GPU Performance

One larger negative of using a lower-end SoC such as the Snapdragon 765 versus a flagship design, is the fact that Qualcomm’s Adreno GPU here is actually significantly weaker than you’d expect the “one tier” lower status of the SoC. The Adreno 620 is actually significantly smaller and lower performance compared to not only previous generation flagship SoCs, but actually even flagship SoCs even a few generations old. Last year we had seen the LG Velvet perform more like a Snapdragon 845 device, lagging substantially behind the competition. Let’s see how the Pixel 5 performs:

Basemark GPU 1.2 - Medium 1440p - Off-Screen / Blit GFXBench Aztec Ruins - High - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen GFXBench Aztec Ruins - Normal - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen GFXBench T-Rex 2.7 Off-screen

I’m not exactly sure what Google has done here to the Snapdragon 765, but something is definitely very different compared to other devices employing the same chipset. The Pixel 5 here posts significantly lower performance than a comparable LG Velvet or an OPPO Reno3 Pro 5G, with some of the scores even coming in at half performance. When I got the phone I initially thought this must be some firmware issue, but even now in January it’s still the same.

Measuring power consumption of the phone, the SoC barely uses 1W of power under a 3D load (total device power minus idle), which is far less than what we saw of other Snapdragon 765 devices.

I have no idea as to why the Pixel 5 is set up this way, however the end result is that gaming performance is just horrible. If other Snapdragon 765 devices roughly matched the 845 in gaming, the Pixel 5 is only half of that. Playing a modern-AAA title like Genshin Impact on the phone is horrendous unless you set it to the lowest possible settings, and even then, it’s not a good experience.

If you’re looking for a decent gaming smartphone, the Pixel 5 is not it, and I recommend users to give it a wide berth.

System Performance Battery Life
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  • shabby - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    So after looking at the chart it's $200 more for 2gb of ram, 90hz screen, ip68 rating, wireless charging and headphone jack deletion? Go home Google you're drunk.
  • cbm80 - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    It's a luxury product for people who don't care about price.
  • Operandi - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    That might be ok if had the look and feel of a high-end phone but its plastic, at least what you touch and feel is. BTW Google if you want wireless charging but want to avoid glass there are all kinds of materials that would work; carbon fiber, Kevlar, wood, maybe even ceramic all of which would look and feel better than plastic.

    I like what Google tries to do with the Pixel phones but the 5 is pretty disappointing.
  • MattMe - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    I bought a Pixel 5 a couple weeks back and have to say I much prefer the feel of this over other glass devices I've used recently. It's contoured nicely, is a good size and the textured resin material feels very firm with a nice textured feel to it. It certainly doesn't feel cheap at all, but it does feel more robust meaning I'm less concerned about it cracking or smashing like many glass-backed devices I've owned.
  • BedfordTim - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    I will agree, but glass devices are easily fixed with a case.
  • vuvaldi - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    If you would put a case on the look or feel of the material doesn't matter, and glass is heavier than plastic so plastic wins clearly here.
  • BedfordTim - Monday, January 25, 2021 - link

    I fully agree that plastic is a far more sensible material for phones. To me design peaked with the Nokia 735. Unfortunately all the best phones now have a glass back and rather than reject them, there is a partial work around.
  • at_clucks - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    With a *plastic* case. So just pretend there's glass under the Pixel's and that plastic case, you just never want to take it down and look. Fixed it for you.

    This whole "glass=premium feel" thing was started by reviewers who ran out of things to write and just bought the hype from manufacturers that glass must be something awesome. On the other hand reading reviews of plastic phones made you think touching them will give you the plague. By the time they figured out how fragile the phone gets most people were already trained that glass=premium and manufacturers were happy to deliver on it.

    We ended up having super fragile phones that have to be wrapped in armored cases just to survive. We never see their back once we take them out of the box and slap on the case but deep down inside we live with that warm fuzzy feeling that they're premium underneath.

    Plastic is just fine and cheaper. It can be made too feel pleasant and sturdy, certainly more so than glass. Whoever had a Lumia 1020 can confirm just how nice that polycarbonate casing was, no case needed. And plastic is cheaper so you can have a phone that's just as good but lighter and cheaper.
  • DougMcC - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    +1000. Gimme unbreakable phone so I don't have to add an extra 25% weight case. I couldn't care less what material it's made of.
  • patel21 - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    Give me a phone like S7 Active. And no need for even a screen protector.

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