Suspicion, speculation and good old fashioned controversy is never far away in the smartphone industry. Companies like Samsung, HTC and Apple are always keen to let the public know how well their hardware performs in areas that matter most to the consumer. One of the accepted methods of documenting and listing that performance is by running the hardware through a well-known benchmarking text. Futuremark – the Finnish development team behind 3DMark for Android – has announced that it suspects Samsung and HTC of cheating the benchmark tests to produce favorable results, and as such has delisted the offending handsets.
It may not immediately seem like it, but benchmark tests are generally taken extremely seriously. The average consumer may decide to purchase a piece of smartphone hardware based on recommendations from a friend or on how the device looks, but more and more tech savvy customers are starting to take serious note of how individual hardware turns out after going through a benchmark test. With so many manufacturers regularly releasing new hardware, all of which have very similar technical specifications, it sometimes comes down to a benchmark test to set the devices apart.
As with most things of this nature, benchmark results actually only mean something when every device tested has been put through the same tests using the same goal-posts on the same playing field. Unfortunately for the end-user, manufacturers have a very vested interest in making their hardware appear to be more performant than the competition, and therefore occasionally go to additional lengths to fudge the process. Today’s Futuremark press release states that "when a device is suspected of breaking our rules it is delisted", and that is exactly what has happened with a number of Samsung and HTC devices.
Futuremark haven’t gone into any additional detail on the specific rules that they suspect have been broken by the delisted devices, but are extremely keen to reiterate that going forward the rules will be strictly enforced. The press release states that "people rely on Futuremark benchmarks to produce accurate and unbiased results" and also goes on to state that their 3DMark benchmarking app for Android has been updated with additional features and compatibility.
Manufacturers, you have been warned. The individuals purchasing your products expect to see an accurate reflection of the hardware’s capabilities, and rightly so.