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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  • Vitor - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    Lol that gpu perf. Looks like a soc from the 400 family.
  • shabby - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    Omg i didn't know it was this bad, i thought the G in 765g stood for gaming? Lololol
  • Fulljack - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    Qualcomm always botched graphic performance on their non 800-series SoC. never trust how many marketing done by Qualcomm or OEM/Vendor, it'll perform less than even two years generation ago of 800-series flagship.
  • Spunjji - Monday, January 25, 2021 - link

    Yup. I can only see it as a deliberate move - it means that even people like me with Snapdragon 835 devices can't really "upgrade" to a 700-series SoC unless we're willing to sacrifice GPU performance.
  • TinyOilot - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    We'll.. Google pixel 5 owner from UK. Let's talk about ugly things.
    Well... I bought pixel for pixel features. And that was my big mistake. If you're not in US, there's nothing left from pixel specific features, as they are not available outside US. (No "Hold for me", "assistant calling", "call screening") So, this phone becomes just another mid range phone.
    I guess, only purpose for me is early OS upgrades.
    Rather should look into OnePlus, as I like their warranty policy.
  • Mekk Elek - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    Thank you for your review. It is, like what, a 5 month late, and there is absolutely nothing new in it, but your effort to copy it together deserves some recognition.
  • lmcd - Saturday, January 23, 2021 - link

    Thank you for your comment. It is, like what, a 5000 years post-sentience, and there is absolutely nothing new in it, but your effort to copy it together deserves some recognition.
  • Hulk - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    I still have my Pixel 2 and don't see the need to upgrade except for battery life. I like the Pixel mainly because of the lack of crapware on the phone. Yeah I know I can root and get rid of that stuff but I'm lazy.
  • icrf - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    I was in the same boat. I had a Pixel 2 and was generally still happy, but the battery life was debilitating, so I bought a Pixel 5 around Thanksgiving when it was $50 off (incidentally, the exact same price I paid for my Pixel 2 three years ago).

    It was also nearing the end of its updates, which is really Google's killer feature with the Pixel line. Are there other Android OEMs that provide consistent seamless updates for three years? Only Apple does better, and I'm not willing to make that jump.

    The camera on the 5 is basically the same thing as the 2, plus the ultra-wide lens. I didn't care about 5G or headphone jack, but I really wanted the extra battery and waterproofing over the 4a. The extra storage and RAM is nice. I give no shits about GPU, and the CPU is adequate.

    I like the smaller form factor, but honestly, the best form factor ever, IMO, was the 2013 Moto X. I could actually reach the top of the 4.7" screen with my thumb. The lack of bottom bezel on modern phones makes it hard to reach bottom navigation buttons/gestures.
  • toffty - Saturday, January 23, 2021 - link

    You can enable the bottom buttons btw, it's somewhere in settings (Google it)

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