 12, 2021
New 3DMark benchmark for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android
May 3, 2021
New 3DMark test measures mesh shader performance
February 11, 2021
Announcing end of support for PCMark 8, 3DMark Sky Diver, and VRMark for Android benchmarks
December 16, 2020
Easy PC health monitoring for IT professionals
December 3, 2020
New benchmarks from UL help content creators choose a PC
November 30, 2020
Enhancing 3DMark benchmark results with game performance data
November 25, 2020
New 3DMark test measures pure ray-tracing performance
November 2, 2020
New cross-platform benchmark for Android, iOS and Windows
October 15, 2020
Benchmark the AI performance of Android devices
September 21, 2020
Benchmark new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30-Series GPUs with 3DMark
September 17, 2020
Introducing Testdriver Cloud Edition—Easy benchmark automation
September 15, 2020
Benchmarks.ul.com is now available in German
July 9, 2020
UL Delists MediaTek-Powered Phones with Suspect Benchmark Scores
April 15, 2020