The Google Pixel 5 isn’t the most powerful phone, but a new security update might have changed that. Updated Pixels now appear to have had a significant boost to their GPU performance.
The update won't make the Pixel 5’s Snapdragon 765G magically run as fast as the Snapdragon 888 or 865. But it does mean that the phone now performs a lot better than it originally did at launch.
- Google Pixel 5 review: A beautiful phone you have to make excuses to buy
- Everything we know about the Google Pixel 6
- Plus: WhatsApp testing chat migration between iPhone and Android
A lot of people noticed that the Pixel 5 underperformed at launch, even compared to other phones with a Snapdragon 765G chip. In our Geekbench testing we found that it had a multicore score of 1,617 points, which fell significantly short of a lot of 2020 phones. It’s even less than the 2,329 points scored by the Pixel 4.
But following the update it seems things have changed. Editors from Der Standard (opens in new tab) and Anandtech (opens in new tab) noticed a 30-50 percent increase in performance after the latest Pixel security update.
Turns out the Pixel 5 is now getting way better results in 3DMark. Like in 30-50 percent better compared to a P5 w March patch level. Even the results in general benchmarks like PCMark Work are a bit better (even though in this case really only just a bit). 2/ pic.twitter.com/58Ze5qFE6dApril 5, 2021
According to Der Standard’s Andreas Proschofsky (opens in new tab), the Pixel 5 scored 2278/2260 on OpenGL/Vulkan tests in 3DMark. After the update, those numbers rose to 3286/3083. That’s a very big change.
It’s not clear how such a big change happened after a security update of all things. Proschofsky speculates that the Pixel 5 may have been some performance throttling that has now been switched off. Unfortunately we don't have confirmation of that, or why the phone’s GPU performance has improved so dramatically.
The update’s changelog does mention “performance optimizations for certain graphics-intensive apps and games”, but it doesn't elaborate any further.
While the GPU boost is by far the most important part of this update, that’s not all the patch has to offer. Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G camera quality received a boost in “certain” unspecified apps. The patch also fixed a problem with all Pixel phones that caused the phone to freeze during startup, along with a glitch that previously caused the phone to appear offline while connected to a VPN.
But if you have a Pixel 5, make sure to update as soon as it rolls out to you. Boosted performance is always a good thing, especially when the boost is this big.
- More: Google Pixel 5 vs Google Pixel 4a 5G: What's different?