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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  • Impulses - Saturday, November 3, 2018 - link

    They're not using bad sensors, I mean, they often manufacture everyone else's, the post processing is often horrid for Sony tho. You think they could get someone from their dedicated camera division to better tune that (they don't have the greatest JPEG engine either but it's gotten better every year).
  • Edwardmcardle - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    Awesome review as always. Will there be a mate 20 pro review? Have one and am considering returning because of odd screen issue. Also the new performance mode seems to suck battery, but animations seem laggy when not engaged...would be great to have a professional insight!
  • luikiedook - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    Excellent review, and comparison photos galore! I think a lot of the day light photos is a matter of opinion. Personally I find the iPhone Xs and Samsung photos over exposed and less pleasing than the pixel photos. The outdoor seating area for example, the black table tops look reflective and almost white in the iphone Xs and Samsung photos.

    Most of the time the Pixel photos are darker, but I'm not convinced there is less detail, most of the time.

    The p20 pro seems to crush everything in 5x zoom.
  • melgross - Sunday, November 4, 2018 - link

    The shadows on the Pixel are all blocked up. It’s pretty obvious. Some people mistakenly equate black shadows with better contrast, as Google apparently does, but that’s wrong. You can always darken the shadows later in a quick edit. But if the detail is killed on the photo, you can never retrieve it.
  • Dr. Swag - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    Hey Andrei, you got the displays mixed up. The 3XL uses a Samsung amoled panel whereas the 3 uses a p-oled from LG. The table on the first page says the opposite.
  • warrenk81 - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    haven't even read the article yet, just want to say i'm so happy to see smartphones review return to Anandtech!!
  • spooh - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    Pixel XL used in the review has optics issue affecting corner sharpness, and light fallof. I think it's also slightly less sharp than good unit.
    I've had one with the same issue, but returned it.
  • id4andrei - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    The Verge reviewer Vlad Savov is a big fan of Google's computational photography. He makes it seem like the Pixel is clearly above the latest flagships. Your expansive review paints a different picture, that of a phone that tries to keep up with a single camera module.

    On a personal level I have a dilemma. Isn't computational photography basically post-processing? Even if it produces a subjectively better outcome out of stitching several shots, isn't it "fake" somehow as it is not an accurate representation of a frame?
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    > Even if it produces a subjectively better outcome out of stitching several shots, isn't it "fake" somehow as it is not an accurate representation of a frame?

    Not really. If a sensor fails to have sufficient dynamic range by itself, then even with no processing that's also going to lead no an "inaccurate representation".
  • Impulses - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    It's a little fancier than the post processing you could (easily) manage yourself, mostly cause of the way they chop up frames in tiles to then stack them intelligently... You could say it's "fake" in instances where their algorithm just decided to drop a tile to avoid artefacts or movement etc., but wouldn't you just clone those out yourself if you were anal about the overall end result?

    It's an interesting question without a straightforward answer IMO. It's just gonna vary by shot and usage case, if you're getting consistently better DR then you're consistently closer to "what you see", but all photography is ultimately an interpretation.

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