That’s going by a now-deleted note spotted by XDA on Google’s internal bug tracker mentions a device called P21 — supposedly the Pixel 6 — and suggests Google’s next phone could come with the Mali-G78 GPU. That’s the same powerful graphics processor found in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 used by the likes of the Oppo Find X3 Pro.
It’s not possible to glean from current information whether the Pixel 6 will have directly comparable graphical performance to the Galaxy S21 or other 2021 Android flagships like the OnePlus 9 Pro, however, as the GPU has a variety of configurations. The Pixel 6’s Mali-G78 could have a different clock speed or number of cores, meaning it might run faster or slower than the Galaxy S21’s GPU.
Still, the leak is an intriguing one for Pixel users. A key criticism of the Pixel 5 was it used a mid-range Snapdragon 765G with an Adreno 620 GPU. It’s a capable chipset but not one that offers as snappy performance when compared to other high-end Android phones. That’s level of performance is find in some of our picks for the best cheap phones, but not in a phone with a price tag of $699, especially when the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE has a more powerful chip for the same amout of cash.
It didn’t help the Pixel 5 that the Adreno 620’s capabilities were artificially limited for several months. The Mali-G78 is more powerful, but it remains to be seen what kind of performance Google can eke out of it, if it does indeed make it into the Pixel 6.
This leak spells good news for mobile gamers as an upgraded CPU and Android 12’s game mode should help games to run better on the Pixel 6 than on previous models.
Rumors suggest Google is working with Samsung on a custom chipset called Whitechapel for Pixel 6. That adds fuel to the fire of the Mali-G78 leak, especially if Samsung draws from its Exynos designs for the chipset. Combined with this GPU, rumors of a design revamp, the Android 12 overhaul and a boosted camera system, it seems Google is going back to the drawing board this year. The Pixel 6 is shaping up to be a serious departure from previous models.