There may need been a collective sigh of relief when Google announced its upcoming self-designed Tensor processor and Pixel 6 phones. Finally, finally, it seemed that, after a hiatus, Google is prepared to once more turn the Pixel into a premium smartphone brand, both in looks and in specs. The Tensor chip, however, has thus far been wrapped in mystery and machine learning buzzwords, language which will likely confound most consumers asking the straightforward question of whether it’s powerful enough or not. The Pixel 6 Pro has finally surfaced during a benchmark to supply that answer, but it’s still too premature to draw any conclusions from it.
Google has been unsurprisingly secretive about the Tensor System-on-Chip (SoC) technical aspects, apart from its high-level benefits when it involves AI and ML processing. There are a couple of rumors here and there, but nothing as substantial as this Geekbench entry. So we’re finally getting a glimpse at what the Google Tensor could be like, and, suffice it to mention, it’s not your usual mobile AP (application processor).
For one, the configuration of cores is unconventional or a minimum of rare. Two cores are running at 2.80GHz, two at 2.25GHz, and 4 at 1.80 GHz. Given it’s unlikely that the Tensor will have two powerful Cortex-X1 cores (which is already the last-gen technology by now), we’d be watching four Cortex-A78 cores grouped into two and 4 Cortex-A55 cores. The configuration does a minimum of seem to get on par with a Snapdragon 888, which makes the benchmark scores even stranger.
The Pixel 6 Pro scored a measly 414 in Geekbench’s single-core test and 2074 within the multi-core suite. That’s considerably less than the typical score for the Snapdragon 765G running within the Pixel 5a (5G), much less a flagship Snapdragon 888, but there’s a crucial catch. A minimum of consistent with speculation, this Pixel 6 Pro could be a pre-production unit running on pre-release software, suggesting that the ultimate product will hopefully be up to snuff.
The benchmark does give the Pixel 6 Pro 12GB of RAM, putting it on an equivalent footing as most premium smartphones this year. It’ll be interesting to ascertain how the Tensor chip performs within the world and whether Google’s machine learning expertise is basically enough to compete with Apple’s long history of creating its silicon.