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The Reason behind Google’s Intentional Difficulty for Pixel 8 Users in Running Benchmarks

Google Blocks Benchmarking Apps on Pixel 8

Performance benchmarks help prospective buyers compare the performance of different devices. They provide an estimation of how a smartphone will perform in real-world usage. Thus, Notebookcheck was taken aback when it found out that it wasn’t possible to download popular benchmarking apps Geekbench 6 and 3DMark on the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro from Google Play Store.

At first, the outlet thought that there might be a compatibility issue that was preventing the phones from downloading the benchmarking apps. This possibility was shot down by Primate Labs, the developers behind Geekbench 6, who said that they weren’t aware of any such problem.

At that point, it became apparent that Google didn’t want early Pixel 8 adopters and reviewers to run benchmarks on the device. This gave rise to speculations that Google didn’t want the Tensor G3’s not-exactly-outstanding performance to dissuade buyers.

That’s not to say that the Tensor G3 is slow by any means or it struggles when carrying out day-to-day tasks. It’s just not as fast as chips that fuel the other top phones of 2023, such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and the Apple A17 Pro.

While Google’s in-house Tensor chips have always prioritized machine learning more than raw power, AI experiences depend on a competent CPU and GPU. The Pixel 8 simply doesn’t have enough computing power to execute the various AI-powered tasks that make it different and apparently offloads a good chunk of them to Google’s servers.

Google’s Reply Regarding Blocking Benchmarking Apps on Pixel 8

The company has told 9to5Google and Notebookcheck that it did indeed block benchmark apps on its new phones during the review embargo period, ahead of the general release. But it was not for the rumored reasons mentioned above. The company says that it did so to avoid leaks and intended to unblock the apps before the phones’ release.

It looks like the company forgot to lift the restriction immediately after the launch, as Notebookcheck was unable to install benchmark apps on the unit they purchased on the release day for the first 24 to 48 hours.

It’s worth pointing out that users still had the option of sideloading the blocked apps.

“As with previous years, we blocked benchmarking apps for Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro ahead of launch to avoid benchmark and device spec leaks. These are unblocked ahead of the consumer availability of the phones. However, if reviewers want to try them sooner for reviews, they can sideload them on the phone.” – GOOGLE SPOKESPERSON

Another point that Google mentioned to exonerate itself is that this is not the first time that it blocked benchmarking apps on its phones and insists that this has been the practice since before Tensor-powered Pixels were launched.

The only problem with this explanation is that 9to5Google can’t recall Geekbench being blocked on the Pixel 6 Pro. But there are other users who say they remember having problems running benchmarks on the Pixel 6a and Pixel 7 series.

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