The Pixel 6 series is finally official, which means you can already buy the handsets in stores if you can find stock. It also means Pixel 6 users have tested the handsets in the wild, and we already have reviews detailing the actual experiences – here is our Pixel 6 Pro review. Performance is probably one of the three things people want to try out the most, the others being the 120Hz screen on the Pro and the overall camera experience. That’s because the Pixel 6 is the first Google phone to have a custom Google chip. And also because the Pixel 5 was such a disappointment last year. Turns out the leaked references were correct when it comes to processor speeds. But there is an unexpected GPU surprise.
Pixel 6 benchmarks that leaked ahead of Google’s launch event hinted that the Tensor SoC will have an unusual setup. Google used two Cortex-X1 cores in the eight-core Tensor chip. It is the most powerful Arm Cortex kernel around today. Chips like the Snapdragon 888 flagships only feature a single Cortex-X1 core.
Despite this, benchmark leaks have shown that the Tensor won’t outperform the Snapdragon 888 that powers phones like the Galaxy S21. Actual tests have shown the leak to be precise. The Tensor can’t outperform the Snapdragon 888 in Geekbench 5 tests, which we already verified in our review. In turn, this means that the Tensor cannot touch the A15 Bionic inside the iPhone 13 series.
But it’s not like we expected Google to outdo Apple or Qualcomm with its very first custom system-on-a-chip. Still, Tensor’s benchmark performance indicates that Google is indeed on the right track. And Qualcomm should be worried.
Pixel 6 GPU benchmarks
The real surprise comes from the Pixel 6’s GPU. The phone outperforms all of the Android flagships in 3DMark Wild Life tests, including the Snapdragon 888. This is something we checked out in our review.
A Redditor who received the Pixel 6 early took the test and posted the results online even before the reviews were released. They showed that the Pixel 6 GPU does better in benchmarks than any other Android flagship you can buy today.
The performance of the Google Tensor Soc GPU is the best of any Android soc to date.
Now the only question left is efficiency and sustained performance.
Source: https://t.co/qlYznHEXUO# GooglePixel6 # GooglePixel6Pro pic.twitter.com/Fz28CRhR4X
– Gold reviewer (@Golden_Reviewer) 24 October 2021
The Tensor GPU outperforms the Exynos 2100, Snapdragon 888, and Kirin 9000. The first two are the kind of SoCs you’ll find in Galaxy S21 handsets. The Kirin 9000 powers Huawei phones like the Mate 40.
That’s not to say that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro should be the go-to phone for mobile gaming or graphics-heavy apps. And users may not even feel the difference in actual use. One of the reasons for this is that most people don’t have all of the latest flagships to compare performance.
But Google’s accomplishment here is still worth noting. The Pixel 6’s Tensor can’t touch the iPhone 13’s A15, but the chip is still set to deliver a premium Android experience. Again, this is Google’s first mobile chip.
We expect Google to continue improving it to the point where next-gen Tensors can power laptops and tablets. This is what Apple did with the A-series chips, turning them into formidable SoCs that can power high-end laptops. And it turns out that Apple has made tremendous progress on the GPU side; just check out this M1 Max and M1 Pro review.