Samsung was the first to selectively boost system performance when a benchmark app was run, but it was forced to backpedal pretty quickly on that one. The latest OEM to try and sneak one past the benchmarks is Huawei with its new-ish Ascend P7. Futuremark is wise to this game, though, and has pulled the P7 from the 3DMark top phone charts.

2014-08-29 10_09_13-Best Smartphones and Tablets August - 2014

The Ascend P7 isn't running a top-of-the-line ARM chip like the Snapdragon 801 and Tegra K1 devices that dominate the charts. Instead, it packs a budget-friendly Kirin 910 with four Cortex-A9 cores clocked to a maximum of 1.8GHz and a Mali-450 GPU. Even with the modest hardware, the Ascend P7 was doing respectably in benchmarks, but that was all a farce. As detailed by Anandtech, the device detects when a known benchmarking app is running and manually keeps all four CPU cores cranked until the test has completed. This is not representative of the workload performance in other apps.

The shenanigans were verified by changing the package name of 3DMark and comparing the resulting score to the one obtained in the regular Play Store version. Futuremark got a baseline of 5816 in the renamed version and 7462 in the Play Store version. The company has a set of rules for OEMs which require they avoid benchmark-specific optimizations, so Huawei's device is out. Bummer, but maybe they'll knock off the cheating now. The device is at the bottom of the phone list with no score, right along side other devices that failed to follow the rules, including the HTC One M8 and Galaxy Note 10.1.

[3DMark Top Devices]