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Google’s Pixel 7 Pro is a bad gaming phone

Maybe just stick to photography with the Pixel 7.

Pixel 7 pro with genshin impact background
Image: KnowTechie

The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are powerhouses of camera prowess. That performance doesn’t appear to transfer to other tasks, however, with reviewers noting the lackluster gaming performance of the Tensor G2 chip.

YouTuber Golden Reviewer put the Pixel 7 Pro through their usual benchmarking, using the graphics-heavy Genshin Impact.

This is one of Josiah’s favorite games, thanks to its full roster of characters, a huge world to explore, and more.

But playing the impressive game on mobile can require a premium phone, and it doesn’t seem like the Pixel 7 Pro is living up to the task. Here’s what Golden Reviewer found out.

Pixel 7 Pro disappoints in gaming benchmark

Screenshot of youtube video
Image: Golden Reviewer / YouTube

The results were not flattering for Google’s self-designed second-gen Tensor G2. The Tensor G2 is built on Samsung’s 5nm process node, the same one used on the Exynos 2100, which debuted in the Galaxy S21 range.

The Tensor G2 in the Pixel 7 Pro performs similarly to the Exynos 2100, with an average 37.2 frames-per-second (FPS) and average power of 5.4W. The Exynos 2100 managed 36.1 fps with a 6.3W power average.

Almost every smartphone released since the Galaxy S21 Ultra beats the Pixel 7 Pro’s score. The iPhone 13 Pro gets 52.7 FPS average, the iPhone 14 Pro Max averages 58.4 FPS, and the Galaxy Fold 4 gets 41.4 average FPS.

Aggressive throttling could be the cause

Two pixel 7 devices over a purple background
Image: KnowTechie

He then checked the temperature of the back of the phone. That had a maximum of 42.4 Centigrade, which is “actually not very hot,” in his words.

That’s because Google appears to have gone for an aggressive throttling of the chip’s performance when it starts to get warm. Note that the Exynos 2100 got up to 46.3 C in the same test.

After a few minutes of gaming, the Pixel 7 Pro warmed up, and the throttle came into effect. He found the second half of the ten-minute test had lots of frame drops, even with a 37.2 fps average.

This could be to mitigate the issues with the Tensor chip in the Pixel 6, 6 Pro, and 6a. Those devices all had heat issues, more so than other smartphones.

Anecdotally, the Pixel 6a I purchased got returned to Google the very next day. It was overheating while doing basic tasks like reading emails, so I felt it was unsuitable.

The results aren’t great, but also aren’t the end of the world

The testing might not be the final word on the Pixel 7 Pro’s performance. It’s worth noting that the only mobile chips with big gains this generation are the Dimensity line from MediaTek.

We should also say that the chart had a wide range of results from the same chipset when looking at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon models.

That could be better-designed cooling on the better-performing handsets or other design decisions like cutting peak power usage, so it takes longer to heat up.

Ultimately, these tests don’t spell disaster for the impressive Pixel 7 Pro. However, if gaming is something you care about on your smartphone, this is at least something to consider.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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