Google gives the Pixel 8 a gaming boost in a new update

Google Pixel 8 Pro in the porcelain colorway
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google's latest graphical boost for its Tensor-based Pixels has been stable in its December feature drop and its Android 14 QPR2 beta.
  • The Arm MALI GPU update boosts the Pixel 8's performance in Fortnite to run at 60fps with max graphics.
  • It's unclear how much of a boost the update will provide Google's older Pixels, however, an increase for less intensive mobile games should be apparent.

Google has silently brought in a graphical performance boost for the Pixel 8 that is unlocking more of its potential.

Technology enthusiast TechDroid posted about the Pixel 8's bump in performance during Beta 1.1 of Android 14 QPR2. Compared to its stable build, the Pixel 8 runs Epic Games' Fortnite at 60fps with max graphics enabled. This is quite an improvement, as it was previously shown the device could only achieve a very choppy 15fps when running the game.

However, the boost's appearance seems to be a continuation of what has reportedly arrived through the rollout of Google's December 2023 feature drop, according to Mishaal Rahman (via Android Police). It would appear that the company's included r44p1 Arm MALI GPU update is the reason for the sudden boost in mobile gaming strength.

Rahman adds the update "significantly" improves the performance of Google's Tensor G3 and other Tensor-based Pixels. A user attempting to play Hoyoverse's Genshin Impact, a graphically intensive mobile game, has noticed an FPS increase of around 45fps or more from around 20 to 25fps.

Given Google's work to improve its chip, its Tensor line still lands shy of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC and its Adreno 740 GPU. Even the company's upgraded "Qualcomm Adreno" GPU for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 pushes its graphical power even more alongside a boost in reducing power consumption for mobile gamers.

It's not entirely clear what sort of performance increase Google's older Pixels may see with the update. Despite that, it's clear there should at least be an improvement noticeable in games that may not be so graphically intensive.

The Tensor-based graphical boost is only one piece of the December 2023 feature drop. Google pushed the update nearly a week ago, which sees the inclusion of "Gemini Nano," a flexible on-device AI model for the Pixel 8 Pro capable of summarizing content in Recorder, and "Smart Reply in Gboard."

Moreover, users looking to update will have access to Video Boost. The camera-focused feature was announced during the Pixel 8 launch and is aimed at improving the overall quality of recorded videos. "Night Sight in Time Lapse" is another camera feature that delivers a better low-light experience for those looking to do a little more with their memories.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.