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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  • Rmrx8 - Saturday, November 3, 2018 - link

    I actually like the ear buds. I bought them for my pixel 2 and I enjoy them just as much as Apple EarPods. Too bad more time wasn't spent on this on the review. Reviews of these have been mixed with people either loving them or hating them. I do lots of recording and the cut in on the mic is much less aggressive than the apple buds, which is a good thing for me. The higher frequencies on googles buds are attenuated a bit. But otherwise I like them and they don't fall out. Also age matters. I'm 51. Undoubtedly a younger person will have better hearing and maybe find more problems, as you age the differences start to disappear.
  • TidalWaveOne - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    My Pixel 2 will do just fine... hopefully the Pixel 4 will be good enough to justify an upgrade.
  • Genspirit - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    Also did i just miss it or was there no mention of the selfie camera or numerous camera features like top shot? Or live google lens integration. I love the in-depth testing on performance and the camera but I do feel like a lot of what makes the pixel a pixel was left out.
  • BNSFguy - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    " I would easily choose USB-C earbuds from any other primary smartphone vendor."

    That's pretty comical statement seeing that there are very, very, few choices for "USB - C" headphones, and most, if not all, are significantly more expensive than the $30.00 Google USB-C Headphones included for FREE with the phone. I mean, just go shopping for a pair of USB-C headphones. You won't find a single pair at any retail store such as Best Buy, and very few online anywhere.
  • imaheadcase - Saturday, November 3, 2018 - link

    THat is why most people use bluetooth
  • papoose34328 - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    Hi Andrei,

    Thank you for your very thorough review! Very informative
  • cfenton - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    My take away from this review is that it's probably better to try to get a cheap used Pixel 2. Google have lost their edge in daylight photo quality, and the Pixel 2 looks almost as good using Night Shift.

    Also, since Night Shift seems to be mostly a software feature, is there any reason it couldn't be ported to other Android phones? Obviously Google won't do it, but is there any hope that some clever XDA person will. I remember the Pixel camera was ported to other S820 devices, with varying degrees of success.
  • arayoflight - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    It's already been ported to many Nokia and Xiaomi devices, and active work is being done to make it work on OnePlus devices as well.
  • bull2760 - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    I made the switch to the PIXEL 3 from Apple iPhones. It's very interesting to see that a hardware testing site has not mentioned any of the cellular signal issues that are plaguing iPhone XS and XS Max users. I had the iPhone 10SX Max for 4 days and returned it due to extremely poor cellular service I was getting. From my research it is due to the 4x4 antennas that are being used. FCC testing shows that the new iPhones have signal issues when not in a strong signal area. I experienced this with the short time I had the phone. 4 dropped calls/call failed within minutes of each other. I'd be sitting next to my wife her on her iPhone 7 me on my MAX and my phone would have no service. I looked at her phone and she is pulling almost 3/4 antenna signal. Why is Tom's not diving into this? Anyway I got tired of Apple's crap and decided it was time to try my first Android phone. I looked at the Galaxy Note, and while I like the phone I'm not a fan of the curved edge screen. Plus the key point for me with buying the Pixel 3 is pure Android no UI installed on top of it so as Google roles out the next version of Android my phone will get the update automatically. So far so good, I'm really liking the Pixel 3. I should mention I am not a heavy gamer, I didn't buy a cell phone to game. I use it primarily for business answering email on the fly and calling customers.
  • pjcamp - Friday, November 2, 2018 - link

    "In order to combat this low memory, one new hardware/software feature is an application memory management 'lowmmemorykiller' background application/daemon which applies various settings to keep certain software in memory for fast app loading times. Whilst in general I don’t put as much value into this as some other people do, I did however notice that in everyday use the phones did need to reload applications more often. There have been user reports already that the phones are struggling to keep things open and alive in memory. "

    That's because software never compensates for skimping on the hardware. They could include more memory, but Google wants to push you into the cloud for everything. They could include removable storage but Google thinks people who use USB sticks every day will be confused.

    If it weren't for the fact that every other vendor seems to be dumber than a sack of doorknobs, Pixels would be going nowhere fast, but that isn't saying much. Lenovo essentially killed Motorola, Nokia won't sell anything of significance in the US, and everyone else can't resist product positioning by skinning the life out of Android.

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