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Huawei Ascend P7 delisted from 3DMark after phone found gaming benchmarks

Katharine Byrne
29 Aug 2014
Huawei Ascend P7
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The Ascend P7 was found to detect 3DMark by name and optimise its performance to give false result

The makers of 3DMark, a benchmarking app for Android that assesses your phone's graphics performance, has delisted the Huawei Ascend P7 after it was found the phone was breaking the company's rules governing benchmark detection and optimization. The Huawei Ascend P7 now appears delisted and without a score on the 3DMark Best Smartphones and Tablets list.

The rule in question is as follows: "The platform may not detect the launch of the benchmark executable. The platform must not [...] modify the usual functioning of the platform based on the detection of the benchmark."

Anandtech discovered the phone's deviation from 3DMark's rules during extensive testing last week. It ran the benchmarking app in its original Google Play Store version and then again with a renamed but identical version of the app that's not available to the public or manufacturers.

In the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test, the phone scored 7,642 in the Play Store version, but only 5,816 in the renamed version. This is an increase of 28% in the Play Store version. Futuremark, the creators of 3DMark, also confirmed these results in its own test lab.

"This clearly shows that the Ascend P7 is detecting 3DMark by name, and not by workload," a spokesperson for Futuremark said. 

"If the 'CPU configuration is adjusted dynamically according to the workload in different scenarios,' as claimed by Huawei in their response to Anandtech, then the score from the renamed version of 3DMark would be identical to the public version.

"When a device detects 3DMark, and modifies its behaviour as a result, the score no longer reflects its real-world performance and cannot be used to make a fair comparison with other devices."

Indeed, when we ran the Play Store version of 3DMark on the Ascend P7 in our own testing, we also received a score of 7,444 in the Ice Storm Unlimited test. 

Futuremark has expressed its disappointment about this issue and "hope[s] that this delisting will help persuade Huawei to realize the benefits of being fair and honest with their customers and the press."

The Ascend P7 is Huawei's flagship phone for 2014. When we reviewed it back in May, we called it "a decent phone with a good camera that's spoiled by poor battery life and middling performance." Read our full Huawei Ascend P7 review here.

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