GPU Performance

3D and GPU performance of the Pixel 4, much like all other devices this year with the same Snapdragon 855 chipset, will only be able to differentiate itself from the pack if it has any kind of special heat dissipation or extremely lax thermal throttling designs. We’re not expecting any big surprises here, and do hope the Pixel 4 XL is able to fare competitively.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Physics

Starting off with the 3DMark Physics test, which is actually a CPU benchmark within a temperature constrained test scenario, we see the Pixel 4 XL fall in line with the middle of the pack of Snapdragon 855 devices in terms of the sustained performance scores. It’s interesting to see the peak performance standing out and being ahead by a measurable margin against other S855 devices. I’m not too sure why this would be other than maybe Google having extra optimisations in the scheduling of the workload, or maybe even DVFS behaviour of the CPUs, as the actual workload performance shouldn’t change based on any other external factors such as drivers or software.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Graphics

In the graphics workload, things are GPU bound and that’s the main limiting factor for the performance scores. Here the Pixel 4 XL again falls around the middle of the pack amongst other S855 devices.

GFXBench Aztec Ruins - Normal - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen GFXBench Aztec Ruins - High - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen GFXBench T-Rex 2.7 Off-screen

This ranking is continued on over all the GFXBench tests as the Pixel 4 XL does adequately but still remains below medium amongst our Snapdragon 855 devices. A peculiarity we’re seeing in the benchmarks is that the peak performance of the Pixel 4 XL is a few percentages lower than that on other S855 phones. Again, I have no proper explanation for this other that it may be some regression in Qualcomm’s GPU drivers, or that maybe Google is being more relaxed on other DVFS behaviour such as on the memory controllers.

Again, whilst this performance isn’t outright bad, we have to keep in mind the pricing of the phone and its very late release date in the year. The contrast to Apple’s iPhone 11s here in the charts is pretty absurd, as it’s able to showcase scores essentially twice as fast as what the Pixel 4 XL can achieve.

System Performance Display Measurement
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  • watzupken - Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - link

    To me, the great Android experience is basically negated by poor battery life, QC and high price on the Pixel 3 and 4 series. Battery life for a mobile device is an essential requirement which this fails bitterly for a flagship phone. I agree it's a very gimmicky phone. It's rare to see reviewers being so harsh in their conclusion, but I feel Google really deserved a harsh wake up call and not be half hearted when they design a product.
  • nostriluu - Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - link

    I really think the author missed the point of the Pixel series. They are about Google's machine learning based smarts, which are well ahead of other providers. I plan to buy a Pixel 4 for the on-device transcription feature alone, though other features, not related to the the up-to-dateness of its SoC, are making me hesitate.
  • kaesden - Thursday, November 14, 2019 - link

    the one benefit of this phone vs a samsung, is getting a clean Android install without a bunch of bloatware installed on it by either samsung and/or the carrier's image, which allows for timely updates rather being 1-2 years behind all the time. However i dont see this as a compelling 'upgrade' from a pixel 3 at all.
  • BabelHuber - Friday, November 15, 2019 - link

    I think that this review is a bit too harsh.

    I agree that the Pixel 4's battery is a bit too small, but the 4 XL should have sufficient capacity.

    The Pixel 3a XL I have lasts 3 days under light use and more than a day under heavy use, in fact I never was able to deplete the battery within a day before I came home, even when it was late in the eveing and used the phone excessively.

    So with a bit worse battery runtime, the 4 XL should still be fine, perhaps except of the most extreme use cases.

    I have played around with both the 4 and 4 XL and they both are very snappy and the face unlock works as advertised. It's not enough improvement for me to upgrade, though.

    When we skip all the fancy gimmicks, there are a lot of pros for the Pixels:

    - Bootloader unlocking and re-locking with fastboot, no crap like KNOX or warranty void
    - Very easy to apply updates even when rooted
    - Pixel users get new features first, like Google Lens
    - Timely, monthly security updates (at least for 3 years)
    - First to new Android versions via Google's beta channel
    - Still a very good camera (in my opinion)
    - The best software. I know this is subjective, but I e.g. cannot stand Samsung's or LG's launchers, phone apps, contacts etc.

    The software features are the main point for me personally. I don't give a rat's a$$ about bezel sizes, popup cameras or slightly better screens, but I want the newest software and being able to easily root the thing.

    Other people might put mnore emphasis on things I don't care for, but for me Pixels are the best.
  • MooseNSquirrel - Sunday, November 17, 2019 - link

    Agree. The actual experience of owning and using the phone matters more than opinions about marginal differences in specs.

    Ive had the Pixel 3 since release and its great, especially the camera. Battery life is fine.

    Frankly any of these top phones are great, regardless of who makes them. I just refuse to buy into Apples annoying walled garden and so will never own an Iphone.
  • Hubert Satheesh - Monday, November 18, 2019 - link

    Well if Astrophotography and Soli radars are gimmicks, what about forced touch for 6s? I just remembered about the glowing tribute to force touch when it was launched in 6s in Anandtech. It praised how it's going to be the future of touch... only to be discarded by Apple a few yrs later as it was not practically useful. Though astrophotography is not a common occurence brushing it aside as gimmick makes one wonder whether theres an inherent bias towards anything Google and being lax on Apple!! Going by the same yardstick, the reviewer makes noise about pixels low display brightness. Now how many of us practically use our phone in bright sunlight to want that? Do we really need levels abouve 800 and 1000? So practicality is not the issue in most cases. As much experience and features a phone can pack, its better. If not you, someone will be benifitted by it. However it's of crucial importance for the pixel team to read such reviews as they are out of touch with reality. It's as if the team is living under a rock!! It's interesting to see how chineses OEMs with limited budget, resources and know how, easily surpass the mighty google in hardware and software design. Google needs a serious introspection.
  • tranceazure1814 - Thursday, November 21, 2019 - link

    When you can buy a OnePlus 7 standard model with snapdragon 855 and 256gb of UFS 3.0 and 8gig of ram and android 10 oxygen for 300 pounds,with far better battery life and decent camera why would you pay for a pixel 4
  • coronafelix - Tuesday, August 25, 2020 - link

    Really odd camera review, zero testing when it comes to subject focusing or how the cameras deal with actual subjects. Which makes sense considering the narrative mostly focuses on samsung's 'advantage' in dynamic range. (I do agree with their advantage there, but they have weaknesses as well). I think more categories needed to be tested for all cameras..
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, October 1, 2020 - link

    It looks like a much better phone then the pixel 4, but for $700 I'd expect a headphone jack and at least a 5000 MaH battery, or no headphone and 5500+MaH. I've given up on google ever using SD cards again.

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