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Pixel 5 sees dramatically improved GPU performance after the April update



Pictures of Pixel 5.
Enlarge / Our Pixel 5 came in this funky green version.

Ron Amadeo

Nearly six months after the release of the Pixel 5, Google has improved the way the GPU works, bringing the phone up to the level you’d expect from a Snapdragon 765G phone. The April 2021

security update for Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G) came with a note stating that it includes “performance optimizations for certain graphics-intensive apps and games.” Practical testing reveals that the update apparently improves the Pixel 5 GPU dramatically, and reportedly shows performance gains of up to 50 percent in some apps and references.

We do not have a Pixel 5 available for testing, but Andreas Proschofsky from Der Standard hinted that he sees “30-50 percent better” performance in 3DMark after the update. Andrei Frumusanu of Anandtech confirmed that “performance has essentially doubled from the points published [in Anandtech’s review], and queued or better than other 765G phones, “and added that” the fact that it took 6 months is sad. “Hmm. Yes.

It may seem impossible to add 50 percent better performance from just a software update, but Google only solves the awful condition of the launch phone. There was simply so much room for improvement over other phones. When we reviewed the device, we called it the “world’s slowest Snapdragon 765G phone”, noting that other Snapdragon 765G smartphones such as the OnePlus Nord could wipe the floor with the device in head-to-head GPU references. It was not a great look for the Pixel 5, which was already facing a switch to midrange hardware which meant it would be slower than the Pixel 4. Benchmarks allow us to put exact numbers on the changes, a trick for benchmarking; the numbers are reflected in reality when it comes to 3D games, which was terrible on Pixel 5.

Google says that the security update from April 2021 also comes with improvements in camera quality for third-party apps, a solution to a problem that can lead to freezing at startup, and a solution for some missing settings on the home screen. The update will now be rolled out to Pixel phones – just mash that update button.




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