OnePlus is slowly killing its flagships
Are your apps slower on your OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro than other devices? You're not alone.
OnePlus is taking a play out of Apple’s playbook by slowing down their phones in the name of battery life. The last time something like this happened was 2017 when Apple was proven to be slowing down their iPhones over time to preserve your battery’s health. Now, it seems that OnePlus is doing something similar.
Let’s take a step back and look at how OnePlus is doing this because it isn’t exactly like Apple’s approach. While the Cupertino company would slow your entire device’s system down, OnePlus is only slowing down popular apps you use. According to AnandTech who was first to highlight this issue, big-name apps from Google and Microsoft along with social media companies are all being throttled. Meanwhile, it seems that the only two devices affected are OnePlus’ most recent flagships, the 9 and 9 Pro
Here’s a snippet of what AnandTech discovered in its piece:
We have detected that OnePlus is blacklisting popular applications away from the its fastest cores, causing slow down in typical workloads such as web browsing. We have confirmed that (a) benchmarks or (b) unknown apps get full performance; most of the top popular non-benchmark apps get notably reduced performance. This is perhaps to improve battery life at the expense of performance, but it does mean that the regular benchmark results are somewhat useless for user experience.
After the publication of this article, OnePlus has confirmed to XDA-Developers that it throttles the performance of certain apps to maximize your device’s battery life. This, obviously, shouldn’t happen, but it is.
“Our top priority is always delivering a great user experience with our products, based in part on acting quickly on important user feedback. Following the launch of the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro in March, some users told us about some areas where we could improve the devices’ battery life and heat management. As a result of this feedback, our R&D team has been working over the past few months to optimize the devices’ performance when using many of the most popular apps, including Chrome, by matching the app’s processor requirements with the most appropriate power. This has helped to provide a smooth experience while reducing power consumption. While this may impact the devices’ performance in some benchmarking apps, our focus as always is to do what we can to improve the performance of the device for our users.”
Since all of this broke, Geekbench has blacklisted the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro from its benchmark chart due to what it calls “benchmark manipulation.”
A couple of things:
It is extremely interesting that OnePlus is deciding to throttle apps and not certain aspects of OxygenOS.
It absolutely sucks that the things you’ll interact with the most on your OnePlus 9 are being throttled.
How bad is it?
According to the author of the AnandTech article, Andrei Frumusanu, performance of the apps being throttled is noticeably less responsive compared to other phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Xiaomi Mi 11. However, in day-to-day operation, if the OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro’s performance is all you know, you probably won’t notice any slowdowns. It’ll be normal to you, in other words.
How crummy is this?
Extremely. I’m a believer that unless it’s a system-level process, no company should ever throttle the performance of the devices they ship. A suspicion many people have when it comes to throttling is manufacturers’ desire for you to upgrade. Personally, if my battery was becoming less and less reliable, I’d have a much stronger urge to upgrade sooner than I normally would. If my phone is getting slower, I’d be more pissed at the company that made my phone than anything else.
Can you do anything to fix your OnePlus 9?
Probably not. It seems that these throttling practices have been with the devices since day one, and weren’t recently introduced in software updates.
Will OnePlus change its ways?
I have no idea. There’s no indication that OnePlus will stop killing its flagships, but they could if the public gets angry enough.
What should I do next?
Top 12 stories of the week
1. Google Pixel 6 specs have leaked, and I’m thrilled
By now, many of you might’ve assumed that my #1 story this week happens to be a story that broke yesterday via Front Page Tech. It’s the Pixel 6 specs leak, everybody, and I couldn’t be more pumped about them.
Why is that? Because they indicate Google will finally do what I’ve been begging them to do: make a crazy-specced Pixel phone to get everyone excited, from enthusiasts to average consumers, and properly compete with Samsung and OnePlus. According to FPT, here’s what the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro (if that’s what it winds up being called) will feature.
Google Pixel 6 (Codename: Oriel)
Screen size: 6.4″
Rear camera setup: 50MP (Wide) + 12MP (Ultra wide)
Front camera: 8MP
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
OS: Android 12
Google Pixel 6 Pro (Codename: Raven)
Screen size: 6.71″
Display: Plastic OLED
Rear camera setup: 50MP (Wide) + 48MP (Tele) + 12MP (Ultra wide)
Front camera: 12MP
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
OS: Android 12
Jon Prosser, the infamous leaker behind the article on FPT, also says Google’s committed to at least five years of software updates with the Pixel 6 series, which is huge. That finally puts the Pixel phone in the same ballpark as the iPhone in terms of longevity. If the company can deliver on its in-house processor, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro could wind up being incredibly popular.
We've gotta wait about three months before we’ll hear anything from Google on the Pixel 6, if current rumors are to be believed. I’ll keep you posted if anything else breaks.
2. Donald Trump sues social media
This week, Donald Trump announced multiple lawsuits against major tech companies Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube over each platform’s ban of the former President following the Capital Riot on January 6th. Trump is also suing Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai directly. The lawsuits claim each platform’s censorship is unconstitutional and is in violation of the First Amendment. I’m sure updates will arrive quickly and frequently so stay tuned for more on this story.
3. Andy Jassy is Amazon’s new CEO, officially
Amazon has a new CEO. As of last Tuesday, Andy Jassy has served as Chief Executive Officer of the $2 trillion+ company. Jeff Bezos, founder and former CEO, remains a board member with a focus on other projects he runs. TechCrunch has a good piece to give you a bit of background on Jassy and some of his motivations within Amazon. I’m not sure how different Amazon will be under his direction, but I suppose time will tell.
4. Nintendo Switch goes OLED
Nintendo announced a new version of the Switch with a larger 7-inch screen this week, complete with an OLED panel to boot. I’ve got an article explaining a bit more, but it’s clear that this isn’t a model you wanna upgrade to unless you absolutely need a better screen than the LCD on the original Switch.
5. Nothing Ear (1) will cost $99
Another story I covered in more detail on the website, Carl Pei’s Nothing company will release earbuds with active noise cancellation for just $99. It’s a clear attempt to undercut important competitors like Apple and Samsung who have been dominating the earbud market for a few years. I’ll be interested to see how they sound once they go on sale in the near future.
6. OnePlus Nord 2 is coming July 22, but not to the States
Carl Pei’s old company, OnePlus, is gearing up to launch the Nord 2 with an exclusive AI-driven MediaTek Dimensity 1200 chipset. On July 22nd, CEO Pete Lau said the wraps will be taken off the device. However, the phone will not be sold to customers in the United States, much like the original Nord from last year. I’ll be covering the launch event in more detail on the site so stay tuned.
7. Google Pixel 5a, coming soon (according to the FCC)
When a phone goes through the FCC, that’s how we know it’s right around the corner. The Google Pixel 5a is the most recent device to do so. The phone’s received two different listings at the FCC, with one confirming sub-6GHz 5G support. Other specs will include a Snapdragon 765G processor, a 6.2-inch OLED display, dual rear cameras, a fingerprint sensor, and stereo speakers.
8. Qualcomm made a $1,500 phone
Would you spend $1,500 on a phone from the company who probably made the chip for your current phone? That’s what Qualcomm seems to hope. Its new “Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders,” being developed with Asus, will be targeted to the nerdiest fans of Qualcomm who want to explore all of the modern smartphone technologies the company has to offer. I mean, we’re talking a Snapdragon 888 processor, Quick Charge 5, 8K video support, hi-fi Snapdragon Sound, and all things 5G. That’s on top of a 6.78-inch 144Hz Samsung OLED display, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and a 4,000mAh battery. The phone hasn’t been formally introduced yet, but I’ll let you know when that happens.
9. Microsoft’s redesigned Office UI is now available to Insiders
Microsoft has a new UI for its suite of Office apps to line up with Windows 11, and it’s now available to be tested by Insiders. The new UI for apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and more look a ton like the rest of Windows 11 with a simpler design language, more depth to icons, and plenty of white space. It should roll out to everyone around the time Windows 11 is available.
10. Test your phone’s water resistance with an app
There’s a new app that can test the water-resistance of your phone using the firmness of a press on your screen. The app’s main purpose is to help you establish whether a recent repair or other hardware change has affected the IP rating on your phone. On Reddit, many people are claiming it works pretty well. It’s only available for Android users.
11. Cover your MagSafe charger in leather thanks to Nomad
Do you want to cover your MagSafe charge for your iPhone 12 in leather? If you answered yes, Nomad has your back. For $25, you can pick up a leather case for your charger. I have no idea why you’d do this other than aesthetics, but it is a thing that can be a reality if you so desire.
12. TikTok now lets you apply for jobs
I’m struggling to figure out other ways TikTok can keep users locked into its app thanks to this headline. The app is now letting users directly apply for jobs through a new feature called TikTok Resumes. Right now, companies like Chipolte and Spotify are partaking in the capability, and it’ll likely roll out to more users in the future. The Verge has some extra details if you’re curious.