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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  • Icehawk - Saturday, July 28, 2018 - link

    Ahhhhh. That’s why phones aren’t USB3, ok I always wondered why not but never actually researched why. Reply
  • jcc5169 - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Is One-Plus even available in the US market? Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    That's a nice phone! I'd prefer the addition of a microSD slot by maybe adding the capability to one of the SIM slots (I've seen a few dual SIM phones offer up that option) since removable storage is nice to have if you're moving from one phone to another. In this case, there's the potential to lose quite a bit of data if the OP6 dies suddenly. The price increase for storage capacity is VERY reasonable as well. It's way outside of my price range for something I carry with me on a daily basis though. There's just too many day-to-day bumps and knocks around along with the risk of loss or theft that have me convinced that it's not worth the price of entry to get something above the bottom feeders like the $5.29 new Huawei I just picked up last week. Phones, in my mind, are disposable devices so low-cost is the way to go. Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Nice review, Andrei! Question: I may have overlooked it, but this phone is NOT water- or dust proof, at least as far as I can tell, correct? That is a major minus point for a flagship phone in my book, as it "breaks" the deal/compromise of sealed battery, but IP67 or 68 water and dust proofing. Hey, even Apple came around to that view eventually. Here, we get the worst of both worlds, no user-replaceable battery, no SD card slot, and no water and dust proofing.

    Different question @ Andrei: are all benchmark tests for phones conducted at about the same room temperature? I assume they are, but, if they are not, that would add a major variable. Heat dissipation is just so much easier when in a room at, let's say, 20 C, versus one at 30 C (and we are having hot summers this year). And, circling back to my comment about water proofing, I imagine it's harder for a fully sealed phone (like the majority of current flagship phones, i.e. S9, S9+, V30/35, Experia Z etc.) to dissipate heat than it is for phones that aren't fully sealed up. Any comments? Thanks!
    Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    It's not IP certified but as you may have read in some teardowns it does have many of the protections that are usually found in IP68 phones. I guess it could survive accidental water situations.

    The sustained are done in constant-ish (21+- 2°C) temperature, yes. I don't think IP proofing has any effect on thermals, the ingress points are irrelevant to temperature. Most phone's thermals are determined by the mid-frame build and how it's able to dissipate heat over its whole footprint to the screen and back.
    Reply
  • 128bit - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Never like chinese phones there phones looks good, but there quality overall not that good same like there cars and by the way this phone overheating. Reply
  • Dr. Swag - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Great article, but could you take care to proofread a bit better? There's tons of grammar mistakes (mostly missed commas) all over the place. Reply
  • Dr. Swag - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    For the benchmarks, did you test for benchmark cheating at all? Reply
  • tsk2k - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Yes! Thank you so much Andrei and Anandtech, this is the only proper way to review a mobile phone.
    The web tests and frame drop testing is amazing, finally a way to quantify what I've been saying for years.
    Reply
  • shoreview - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Too bad that they refuse to put Verizon Band 13 LTE in there. It's pointless crippling of the phone. Like the missing ex-Nextel CDMA band that Sprint uses.

    Any insight on why this is? Did Verizon and Sprint actively intervene to keep OnePlus off their networks? In any case I've been on Android from the start but the support situation and security update situation are leading me to look more and more at iPhone. Which won't come easy; the USB lockdown on iOS and certain aspects of the OS are annoying to say the least. But this was one of my last hopes for replacing my Verizon-supplied Note 4 with another Android and it has been dashed. Getting a non-carrier-branded Samsung is a non-starter until they start taking long-term security support seriously; even Google Pixel is short of Apple standards by a year or two.
    Reply

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