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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  • jospoortvliet - Thursday, August 02, 2018 - link

    On screen buttons, really? the 90's want you back... Nokia n9 and Palm WebOS showed the future years ago, it is a bloody shame it took Apple to bring it to Android. Very disappointing to notice so clearly that Google only innovated when forced, even though the better paradigm was already shown to work and just lying there to be adopted.. Reply
  • Thefinn - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Yeah, notch makes it useless. I don't think so.
    What are you smoking? It's actually a great phone, but to each his own
    Reply
  • amosbatto - Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - link

    The problem with the notch is that it gives less space for the notification icons, which I find useful. Even worse is that 19.5:9 screens leave no room for front-facing speakers. Decent audio is far more important than more vertical pixels which I will never use. Also, the smaller the bezel, the less protection for the screen. Of course, when you make phones entirely wrapped in glass, you basically are inviting for it to be cracked. Unfortunately, nobody makes a decent phone like the LG V20 anymore, that is durable and designed to survive drops. Reply
  • 128bit - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    I'm using s9 plus and iphone x and nope screen of s9 plus might be has higher resoulation and excellent brghtiness, but still not as good as iphone x OLED there's black crash at low brightness even though its made by samsung. Apple knows how to calibrate there screen very well and notch isn't on iphone x like android phones wanna be iphone. Reply
  • id4andrei - Saturday, July 28, 2018 - link

    The problem you're referring to is an Android problem and that is the lack of a proper color management system. Samsung has color profiles corresponding to different standards such as sRGB or AdobeRGB built in but it's not a full solution. Reply
  • Skelter - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    After one month with the phone, I don't get the notch hate that seems to be trending in all tech related sites. There's really no downside to it. It hides on its own when needed and gives you extra screen space over what would have been otherwise a bezel. If you really hate how it looks, you can just hide it and the device will look like it was made with the same bezels the S9+ has.

    The only downsides the phone has, in my opinion, are the speaker (not bad, but not flagship worthy either), the glass back without wireless charging (not a deal breaker at all, but it would have been nice to get either Wireless Charging or a tougher design) and the camera (which is, at least since the last update improved its quality, almost as good as Pixel 2/iPhone X/S9).

    By the way, I wouldn't say Samsung's S9 has "nearly the same price". Even if you buy the cheapest S9 model Samsung is offering, there's still a $140 difference. Maybe it's worth it for some, since its screen is the best there is (even if it is smaller in the basic S9 model), its camera is slightly better and it has Wireless Charging and an IP68 rating. But that doesn't make OP6 a bad choice at all.
    Reply
  • johnhopf - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Your review is great, but I really object to this kind of camera evaluation.
    The only way you can take a decent landscape shot with the sky in it, is if the sun is setting behind you so the sky in front of you is dark and the scenery is illuminated.
    When you take a photo of midday sky and trees underneath it, the sky is probably 50 times brighter than the trees, and the only way to bring them in line is insane over-the-top "hdr" that gives the whole image the same mezzo-blah brightness.
    I'd recommend looking at real art photography for a while, to see how the shadows actually clip into blackness. My favorite photographer lately is Jay Maisel, and he has lots of good photos on his website.
    Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    > When you take a photo of midday sky and trees underneath it, the sky is probably 50 times brighter than the trees, and the only way to bring them in line is insane over-the-top "hdr" that gives the whole image the same mezzo-blah brightness.

    > I'd recommend looking at real art photography for a while

    Sorry to be blunt here, but most people don't care about art photography. The notion that you can only take a picture with the sun behind you is also outdated, the average person is not going to follow any of that advice. On the day I took those pictures I had dozens of tourists around me taking the pictures with their smartphones, for those people, they expect the smartphone to just deal with the circumstances.

    The point of these comparisons is to put the phone into difficult situations and see how they behave. Computational photography is very much a thing and it opens up new avenues. Look at the bridge photo of the P20Pro - it manages to do that because it has the technology in the sensor to do a different exposure for each physical pixel in the binned logical pixel, resulting in outstanding DR. Also as demonstrated by the OP6 here and some other phones, the results can actually be quite good if the HDR is well tuned.

    If one phone manages to do well then it means it raises the bar in terms of what's to be expected of other flagship devices in general.
    Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    if memory serves, Maisel has been using a view camera and contact printing for rather a long time. in any case, the dynamic range of film, using zone method, beats any minuscule phone sensor by a light year or so. but, just like the Kodak of the 1940s, phone snapshots aren't intended to be anything more than momentos. even a $100 digital camera will do better. Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - link

    I'd be surprised if any camera <$400 did better than a phone tbh, under that price bracket they'd feature the same miniscule sensors and often slower lenses (possibly better corrected and definitely able to stop down, but it's debatable how much you really need to stop down for DoF with these small sensors).

    Meanwhile smart HDR/stacking algorithms will definitely give phones an edge, these modes tend to suck even in high end cameras and photography enthusiasts just do it manually in post. Past $400 or so cameras definitely jump ahead tho, at that point you can easily buy something with a 1" (Canon G9 X) or even 4/3 sensor (Panasonic GX850).

    Obviously these are not exactly $400 phones either, even the OP has blown significantly over that threshold, but still... I'm all in favor of suggesting people look at cameras rather than side-grading phones for marginal gains tho. I was impressed by my Pixel but I didn't buy it for the camera and still vastly prefer my dedicated cameras.
    Reply

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