Pixel 8 series

Google Pixel 8 series gaming performance receives big boost, courtesy of first Feature Drop update


  • Google is updating the ARM Mali’s kernel driver to a more recent build.
  • The kernel driver is updated to r44p1, which was released on October 11th 2023 from r38p1, released on August 18, 2022.
  • Pixel 8 series customers report improved gaming and general performance of the phones.

Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro launched in October, and ship with the in-house Tensor G3 chipset. However, the performance of the phones faced a lot of heat from consumers to experts alike. The phones struggled to keep up during gaming, especially with titles like Genshin Impact. The performance was hardly any different from its predecessors.

However, the Mountain View giant is trying to fix the issues to a large extent with the December 2023 Pixel Feature drop. The new update is said to boost the CPU performance significantly.

Pixel 8 series performance reportedly improved

  • Courtesy of the latest update, Google is updating the ARM Mali’s kernel driver to a more recent build.
  • The kernel driver is updated to r44p1 (which was released on October 11th 2023) from r38p1, released on August 18, 2022.
  • As per the early feedback, it appears the update brings a huge jump in gaming performance.
  • One of the Pixel 8 users reports that the phone’s frame rate in Genshin Impact’s Fontaine city jumped from ~20-25fps to 45+fps, all without any excessive heating.
  • YouTuber TechDroider notes a similar jump in the gaming performance as Pixel 8 is now able to run Fortnite at a stable 60fps on the highest graphics settings.
  • Google is bundling the new ARM Driver with Android 14 QPR2 Beta 1.1 as well.
  • While the GPU performance may not be as good as the Adreno GPU inside the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (which powers phones like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and OnePlus 11), this is still a decent performance boost.

Google is rolling out the new Mali GPU driver to all Tensor-based Pixels. While this might not result in the same level of performance boost as the Pixel 8, there should be reasonable improvements.

We believe the GPU driver update might also help with lags and jitters troubling the Pixel 8 series owners since launch. Either way, if you are into serious smartphone gaming, the Pixel 8 series might not be suitable for you compared to the competition but thanks to the December update, the regular performance should see noticeable improvements.


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