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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  • Jon Tseng - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    >It’s been a couple of months now since Google announced the Pixel 5 –
    >Unfortunately we didn’t quite get to a timely review of the device due to
    >other important industry coverage.

    lol Anandtech's "it'll be ready when its ready" approach to deadlines is one of the most endearing features of the site

    On that note has an Ampere/RTX3080 review on up yet? Obviously a somewhat hypothetical purchase but would be int to hear the view..
  • erple2 - Saturday, January 23, 2021 - link

    Interestingly, maybe Anandtech is right to not actually post a review of the effectively unavailable RTX 30x0 GPUs. They're not available to most people anyway. Maybe Anandtech has been silently protesting the "paper" launch of the next gen GPUs? :)
  • MattMe - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    I've owned the original Pixel, Pixel 3 and now the Pixel 5.
    I really liked the approach to offering top tier devices in a smaller form factor when the original was released, and appreciated the vanilla Android experience. The cameras have been fantastic, in all scenarios, I have been honestly left astonished at what the camera can capture even in challenging lighting environments.
    I dropped and broke the glass on my Pixel 3 otherwise would likely have kept it another year or so, but having had a look around I opted for the Pixel 5. One thing I noticed right away that I don't feel the charts here get across is the real world battery life. I'd consider myself a power user, but not particularly focused on heavy workloads (I don't often play games or run other demanding apps on my phone outside some image editing and music creation/production), but I have noticed 50% of my battery remaining at the end of the day quite often, whereas on my Pixel 3 (even when it was new) I would be needing to charge by the end of the day.
    The screen is great, the cameras are still fantastic, the resin/plastic back feels comfortable and grippy, the size is perfect. I really have no qualms whatsoever.

    My main reservation before purchasing was the CPU, I'd heard that it was a noticable downgrade to the Pixel 4 and even 3 but in reality I have not noticed this. I read reviews mentioning how you can see image processing completing when opening a picture immediately after snapping it, but I always saw that on my Pixel 3 too. If anything I feel this is quicker than the 3 over all, and I never felt CPU-bound with that device!

    All this is to say, I agree with the review. :)
    The price could be lower, compared to the 4a5g may not be great, but in comparison to the 4 last year as a 'flagship' I would say it is.
    I'm much more pleased with the device than I expected and would happily recommend it.
  • MattMe - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    That was a long one, I think I'm surprised by how it feels like an upgrade over the Pixel 3, despite many reviews talking about how it's a downgrade. I'd rather pay less if the only trade off is the CPU, which appears to be the case for the 5.
  • BedfordTim - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    The reason I have always ruled out Pixels is storage. For phone where one of the main selling points is photography, 128GB is not enough and expandable. I filled 160GB on my old Lumia 950.
  • supdawgwtfd - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    I have a Pixel 3.

    Unlimited cloud storage ;)

    Photos only now are limited on cloud storage Pixel devices.
  • iphonebestgamephone - Sunday, January 24, 2021 - link

    Not everyone has unlimited data ;)
  • tipoo - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link

    Hard to believe the GPU in this underperforms what was in my iPhone 7, 5 years ago. They went really low end with this chip. Now Android seems well enough tailored for low end hardware that you're not feeling it too much, but certainly with intensive apps and games you would.
  • GC2:CS - Saturday, January 23, 2021 - link

    But A10 took like 6 or 7 W at full load and throttle badly to 3.

    This sucks up one. You cannot directly compare those.
  • Spunjji - Monday, January 25, 2021 - link

    I mean, you can - and you just did.

    This is more efficient but slower than a 5-year-old chip. It would be fair to expect something that is both more efficient and *at least* as fast, given the intervening progress with manufacturing processes. Qualcomm can definitely build such a GPU, but they're choosing not to. It's sad.

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