Earlier this week, it was revealed that Samsung handsets, including the new Galaxy S22 family, have restrictions in place that throttle the performance of thousands of apps. Now Samsung has acknowledged the backlash and stated that after “careful consideration,” it will let owners “control the performance while running game apps.”
“Our priority is to deliver the best mobile experience for consumers,” the company wrote in a statement. While the Game Optimizing Service was “designed to help game apps achieve a great performance while managing device temperature effectively,” Samsung promised a software update “soon” to give users more control over their device’s performance.
The “game apps” distinction is important, because while the majority of affected titles are indeed games, the original report stated that the likes of Instagram, Netflix, TikTok and Microsoft Word were all impacted. Samsung denied this in its statement, stating categorically that its Game Optimizing Service “does not manage the performance of non-gaming apps.”
It’s sort of a moot point either way. While you could rightly feel short changed about a game’s framerate struggling because your phone has taken the executive decision to reduce its power, the likes of Netflix and TikTok don’t really need the full unlocked might of a flagship phone to perform well, as evidenced by the fact that they work on pretty much any phone. You can throw all the power you want at Microsoft Word, but the text isn’t going to pop up any faster (or not to the extent that it would be noticeable by a human).
More shady was the elephant in the room that Samsung didn’t address in its statement: the fact that benchmarking software was mysteriously omitted from the throttling list. This omission means buyers of Samsung handsets could get the wrong impression about their handset’s capabilities, seeing only what was theoretically possible rather than what they’d get in the real world. If Samsung was serious about protecting overheating and battery life, the argument goes, then benchmarking software would also endure the same throttling.
Geekbench clearly agrees. The company has taken the unusual step of delisting four generations of Samsung Galaxy S from its Android benchmark chart, with all Galaxy S10, S20, S21 and S22 handsets removed.
Samsung isn’t the first company to have been caught with inflated benchmark scores, of course: Huawei and OnePlus have both suffered the embarrassment of being delisted for gaming the system. And OnePlus, like Samsung, ultimately decided the best way out was to let owners manage throttling themselves.