Galaxy Users Accuse Samsung Of Throttling Performance And Benchmark Rigging

A lot of Samsung Galaxy users think that Samsung has been throttling smartphone performance, so much so that they don’t live up to their published specifications. At issue is the game optimizing service (GOS) which is intended to throttle the CPU while playing games to prevent overheating. S22 owners have recently discovered that it’s not only games that are throttled, but there’s a list of over 10,000 apps which are subject to GOS control, and there is no way to disable it.

What they’re really upset over is the fact that popular benchmarking apps are not subject to GOS throttling — something that’s hard to see as anything but a blatant attempt to game the system. In fact, this past weekend the folks at Geekbench banned four generations of Samsung Galaxy phones (S10, S20, S21, S22) for benchmark manipulation.

Admittedly, thermal management is critical on today’s incredibly powerful handheld devices, and the concept of throttling is an accepted solution in the industry. But people are upset at the opaqueness and lack of control of GOS, not to mention cherry picking apps in order to excel at benchmarks. Furthermore Samsung has removed their vapor chamber cooling system from recent models. This makes GOS even more important and looks like a cost-savings measure that may have backfired. Currently there’s a petition with the government claiming false advertising, and users are actively pursuing a lawsuit against Samsung.

22 thoughts on “Galaxy Users Accuse Samsung Of Throttling Performance And Benchmark Rigging

  1. Good, that I did not decide for Samsung a few months ago, when I needed a new phone. I really liked my Galaxy S5, but in the meantime it was too outdated (lack of memory for current apps). Now I have a Xiaomi with a strong, fast Snapdragon 765 CPU

    1. So you had a phone that was NINE generations old and you’re worried about a little bit of throttling on some apps on a new phone? I think your concerns are overblown.

      1. I think Martin is somewhat justified in being glad he didn’t buy something that potentially wasn’t as advertised, performance aside no one should ever settle for this sort of manipulation just because “its an update either way”.

      2. Seems like he’s more worried about not getting value for his money. Seems like the type to squeeze every last bit of value out of something, rather than to throw money at something just to have the latest, which might be crippled.

  2. I have a Note 9, and have been considering a new Galaxy, but they got rid of SD card storage, with the ridiculous reasoning that its because of an “industry trend”, as if that somehow justifies the reasoning. All it means is that if something happens to your phone now, if it gets dropped in a way that bricks the phone, you cannot get your images off. It also makes it impossible to quickly free up memory in case you need storage. I’m pretty sure they did it simply because they wanted to do the old iPod model where they charge for progressively small increments in space astronomically.

    I love my Note, I frequently use the S Pen, but hate the new Samsung phones. This just added another reason.

    1. Note user here too. Also love headphone jack. I scored a handful of the killer earbuds Samsung shipped with these phones.

      I am on note 8 and may get a 9 soon just to stay in bounds for a while longer.

      Seriously not looking forward to newer devices.

      Performance on the 8 is great and use my phone hard. Honestly, I rarely awaiting for it, the biggest deal being a coarse screen update when it is buried. Does not happen often.

      1. If you want an SD card, and a headphone jack, you may as well ask for a user replaceable battery.
        Oh, and if the phone was more robust but 2mm thicker, I just wouldn’t need to buy a case…

        1. I think you missed the part where we were simply asking to keep what was already ON the phone design. It seems like every update they remove a core critical feature of the phone.

          When I have to pay $1,000 for a device that if it’s dropped or falls into water or something frying the hard drive, that I irrevocably lose all the data on that device because I can’t simply pull out a removable card that would probably survive, and make it easy to recover my data….

          but the previous year’s device HAS that functionality…..

          …you find that irrational for wanting the same capability I had last year?

          The only trend I see with consumer electronics is the consistent removal of features rather than adding them. Especially ports. It’s infuriating.

          Comparing being upset over something that isn’t in a device that used to be two asking for the device to be different completely with new features is not the same.

  3. It’s a safe bet that every single phone on the market has performance throttling applied over some condition at some point in operation. Expecting higher performance and thinner devices with smaller batteries/worse thermals are contradictory design constraints that both cannot be realistically achieved without some concessions.

    The big difference here is that samsung is whitelisting benchmarking apps that test performance to make the phones look like they operate better than they would if they were running some other demanding app like games. I’m not personally against throttling to get better battery life or prolong component lifetimes, but this should be disclosed to the user and have a user adjustable setting to explicitly enable/disable.

    Apple got called out on something similar related to throttling aging devices, and iirc they were pressured to add exactly such a setting.

      1. “Easily” … until you look at the trend of piecewise incremental improvements to battery tech that actually make it to market after years of research. Expecting a magical leap in battery tech to solve all modern major design/material limitations is not practical.

        I think there’s two main problems in the phone world today, the first is software bloat and inefficiency (give a mediocre programmer tons of memory and processing power and they will figure out how to completely waste it!) and secondarily is the consumer demand for the continuance of moore’s law/increased performance for each new generation which isn’t physically sustainable. Notice how smart phones’ growth in the ~2010’s exploded but by now has more or less plateaued.

  4. I have used sasung for years, I find myself in need of buying a new unlocked phone at full price and I have been looking at pixel pro, one plus 9 pro, and s22. I was already looking away from Samsung due to bloat and not being able to root without killing there security stuff. Now the s22 is for sure off the list.

  5. So samsung is pulling a dieselgate on us? Tssk. Im still holding on to my aging LG G4 with the killer options of having a user replacable battery, sd card and head phones jack. The only downside is the micro-usb connector, but then again, usb-c did not exist back then. Camera is perfect, size is perfect. Only android 6 is restricting things more and more.

  6. I don’t even notice any throttling with what I use the S22 Ultra for. I did notice a lack of knowing if I had pending notifications with my Iphone 13 Pro. I guess it’s simply up to what is important for the purchaser of the phone.

  7. As if I needed another reason to abandon Samsung. A couple months ago, a forced OTA update broke my Note 10+. Prior updates also restarted my phone while I was actively using it at work. The only way to avoid another update is to turn off wifi, or trace the ip of the unlisted server it’s asking for updates, and block it at the router.

    Not to mention how vastly disappointing my Gear watch is.

    I’m really tired of not having control over the devices I ostensibly own. My next phone will be open source.

    1. I abandoned Samsung after my second phone in a row stopped working just out of warranty. First one cellular data stopped, second one cell phone stopped receiving calls.

  8. If Samsung and every other mobile manufacturer could stop pre-installing apps that can’t be uninstalled that would be great too.

    It’s like the bloatware you get on big-box-store windows PC’s except it’s way harder to nuke the thing and install a clean OS if you don’t want to endure a lot of compromise and hacking about.

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