Geekbench bans Samsung flagships for cheating

Lol, no. You did not read the headline wrong. Geekbench bans Samsung flagships for cheating.

A bit of introduction is needed here and I’ll oblige. Geekbench is one of the world’s foremost benchmark testing companies. They have a list of tests that they use on smartphones. These tests tend to mimic real-world usage. These tests aim to see how powerful a phone is and how it’ll hold up in real-life use.

Geekbench is very well respected worldwide for its credibility and fairness. They test and benchmark smartphones, PCs (desktops and laptops) as well as servers. Geekbench scores are a very potent marketing tool. Thus the company has a reputation to protect.

Samsung has threatened to bring that reputation to ruin. How so?

The backstory

In the events leading up to the announcement of the Samsung S22 series along with their much-hyped Exynos 2200, it was clear that something was not going right at Samsung HQ. Whatever it was, however, was soon forgotten as the S22 series with the Exynos 2200 was released to great fanfare.

The buzz soon withered and rumours started to circulate that the Exynos 2200 was not as powerful as advertised. Samsung quickly moved to dispel such rumors. They posted clips of smartphone gameplay and the fan base was quickly appeased.

Despite all this, it was soon apparent that the Exynos 2200 lagged behind current-gen flagship SoCs such as the Dimensity 9000, Bionic 15, and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Yet, everyone kept their peace. That was until members of the South Korean community discovered something.

Read: Samsung Galaxy S22 series

The scam

They soon discovered that their phones were not as powerful as advertised. Another thing was that there was this software called Game Optimization Service (GOS) which tended to kick in a lot. Keep GOS in mind, it is very fundamental to the story.

GOS was behaving weirdly. GOS was actively throttling (reducing) the performance of the SoC when using the phone but kicked it up when running benchmarks. They didn’t keep quiet about this. They spread the word.


News of this development soon reached Geekbench’s HQ and of course, they were not pleased. GOS would ramp up the phone’s performance and post high benchmark scores only to reduce the phone’s performance for the average user.

This is bad for Geekbench because a lot of people rely on Geekbench scores to buy phones. If they buy these phones and the phone does not live up to expectations, Geekbench will certainly have a share in the blame.

Read: The Problem with Benchmarks

Geekbench bans Samsung flagships for cheating

As a result, Geekbench has proceeded to remove Samsung flagships back to 2019. These include the S22, S21, S20 and S10 series. The Note and A series seem to be unaffected.

In a statement released on Twitter, Geekbench stated that…

Earlier this week, we were made aware of Samsung’s Game Optimizing Service (GOS) and how it throttles the performance of games and applications. GOS decides to throttle (or not to throttle) applications using application identifiers and not application behavior. We view this as a form of benchmark manipulation as major benchmark applications, including Geekbench, are not throttled by this service.

Possible reasons

Why would a company throttle (or reduce) SoC performance? There are several. One of them is doing so, to probably help one phone sell better than the other. Another could be starting with a low performance and using software updates to “boost” performance, amongst others.

This however is false advertising and Geekbench is well within its rights to be pissed off.

Too little, too late

Samsung has promised to investigate this issue and push an OTA update to fix it but Geekbench’s decision is final. Last year, the company also delisted the One Plus 9 series for throttling their performance as well. One would have thought that Samsung would have taken a hint, but they haven’t. This should come as a huge blow for a company finding its way back after the Exynos M custom core debacle.

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