It turns out that Google’s Tensor chipset, set to debut with the Google Pixel 6 series, may not be as underpowered as rumors would have us believe. New Pixel 6 Pro benchmarks have hit Geekbench, and it’s pretty good news.
In fact, the benchmark results show a single-core score that isn’t too far behind Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chipset, or the Exynos 2100 found in non-American models of the Samsung Galaxy S21.
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Previous benchmarks didn’t paint a very positive picture of the Tensor chip, with a single core score of 414 and multi-core performance of 2,074. Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 888 typically scores 1,000 and 3,500 in the same tests.
The recent single-core score has now increased to 1,034 points, just 8% behind the Snapdragon 888’s 1,121 average score and 3% behind the Exynos 2100’s 1,070 points. Sadly, while the multi-core score has improved, it isn’t by much. The Tensor chip scored 2,756, which is 23% behind the Exynos’s 3,392 average and 31% behind the Snapdragon 888’s 3,599.
At least for now, the iPhone 13 reigns supreme with its A15 Bionic chip. In our iPhone 13 review, Apple's flagship phone scored 1,684 and 4,129 on the single- and multi-core test.
But, as we pointed out last time benchmark scores leaked, there isn’t anything to worry about just yet. The Pixel 6 Pro the testing occurred on will still be running pre-release software, and there will no doubt be numerous updates and tweaks to that software in the time between now and the phone’s release.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is a great example of this in action, too, with numbers steadily improving since it first arrived on Geekbench in May. Though whether that phone is actually going to be released is still up for debate.
It’s good to hear that Tensor’s scores have improved as well. After all, one of the main benefits of building a chip in house is that it can be built to specifically run well on Google Pixel hardware, rather than trying to adapt a Qualcomm chip for the same purpose.
In theory that should lead to better overall performance, much the same way that Apple’s A series chips regularly outperform the competition. And it's all because of a much closer relationship between the chipset and the phone’s software.
Tensor is also said to have a focus on AI and machine learning, something Google has invested a lot in over the past few years. Building the chip in-house means those features have been the key focus since day one — meaning we could get significantly more powerful machine learning capabilities and computational photography upgrades than previous phones.
That may even be worth the slight dip in performance, compared to other handsets
But for now we’re just going to have to wait and see what happens when Google actually puts the phone in our hands. The current rumor is that the Pixel 6 will launch on October 19, with a release scheduled before the end of the month. In other words, we don’t have to be patient for very long.
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