System Performance

The performance of Pixel phones has historically always been quite excellent due to Google’s focus on providing an optimised software stack on top of the provided hardware. For the Pixel 5, this is also the case, and is actually more important than ever given the phone’s not-quite-flagship SoC specifications. We’ve seen other Snapdragon 765 throughout last year – some were good, but others didn’t quite feel as responsive, so let’s see how the Pixel 5 fares.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Web Browsing 2.0

We’re starting off with PCMark’s web browsing test. In general, this test is more about a phone capability to maintain smooth animations without frame-drops, as most devices nowadays are frame-rate limited and bunch together in the charts depending on their refresh rates, with a few exceptions of some devices which have aggressive DVFS and scheduler settings.

The Pixel 5 here does well and ends up in the middle of the pack. It’s actually a good showing and doesn’t reveal that the phone has weaker hardware as some other Snapdragon 865 phones perform quite similarly.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Writing 2.0

The writing sub-test here does however showcase that the Pixel 5 uses inferior hardware. The test is amongst the most important in the PCMark suite as it has more heavy workloads which are more representative of general device performance and responsiveness. The Pixel 5 performs similar to the LG Velvet, which doesn’t come as a surprise as both have the same SoC. This is notable below the pack of flagship SoC devices out there.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Photo Editing 2.0

The photo editing test is accelerated via Renderscript libraries, and the weaker GPU of the Snapdragon 765 also comes into play as it doesn’t have the computational throughput of its bigger siblings.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Data Manipulation

The data manipulation test is heavily animation bound and has a large single-thread component. We’ve seen this test to be quite sensitive to the way the CPUs are scheduling things around and some devices perform better in the test depending on their software tuning of the scheduler and DVFS algorithms. The Pixel 5 actually fares very well here, which is no surprise given Google’s attention to detail of such things.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Performance

In the overall performance score of PCMark, the Pixel 5 fares adequately, and actually quite ahead of the LG Velvet, thanks to its better software tuning, but does fall behind flagship competition, including last year’s Pixel 4.

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView JetStream 2 - OS Webview WebXPRT 3 - OS WebView


In the web-browsing tests, including both the JavaScript workloads as well as the more general purpose WebXPRT, the Pixel 5 falls to the bottom of the charts. This is unfortunately just a hardware disadvantage of the rather weaker CPUs of the Snapdragon 765.

Overall Performance & Experience

Overall, in subjective device experience, the Pixel 5 still remains a very snappy and responsive phone. There’s a bit of a contradiction here as how to describe the phone – on one hand, Google’s excellent software tuning means that there’s very little lag for the phone, however the device’s lack of more computational power does however show up if you’re doing any heavier workloads, and here, it does become noticeable that it’s not as powerful as other devices which employ flagship SoCs.

The most interesting comparison here is against the Pixel 4 with the Snapdragon 855 – the predecessor device many times actually does outperform and feels more performant than the newer Pixel 5, a reminder that there is quite a difference in this year’s new product category that Google is aiming the phone at.

Introduction & Design GPU Performance
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  • Slash3 - Sunday, January 24, 2021 - link

    I miss my old S6 Active. Took a beating, but the sealed battery failed entirely. :(
  • StevoLincolnite - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    I had a Lumia 920 and that thing was built like a brick shit house, never had a case on it.
    Dropped it allot, even on cement, not a single crack over the years I used that as my daily driver.

    Fast forward to today... And I have the amazing looking Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra in Mystic Bronze and it's hidden by a rubberized case that hides the lot.
    My partner had the same phone... And even with the case on, dropped and cracked it.

    The case I am using is a full body case and over time where the camera sensor is, scratches and warps which impacts camera quality... Still not worth taking it out of the case though.
  • Myrandex - Monday, January 25, 2021 - link

    Oh yes, that Lumia 1020 was so nice, it felt so good in hand, that camera was incredible, I really miss mine!
  • DeeJay522 - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    The 5g is not plastic. I bought one in November and I love it. The feel and durability are great battery life is amazing.
  • Spunjji - Monday, January 25, 2021 - link

    Plastic is a great material for a phone. I've seen what happens (damn near every time) to the phones of people who avoid using a case on their metal and glass devices so that they can feel those "premium" materials, and it's not pretty.
  • MilaEaston - Tuesday, January 26, 2021 - link

    easy job online from home. I have received exactly $20845 last month from this home job. Join now this job and start making extra cash online. salary8 . com
  • shabby - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    I don't think you know what luxury means.
  • Citypoint725 - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    Pixel 5 is not marketed as a luxury your argument hold no truth.
  • shabby - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    Tell cbm80 not me
  • 1_rick - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    For what you get it's not very luxurious. It's like buying a Ferrari with a Mustang's engine.

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