News The Tensor G3 in the Pixel 8 is the best phone chip today


May 9, 2013
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That's a very clickbait article title.

Remember when HTC released a blockchain phone? Barely. Because it was capitalizing on a fad.

AI/ML is a part of the future of computing, but it's a PART. Everything else matters too. In a few years, there will be good enough commodity ML models that none of these vendor AI models will be differentiators. Phones will need to be good enough to run these models fast enough, and we should see that on everything except the budget segment.

Meanwhile - and this is important - the performance of the rest of the phone matters. What good is amazing AI performance if games halfway through the phone's release cycle are sluggish, or network connectivity is compromised, or the battery life has halved?

I wanted to love the Pixel 8. I wanted to easily justify ditching my Z Flip 4, a phone that is just grating on everything except performance. But paying full price for a performance sidegrade is really difficult, and nothing in the AI/ML being shown right now is life changing - and I'm a software engineer who has done some AI work!

Moore's law isn't dead, but we are reaching the limits of blind parallelization. Right now, the things that provide the biggest actual performace increase are:
  • Increasing the speed - both in clock speed and instructions-per-clock - of the fastest core in the processor
  • Improving scheduling to make sure the fastest core is doing the hardest tasks
  • Improving memory and storage bandwidth and latency - more cache, faster RAM, faster UFS storage, etc.
  • Improving the GPU so it can consistently feed high refresh rate screens and complex games
  • Making the software lighter (think Android's Project Butter a few years back)
The limitations of this round of AI will disappoint us. I fear we are approaching another AI/ML dark age if we don't temper expectations.
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Mar 28, 2019
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Speed isn't everything, but you gotta admit Tensor could be faster. I had a 6 Pro and switched to the 8 Pro yesterday. It's definitely snappier, but it still takes a few seconds or longer to process photos, run magic eraser and other tasks that Tensor is supposed to be optimized for.
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Feb 6, 2017
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No the G3 not the best chip by far it doesn't even compare to the first Generation Snap Dragon. Google offloads the generative AI tasks to the cloud because the chip can't handle it but I have no complaints yet on my Pixel 8pro.


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Dec 17, 2022
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So either Tensor sucks and because of 8 gen 3 (which isn't even available yet) it has no reason to exist OR it is the best chip ever??? Seriously.

This is the problem with our entire society. No one can even see nor consider a middle ground......

But I digress..The Tensor G3 is a huge improvement over the Tensor G2. No question about it. It is better in every way. I can say this from personal experience with both chipsets.

Google has never even stated that they wanted to best any other chipsets. They stated that they are focusing on many metrics besides just raw power. Since the G2 was an overheating mess Google was very conservative with the G3.

Despite this on raw benchmarks the Tensor is between the 8 gen 1 and 8 gen 2 which is a pretty decent showing considering how poor the G2 was in the same benchmarks.

Honestly the only thing that matters to Pixel users is that the performance is better than last year, battery life is better than last year, thermals are better than last year, and reception is improved with better efficiency. Google has delivered on all fronts. Does this mean that the Pixel 8 Pro will beat the OnePlus 12 with 16gb ram and 8 gen 3??? Obviously the answer is NO.

As long as Google optimizes Android for the Pixel 8 series it should run fine for years. Think about wear OS. It is essentially Android running on really slow hardware yet on the Pixel watch 2 it feels extremely snappy. So I think people forget how much the software can really make or break the hardware.

I had an P11 Pro Lenovo tablet and it had pretty decent mid range specs. It should have run a stripped down version of Android very fast. Yet because Lenovo did absolutely NO optimization the thing felt like a cheap budget device from years ago.

What I am trying to say is having the absolute fastest hardware is great but rather useless if not properly optimized.

I Can Be Your Hero

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Aug 14, 2012
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It's objectively the worst chip in a flagship phone, compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (or even Gen 2) and Apple A17 Pro pretty much however you want to measure it.

I don't even understand what this article is trying to say:

"Even Apple's new A17 Pro and its seemingly unlimited amount of horsepower can't run Google's own MOL and AI algorithms as well as the Pixel 8 and its relatively sluggish Tensor G3. Qualcomm and the rest really aren't even playing the same game. Since Google feels that these AI and ML algorithms are what's really important, the Pixel 8 wins by default."

So Tensor G3 is the best processor because it runs Google's specific AI algorithms the best? How does he know? Has he or Google tried running those algorithms on a Snapdragon or A17 chip? Does the Tensor G3 do better AI than the competition? Nope, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 blows it out of the water with the AI it can do.

Then on top of that, the performance of the G3 is multiple years behind the competition, on par with a 2020 processors. Tensor has been so bad in the past it would only last a couple of minutes recording 4k 60fps video. Now it lasts longer only because Google throttle the G3 more aggressively than they did the G2.

Then the battery and modem performance is woeful. My Galaxy S23U gets an easy 2-3 more hours screen time with my usage and cell reception is much better.

The Tensor G3 the worst chip in a flagship phone by a very long shot. The article doesn't even make an argument as to why the Tensor is supposedly the best.

So either Tensor sucks and because of 8 gen 3 (which isn't even available yet) it has no reason to exist OR it is the best chip ever??? Seriously.
You keep saying this and you're wrong. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is in the Xiaomi 14 which was released on October 23. It was released two weeks after the Pixel 8 release.