WhatsApp performance throttled on high-end smartphone

Apps like WhatsApp, Twitter, and Google Chrome perform much more poorly on the OnePlus 9 Pro than expected, and the manufacturer has admitted to intentionally limiting performance.

A deep analysis of the OnePlus 9 Pro’s performance by AnandTech found that the phone’s operating system throttles the performance of specific applications.

AnandTech noted that the throttling is not done based on app behaviour, but by throttling specifically targeted apps.

This is done by preventing the apps from running on the processor’s high-performance X1 cores, instead limiting them to the lower performance A78 and A55 cores.

In some cases the speed of the processor was also limited, further reducing performance in the lower-powered cores and even causing apps that could run on the X1 cores to underperform.

The device’s performance deviates substantially from the initial benchmarks provided by OnePlus at launch, and the discrepancy has led to Geekbench booting the device from its performance charts for benchmark manipulation.

A browser test done in AnandTech’s analysis found that in Google Chrome, the OnePlus 9 Pro delivers 85% less performance than the Galaxy S21 Ultra while having the same Snapdragon 888 processor.

Anandtech found over 50 apps that are impacted including Uber, UberEats, Instagram, TikTok, SnapChat, YouTube, Twitch, LinkedIn, and the entire Microsoft Office suite. These are in addition to WhatsApp, Twitter, and Chrome.

Even the system apps from OnePlus itself are subject to performance limitations.

OnePlus released a statement to XDA in which the company claimed the throttling was introduced after the device’s release due to user feedback on insufficient battery life.

However, a launch-day review by Notebookcheck already found the performance of the OnePlus 9 Pro’s Snapdragon 888 processor lower than average Snapdragon 888 benchmarks, refuting the claim by OnePlus.

Despite its performance throttling, the OnePlus 9 Pro delivers worse battery life than devices with similar hardware and specifications.

One example is the Samsung Galaxy S21 which AnandTech said can deliver almost 14 hours of continuous usage battery life, compared to the 11 hours and 45 minutes of the OnePlus 9 Pro with throttling present.

A video by Gary Sims reported that the OnePlus 9 delivered degraded performance similar to the OnePlus 9 Pro.

Now read: Best smartphones for under R10,000 in South Africa

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WhatsApp performance throttled on high-end smartphone