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Oppo Caught Up In Another Performance Scandal Along With Realme and Xiaomi

First it was Chinese brand Huawei with their fake camera images, Then along came Realme selling smartphones that lacked Australian certification, now Chinese brand Oppo has been caught out peddling smartphones impacted by fake performance results.

Benchmarking Company PCMark has delisted roughly 50 devices from its system after reports surfaced that their RealTek processors were boosting performance during testing.

Also caught out in the scam are Realme which is owned by the same Company as Oppo and Xiaomi both products that are sold at JB Hi Fi, also caught out was Sony whose mobile phones are no longer sold in Australia.

US online site tech site AnandTech discovered the scam when after testing several devices they found that Xiaomi Oppo and Realme products that contained a RealTek processors could detect when benchmarking tools were active.

The journalists realised this when the source code for the processors revealed power management tweaks were being activated when a reviewer such as SmartHouse or ChannelNews used an app such as GeekBench, AnTuTu, 3DBench, PCMark, Quadrant and Master Lu.

The fake configuration was masked behind a feature called a ‘Sports Mode’,” that automatically kicked in when a test was conducted AnandTech journalists claimed.

When this mode was activated it forced the devices to boost power capabilities beyond regular everyday performance and therefore provide more favourable benchmarking scores.

When the journalists used a private, unnamed version of PCMark to retest the chipsets, the results were entirely different as the Sports Mode wasn’t automatically triggered.

UL, creators of PCMark, verified Anandtech’s findings with its own tests and has now delisted over 50 devices from 25 vendors that contain the following RealTek Chipsets:

Singled out were smartphones currently being sold in Australia including the Realme 6, Oppo Reno3 Pro and Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro. Some of these models are only available online in Australia.

The models include the following:

Oppo Reno3 Pro
Oppo Reno Z
Oppo F15
Oppo F9 Pro
Vivo S1
Xiaomi Note 8 Pro
Realme C3
Realme 6
iVoomi i2 Lite
Sony XA1

UL said that there is also the potential for more devices to be impacted by the discoveries.

“We are investigating further since whitelisting at the SoC level potentially impacts dozens to possibly even hundreds of devices,” said a UL spokesperson in an email to Gizmodo Australia.

ChannelNews has contacted Oppo Australia for a comment.

Late last year Realme was caught out launching products that were not certified for the Australian market.

The new devices being launched by Realme a sister Company to Oppo were not issued with CE, FCC and SARS value certificates for the Australian market.

We asked Realme and Oppo whether they have been issued with a GCF 3G standard certificate and Band 28 which is an essential band for 4G networks. They failed to respond.

Simultaneous communication was also made to the Company support line posing as if we were a customer or owner of a device, resulting in a response from their support team after two days.

Greetings from realme
Thank you for reaching out to us. We would like to inform you that our device has SOTO certification.

Despite several attempts via carriers and labs in China we have been unable to identify what certification SOTO is or its relevancy to Australia or smartphones being sold in Australia.

MediaTek responded to the findings, defending the performance boosting modes by saying it showed the full capabilities of its chipsets.

“MediaTek follows accepted industry standards and is confident that benchmarking tests accurately represent the capabilities of our chipsets. We work closely with global device makers when it comes to testing and benchmarking devices powered by our chipsets, but ultimately brands have the flexibility to configure their own devices as they see fit.

Gizmodo said that many companies design devices to run on the highest possible performance levels when benchmarking tests are running in order to show the full capabilities of the chipset. This reveals what the upper end of performance capabilities are on any given chipset.

The problem is these new modes don’t have much of a use case outside of getting high benchmarks, especially if the mode kicks in only when it detects a certain application is running. “Simply put, a device must run a benchmark as if it was any other application,” UL said in a press release.

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