Pixel 7 Pro chip might be 'way slower' than competition - but that's not a worry

Several Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro models lying face down
The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro (Image credit: Google)

Google has announced that the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro handsets are on the way, and has set a date of October 6 for the big reveal – but there's still plenty we don't know about these phones. A new benchmark that's leaked out on the web may have filled in a few details for us though.

As per Android developer Kuba Wojciechowski (via 9to5Google), who spotted a Geekbench listing for the Pixel 7 Pro: the chipset in the upcoming phone is set to offer an overall performance boost of around 10% over the Tensor processors in the Pixel 6 series. Graphics tasks, meanwhile, could see improvements of up to 20%.

That graphical upgrade should make the Pixel 7 phones significantly better at gaming and computational photography, although day-to-day phone tasks won't feel all that faster. Don't take this as official and confirmed yet though, especially as Geekbench scores are pretty easy to fake.

Slower than the competition

While on paper the chipset upgrade in the Tensor 2 might not be all that impressive – something that's been rumored before – Wojciechowski argues that manufacturing improvements will mean the Pixel 7 Pro (and Pixel 7) will be more power efficient. That means longer battery life, and higher performance speeds more often.

While admitting that the second-gen Tensor chip is "way slower than the competition" in these benchmark scores, Wojciechowski also points out that "thermal solutions, software optimization and miscellaneous components also take a big part in delivering good UX and performance".

One other tidbit from this benchmark leak is that the Pixel 7 Pro is likely to feature 12GB of RAM, like the Google Pixel 6 Pro before it. Once we have these phones in our hands ready for testing, we'll be able to let you know exactly how the levels of performance compare to the 2021 generation of Pixels.

Analysis: life in the real world

While benchmarks can certainly be useful in measuring the raw performance of a phone, they don't necessarily simulate how consumers actually use their phones from day to day. In other words, we're not getting too worried that the Tensor 2 chipset is looking like a relatively minor upgrade.

The processor is expected to be based on 4 nm (nanometer) architecture – that essentially means more computing power packed into a smaller space. It should be able to perform better without drawing as much heat compared to the 5 nm chipset inside the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 6a.

It also seems as though Google is upgrading the TPU (Tensor Processing Unit) on this new chip. That means AI-related tasks, including voice recognition and the Magic Eraser tool – will be handled better and run faster. That's potentially going to have more of an impact on how the phone feels to use.

The case can be made that modern-day flagship phones have processors with performance levels that most consumers don't actually need, too. Apple just launched the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus with chipsets almost identical to those used in the 2021 iPhones, for example – and they're still very fast.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.