Benchmark utilities are designed to let you run the same exact test on multiple phones, PCs, or other devices so you can get an apples-to-apples comparison and see how they stack up against one another in terms of CPU, graphics, memory, and storage performance, among other things.
At least that’s the idea.
In practice, some device makers have a habit of cheating — and it looks like the folks at Anandtech have uncovered some widespread cheating on the part of chip maker MediaTek and many of the mobile phone makers that use its chips.
By detecting when a device is running specific benchmarking tests, the mobile phones can boost performance to get a higher score… which doesn’t necessarily represent real-world performance. Sure, it turns out your phone can run fast enough to achieve that high score. But most of the time it won’t, because it’s too busy trying to balance speed and power consumption.
MediaTek has responded by basically saying it’s up to phone makers to decide whether to use this benchmark cheating service… and everyone does it anyway… and why wouldn’t you want to see the highest score possible?
Anyway, this isn’t new — Anandtech also discovered widespread benchmark cheating in the smartphone industry way back in 2013. Since then it looked like things had calmed down a bit, but maybe that’s just because device makers thought no one was watching.
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
- Mobile Mobile Benchmark Cheating: When a SoC Vendor Provides It As A Service [Anandtech]
According to AnandTech some phones with MediaTek chips cheat at benchmarks by artificially boosting performance *only* when running benchmarks, thus failing to give you an accurate idea of real-world performance when balancing power and battery life.
- Why MediaTek Stands Behind Our Benchmarking Practices [MediaTek]
MediaTek “stands behind” its benchmark cheating. “Many companies design devices to run on the highest possible performance levels when benchmarking tests are running in order to show the full capabilities of the chipset.”
- Introducing DualSense, the New Wireless Game Controller for PlayStation 5 [Sony]
Sony unveils the new DualSense game controller for the PlayStation 5 with integrated mic, touchpad, adaptive triggers, and haptic feedback.
- Atari VCS designer sues company for unpaid salary [Polygon]
More Atari VCS drama — the chief software developer who quit the project last year after having not been paid for six months, is suing the company (which has yet to ship its Linux-based game console).
- Update: System76 Lemur Pro 2.2 pound Linux laptop now available for purchase [Liliputing]
The previously-announced System76 Lemur Pro 2.2 pound Linux laptop with a 14.1 inch display 73 Wh battery, and Intel Comet Lake processor is now available for $1099 and up.
- The Humble Phone Call Has Made a Comeback [NYT]
Sure, people are video conferencing more than ever — but phone calls are also on the rise during the pandemic.
- Easy navigation in Chromebook tablet mode [Google]
Google brings support for new gesture-based navigation to Chrome OS tablets and convertibles (swipe up to get to home screen, swipe up and hold to view running apps, view browser tabs in larger, touch-friendly thumbnails, etc).