GPU Performance

During the release of the Snapdragon 845, the performance increases of the Adreno 630 GPU were touted to also come with large efficiency increases. Based on our testing with the Galaxy S9 and subsequent devices we’ve found that while the peak performance increases indeed matched Qualcomm’s projections, the higher benchmark scores came at a cost of increased device power consumption. This had the negative effect that in our new sustained performance tests the S845 did not manage to maintain an equal excellent % of peak performance as S835 devices.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time retesting these results and still always came within the same conclusions. The OnePlus 6 however seems to be the one S845 device that seems to particularly perform out of the norm here, as we’ll see in the following benchmarks.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Physics

Starting off with the 3DMark Sling Shot Physics test is mostly a CPU bound test within a GPU power constrained thermal environment, the OnePlus 6 fares just a tad better than the Galaxy S9+, posting slightly better peak and sustained scores.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Graphics

Switching over to the Graphics results of the test however, we see some very large divergences of the OnePlus 6 versus other devices. Here the OP6 posts a much better sustained score and a larger percentage of peak performance than other Snapdragon 845 devices. The LG G7 also showcases a slight advantage over the earlier devices but not quite as good as the OP6.

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen

Switching over GFXBench Manhattan 3.1, we see a similar result as the OnePlus 6 posts 45% better sustained performance than the Galaxy S9+ and the Mi MIX 2S, with only the LG G7 behind it.

To verify these figures and to make sure that it wasn’t any change in environmental conditions during the testing I tested the phone alongside the Galaxy S9+ re-running the methodology again on the Samsung phone, and indeed the OnePlus 6 just was much better at sustaining performance as the initial end-result of the S9+ was reproduced.

GFXBench T-Rex 2.7 Off-screen

Finally, in T-Rex, the OnePlus 6 again manages to take the top spot in terms of sustained performance under stable thermal envelope.

As to why the OnePlus 6 really seems to post such different sustained performance characteristics is something that I think is attributable to thermal design of the phone. I measured 3D graphics power in the workloads and it didn’t really differ much from the measurements on the S9+, so this doesn’t seem to be a case of the GPU consuming less power either through whatever optimisations or possible better binned SoC unit.

While the Galaxy S9+ and Mi MIX 2S can get some quite high temperature hotspots at peak performance exceeding 55°C, the OnePlus 6 was much better and the worst skin temperature I measured on the warmest point, on the screen just over where the SoC is located, didn’t exceed 46°C. The phone seems to be much better at dissipating the heat throughout its mid-frame, and while overall the phone can still get quite warm, it’s more evened out and allows the SoC to seemingly maintain higher performance states. Obviously this is all circumstantial observations, it’s also possible that the OnePlus 6 also just has higher thermal throttling temperature settings, but then it would have also reached the very high temperature hotspots measured on the S9+ and MIX 2S, which just don't happen on the OP6.

In the end, the OnePlus 6 now posts the best graphics performance of any smartphone we’ve come to measure. This is not due to improved efficiency or power, but rather through a better sustained thermal envelope of the phone itself. It’s to note that while performance is very high, power for the Snapdragon 845 is still well above the Snapdragon 835 in this scenario and thus overall battery life at these high performance states will be worse.

System Performance Display Measurement
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  • Teckk - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Battery is not user replaceable, needs surgery. Do flagships have user replaceable battery these days? Reply
  • SpaceRanger - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Sadly, no. :( I do not like the fact I can't easily replace the battery with these newer flagship phones. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    It's reasonable to assume that a glass back always implies a surgical procedure for battery replacement. User-removable panels tend to flex and are usually held in place with some sort of friction clips which just don't work when glass is selected as the material of choice. Reply
  • James5mith - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    The only thing I wish for on my OP6 is the google dialer. Reply
  • TheCurve - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Great review, Andrei! Thank you! Reply
  • Xex360 - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Notch=useless phone, I still don't understand companies copying only the rubbish that comes from Apple, why don't they copy their performance, their screen quality... Etc. Worse for this phone I often found the S9 a far superior phone with much better screen and design (you get the fragility of glass but with the benefit of wireless charging), one of the best cameras out there... Etc for nearly the same price. They should get their act together and build a phone for more reasonable price and remove the stupid notch. Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    As I've explained in the review, I've found the notch to not be detrimental and such a reaction seems pure overreaction. Reply
  • Xex360 - Saturday, July 28, 2018 - link

    What bothers me the most isn't the notch as such (even though it's awful especially in person at least for me), removing jack port is just evilly stupid, but why lot of Android manufacturers copy it from Apple (small players excluded, I can see some benefits for looking like an iPhone, I yes I know Apple weren't the first to do it), why not instead (in this case) copy the X's excellent screen, wireless charging, faster experience I'm not talking about the SOC (even though Samsung should be able to compete) but by just rooting and removing some apps I made lots of Android phones much faster. Coming from OnePlus I was even more disappointed, I was waiting for some special not just copying the worse of others for a high price, especially that you can get the SO for just 30euros more. Reply
  • timecop1818 - Sunday, July 29, 2018 - link

    > faster experience I'm not talking about the SOC (even though Samsung should be able to compete)

    because it's Android, its just garbage by design. And the real problem is software "developers" who write apps, using shitty cross-platform toolkits to run it on both apple and Android.

    you know what cross platform actually means in reality? "Shitty on every supported platform".
    Reply
  • Dazedconfused - Sunday, July 29, 2018 - link

    I don't get this comment. There are more than a few comparisons between recent Android phones and the X
    in everyday use situations that show Android being at least as fast in most tasks (even with a synthetically slower SOC)
    Reply

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