The Google Pixel 5: A Mini-Review - Small Package, Small Value?by Andrei Frumusanu on January 22, 2021 9:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- Pixel 5
The performance of Pixel phones has historically always been quite excellent due to Google’s focus on providing an optimised software stack on top of the provided hardware. For the Pixel 5, this is also the case, and is actually more important than ever given the phone’s not-quite-flagship SoC specifications. We’ve seen other Snapdragon 765 throughout last year – some were good, but others didn’t quite feel as responsive, so let’s see how the Pixel 5 fares.
We’re starting off with PCMark’s web browsing test. In general, this test is more about a phone capability to maintain smooth animations without frame-drops, as most devices nowadays are frame-rate limited and bunch together in the charts depending on their refresh rates, with a few exceptions of some devices which have aggressive DVFS and scheduler settings.
The Pixel 5 here does well and ends up in the middle of the pack. It’s actually a good showing and doesn’t reveal that the phone has weaker hardware as some other Snapdragon 865 phones perform quite similarly.
The writing sub-test here does however showcase that the Pixel 5 uses inferior hardware. The test is amongst the most important in the PCMark suite as it has more heavy workloads which are more representative of general device performance and responsiveness. The Pixel 5 performs similar to the LG Velvet, which doesn’t come as a surprise as both have the same SoC. This is notable below the pack of flagship SoC devices out there.
The photo editing test is accelerated via Renderscript libraries, and the weaker GPU of the Snapdragon 765 also comes into play as it doesn’t have the computational throughput of its bigger siblings.
The data manipulation test is heavily animation bound and has a large single-thread component. We’ve seen this test to be quite sensitive to the way the CPUs are scheduling things around and some devices perform better in the test depending on their software tuning of the scheduler and DVFS algorithms. The Pixel 5 actually fares very well here, which is no surprise given Google’s attention to detail of such things.
In the overall performance score of PCMark, the Pixel 5 fares adequately, and actually quite ahead of the LG Velvet, thanks to its better software tuning, but does fall behind flagship competition, including last year’s Pixel 4.
Overall Performance & Experience
Overall, in subjective device experience, the Pixel 5 still remains a very snappy and responsive phone. There’s a bit of a contradiction here as how to describe the phone – on one hand, Google’s excellent software tuning means that there’s very little lag for the phone, however the device’s lack of more computational power does however show up if you’re doing any heavier workloads, and here, it does become noticeable that it’s not as powerful as other devices which employ flagship SoCs.
The most interesting comparison here is against the Pixel 4 with the Snapdragon 855 – the predecessor device many times actually does outperform and feels more performant than the newer Pixel 5, a reminder that there is quite a difference in this year’s new product category that Google is aiming the phone at.
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RaistlinZ - Friday, January 22, 2021 - link$700 is the new mid-range?! Yikes.
raystryker - Saturday, January 23, 2021 - linkAgree 1000% ....when you can build a decent gaming pc(when parts are available) for the cost of a "midrange" phone....
TheinsanegamerN - Monday, January 25, 2021 - linkSadly yes. People are willing to fork over $1500 for iphones and galaxy phones. People get them through contract plans "oh but its free" (no it isnt). People are not smart with money, look at all the people buying scalped consoles and GPUs, $50,000 cars, carrying tens of thousands in CC debt.
People like you and me, who look at a $700 device and see an expensive proposition, are int he minority.
eastcoast_pete - Friday, January 22, 2021 - linkMy main problem with Google's Pixel phones has been and continues to be that they are, at heart, iPhones for people who don't like iPhones or iOS. While I can understand not like liking iOS (have to use an iPhone for work), I have a hard time to understand why one wants to give up some big upsides of Android, such as the ability to add cheap, removable storage. That BTW is a key reason why I never bought an iPhone, even though they are amazingly good at videos, something that is important to me. If I want a small-ish Phone from closed ecosystem that constantly reports back to HQ and has no expandable storage, I'd get the original - the current small iPhone, also with better photo and video. The Pixel 5 remains a not-as-good copy of that, unfortunately.
GC2:CS - Saturday, January 23, 2021 - linkIs it possible that the SoC is deffective in hardware ?
Like half of the GPU is burned out so they bought it for lower cost.
In my wiew, even if it costs 700, it looks like they tried to save on every oportunity like plastic build, low RAM delaminating displays.
But scrap SoC sounds too much for me.
vanish1 - Saturday, January 23, 2021 - link$700 for the Pixel 5. How much of an Android fanboy do you have to be to buy this phone?? I'm being serious. Because for the price, the ip12 and 12 mini run circles around this phone in terms of value and will most likely outclass the performance of Pixel phones for a few years to come.
nucc1 - Sunday, January 24, 2021 - linkYup. I took one look at the specs and settled for an iPhone 12. I couldn't subject myself to using a midrange chip for the next two+ years with the low scores in web browsing benchmarks.
TheinsanegamerN - Monday, January 25, 2021 - linkWho cares about benchmarks? A snapdragon 625 scores WAY lower and yet handles android browsing, AKA one window at a time, just fine. We crossed the point of "good enough" long ago.
NewWestBC - Saturday, January 23, 2021 - linkMy spouse has a Pixel 5. Yes it has the Snapdragon 765G and it might not be a phone for gamers or at least games that actually make use of high fps. Camera e how images turn out are still better than phones that cost 50% more. It's depends what you use your phone for... Benchmarking phone cpu or gpu tells a part of the story, that for some people is irrelevant. For the price I think it's one of the best options if you are looking for a solid, polished version of Android. On click amazing photos. Boring for some, but it just works well all around and the average user could not tell if it has a 765G compared to a much more expensive 888 unit.
Google4Eva - Saturday, January 23, 2021 - linkWell I work for Google and I have the Pixel 4 which I love. Photos are fab facial recognition motion sense night vision and love the glass body. However what Google phones are NOT is a luxury phone. I would say they belong to Apple 13 Pro for design and features. Also Samsung S21 but Pixel is not aiming to be there anyway ditto Chromebooks too. They are mid range phones and value for money