GPU Performance

GPU performance of the Pixel 3 should be relatively non-surprising for the most part – again we see the Snapdragon 845 at play and its Adreno 630 GPU should be performing excellently. This year the only real differences between devices was how vendors decided to set up their thermal throttling mechanisms and how the hardware itself is able to dissipate sufficient heat – as the SoC’s peak performance lies above the sustainable thermal envelope of a given device.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Physics

In the 3DMark Physics test, the Pixel 3 performs as expected in peak performance, however we see a more than usual decline is sustained performance compared to other Snapdragon 845 phones. Here it is possible Google has more strict thermal limits on the CPU.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Graphics

The graphics results on 3DMark are more in line with other S845 devices, still the small Pixel 3 does end up slightly lower in performance. It’s notable that the Pixel 3 here ends up with a lower sustained performance score as the Pixel 2 family – showcasing the worst-case scenario for the SoC.

GFXBench Aztec Ruins - High - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen

GFXBench Aztec Ruins - Normal - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen

In the new Aztec benchmark, the new GPU architecture does help quite a bit in terms of differentiating itself from last year’s Pixels, however still the Pixel 3 ends up at the lower end of S845 phones in terms of the sustained performance.

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen GFXBench T-Rex 2.7 Off-screen

Finally in Manhattan and T-Rex, the Pixel 3 ends up in the same ballpark range as last year’s Pixels – again a worst-case scenario for the new SoC.

Among Android devices the Pixel 3 doesn’t stand out too much from the competition, however is still going to be able to perform very well. One has to keep in mind GPU and gaming performance is very much tied to the hardware capabilities, and in this regard we’ll see major jumps with the next generation GPUs.

System Performance Display Measurement
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  • unrulycow - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    I'm really disliking the ad that moves to the corner when you scroll past it. Ads should not follow you.
  • sheltem - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    Thank you for the super detailed review. The wifi battery and camera tests are comprehensive as usual. Any chance you'll run the additional battery life tests on the Pixel 3 XL and iPhone XR? Thanks again.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    If I can get both those phones.
  • Nephelai - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    The speaker vibration on speaker phone distorts peoples voice. Worse if you put it on a desk. Even at 50% volume. I’m returning my Pixel 3. That air gap between the rear case and the internals is a design shortcoming producing a quality issue.
  • Awful - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    This review does seem to come to a different conclusion to most others re: the camera.

    My experience with google/pixel camera is that in day to day usage it ends up being significantly better. The HDR+ just produces more consistently colorful/contrasty/pretty photos under challenging circumstances.

    Your results don't really show that though, so I'm not sure. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Awful - Sunday, November 4, 2018 - link

    Okay, had to come back as came across another couple of reviews that disagreed with this conclusion. I think you should try using the pixel 3 camera as a daily driver for a bit, and try a larger range of subjects / situations and I think you'll come up with a more positive view of the pixel-as-camera-phone. e.g. this matches my experience better
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, November 5, 2018 - link

    Those shots are no different from mine. Plus they're just 2.8MP resized images.

    Like I said, the Pixels tend to darken shadows and raise highlights in order to achieve this contrast.
  • mrvco - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    I got to put hands on both the Pixel 3 and 3 XL today. I was really blown away by how perfect the Pixel 3 felt in my hand. The Pixel 3 XL wasn't even remotely appealing in comparison side-by-side. The gesture navigation was fine, but I do agree that it seems pointless relative to the current three button implementation. I currently have a Pixel XL and expect that I won't be able to resist ordering a Pixel 3 much longer.
  • Lau_Tech - Saturday, November 3, 2018 - link

    Great review Andrei! You rightly identified the pixel 3 's camera as its make or break feature and put all your effort there. Your results are very interesting and certainly defensible based on the wealth of data you accumulated. Well done!
  • satori3000 - Saturday, November 3, 2018 - link

    Was the name of the camera application that Andrei used listed in the article, I've gone through it a few times and can't see it. What camera application allows you to enable night shift? Anyone?

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