Google Pixel 3 And Pixel 3 XL Review: Killer Camera, Android Refined

Google Pixel 3: Gaming And Graphics Tests

Next we'll test the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL with GFXBench, which has been one of our standard mobile graphics benchmarks for quite a while now. In order to ensure display refresh (v-sync) and resolution are not limiting factors, we are comparing off-screen test results here. GFXBench tests OpenGL ES graphics workloads; we're specifically testing OGLES 2.0 and 3.0 rendering performance in the following two benchmark modules. 

3D Graphics Benchmarks: 3DMark & GFX Bench
Pushing The Pixels


The T-Rex results are somewhat quizzical; the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL should perform similarly, but the smaller Pixel 3 always finished behind its big brother. It's possible the increased size of the XL allows it to better maintain peak GPU frequencies because it's better able to dissipate heat, but we couldn't confirm this. Regardless, they're both among the top-tier phones, and the Manhattan results are right in-line with expectations.

We also ran Futuremark's 3DMark, which has been a staple 3D graphics benchmark at HotHardware across all mobile and desktop platforms for many years. In this case we were running 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, which is targeted for mobile devices and also runs at 720p in offscreen mode, so as to take display resolution out of the equation. This test and its 3D graphics engine are also based on the Open GL ES 2.0 API. 

ice storm 1

ice storm 2 a
The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL put up some of the best numbers in 3DMark Ice Storm purely in regard to GPU performance. Somewhat lower (but still very strong) Physics scores, which are factored into the overall result, hold the phones back from taking the lead, however.

3DMark Sling Shot is a newer benchmark module that's been added to the 3DMark mobile suite, so we have fewer results in our database to share, though we do have a few top-shelf Android phones, the iPhone X, and Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 in the mix. Sling Shot is a much more advanced OpenGL ES 3.1 and Metal API-based test that employs some advanced rendering techniques like volumetric lighting, particle illumination, multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers, and transform feedback.

3DMark Sling Shot Test
Futuremark 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Benchmark

In this test we again run the off-screen mode, so as to remove display resolution differences from the equation and thus can compare cross-platform results more reliably.

slingshot 1

slingshot 2

We saw more of the same with the 3DMark Slingshot benchmark. The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL put up strong graphics scores, but somewhat lower Physics scores -- which are dependent on the CPU cores, not the GPU -- hold them back a bit.

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