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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  • s.yu - Sunday, November 11, 2018 - link

    Oh, I don't know what happened to the site but I'm experiencing frequent problems trying to view samples in full size, I see the correct URL when I hover my cursor over the sample but when I shift-click it(any other sample) only the first sample of the group is opened.
  • s.yu - Sunday, November 11, 2018 - link just gets stuck at the first sample of the group that I clicked, if I click say the XS sample then I only get the XS sample, click on another sample and I wouldn't be able to open the full sized version of that in a new tab, the new tab would load the XS sample instead.
  • Impulses - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    As long as you aren't photographing anything moving... The shutter speeds used will lead to more blurring.
  • Badelhas - Sunday, November 4, 2018 - link

    Andrei, didn't Google say that the "Night Shot" feature will eventually come to the Pixel 2? If so, the main advantage is gone, we can just buy a Pixel 2, which is much cheaper...
  • s.yu - Sunday, November 11, 2018 - link

    There's only one minor issue I'd like to bring up, I don't think Pixel3 clipped more highlight in night mode than Mate20P, all the blue areas are in fact not clipped, only, well, in highlight territory. Only pure white is clipped and from my preliminary examination of the sample with the spotlights illuminating the tree in the center, I'd say Pixel clipped a little less highlight.
    So I then downloaded the samples to view them in lightroom(the issue I mentioned seems to have been limited to page 7, I'm not having problems on page 8). When checking for clipping with the inbuilt tool I noticed that the Mate20P shot had unnatural readings, the tool only labeled two jagged streaks across the surface of the nearest spotlight, while a proper clipping of something like that should at least look remotely round, so I determined that to be software artifacts and added a slight 5 to the global highlight slider, which would just label whatever looked like pure white on that spotlight as clipped.
    On the pixel sample I did the same thing only slightly less, adding 2 to the slider already made pixel's clipping area look properly round(and the same size as Mate20P's). Then I went back to examine the clipping on the tree branches, it was too close to call. So I believe that Pixel and Mate20P retain the same amount (within 1/6 of a stop difference) of highlight DR, only Huawei's algorithm favors aggressively suppressing whatever it has available which Pixel does not.
    Adding that to the far superior detail retention I say Pixel's clearly the new night king.
  • chief-worminger - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    Hello Andrei,

    Thank you for the thorough review. I wonder when you say in the battery life section that "SoC efficiency can go either way", do you mean that some 845 chips might be more efficient than some 835 chips, and vice versa? If not can you please clarify?
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    In synthetic tests, the S845 was about equally efficient in terms of energy usage as the S835 - so only minor factors such as software scheduling might push the efficiency in one direction or the other.
  • saleri6251 - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    Hello Andrei, I remember a few months ago on twitter you mentioned that a lot of people thought the S845 was going to have massive improvements on battery life, but the logic was very flawed. What was the flaw in the logic?

    Also any hopes for next year when everyone will be on the 7nm chips?
  • eurico - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    I'd love to see some Sony phones used in comparisons, I understand that Sony's been lagging a bit behind lately, but still they do have some decent references in battery life and camera performance.
  • Samus - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    Sony has one of the, if not the best, camera UI. But the phones and sensors leave a lot to be desired.

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