Google Pixel 8 upgrade is going to make your mobile gaming even better — here’s how

Google Pixel 8 shown held in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Yesterday Google started rolling out the latest feature drop for Pixel phones, including a bunch of AI and productivity-centric enhancements. The new update also has an added bonus, which should be a major boon to the phone’s performance — especially where the GPU is concerned.

Despite benchmarking tests showing a big improvement in computing and graphical performance, the Pixel 8 has been criticised for how meagre the performance upgrade seems to be. Heavy workloads like gaming have been especially criticised compared to how they perform on the best Android phones.

The latest feature drop also includes an updated kernel driver for the Tensor G3’s Arm Mali-G715 GPU. According to Android Police, this has led to some positive early reception — particularly when playing Genshin Impact. 

The site quotes one user, who claims that the game’s framerate jumped from 20-25 FPS right past 45FPS without generating any excess heat. Which is quite the accomplishment. YouTuber TechDroider also noticed an improvement after installing the Android 14 QPR2 beta 1.1, noting that Fortnite can run at a stable 60 FPS on its highest graphics setting. 

The new driver may also help improve the sluggish scrolling that some Pixel 8 users have reported in the weeks since the phone was released. So it’s not just a benefit for the hardcore mobile gamers out there.

Android Police notes that all Tensor-powered Pixels will be getting new mali GPU drivers as well — which is a benefit for Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series owners. Whether the improvements are quite as pronounced as they are on Pixel 8 is unclear, but the upgrade should be still be there.

Of course none of this is going to magically make the Tensor G3 able to better compete with the likes of the Apple A17 Pro or the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. Still any mind of improvement, especially on a chip as comparatively underpowered as a Tensor chipset, can only be a good thing for Pixel owners.

More from Tom's Guide

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.