Google’s April 2021 security update has started landing for a variety of Pixel handsets dating back to the Pixel 3, and while the update seems fairly innocuous when described by Google, there actually could be a major upgrade lurking within for Pixel 5 users. In fact, some are reporting that so-called performance enhancements in GPU-heavy apps are actually very dramatic in nature, blowing benchmarks from early in the Pixel 5’s lifecycle out of the water.
As reported by the folks at XDA Developers, this update may actually offer a big boost to the Pixel 5’s GPU capabilities. XDA Developers cites tweets from Andreas Proschofsky, a reporter for Germany’s Der Standard, and Anandtech’s Andrei Frumusanu, who both report major GPU gains for the Pixel 5 after installing the update.
After performing some benchmarks, Proschofsky states that the April update is a “much bigger deal than expected” for the phone, saying that a Pixel 5 with the April update applied performs 30-50% better in 3DMark than a Pixel 5 running March’s update. Other benchmarks, including PCMark Work, show an improvement as well, though not nearly as dramatic as what we can see in the 3DMark results.
Similarly, Anandtech’s Frumusanu states that performances “has been essentially doubled” from benchmarks he published back in January, also noting that the Pixel 5 is now “in line or better than other 765G phones.” There, of course, he’s referring to the Pixel 5’s SoC, the Snapdragon 765G. It’s even possible that the Pixel 4a 5G has also enjoyed a GPU boost, as it uses the same Snapdragon 765G processor and is listed alongside the Pixel 5 as one of the devices getting these performance enhancements.
So, if you’re a Pixel 5 owner, then you might want to install April’s security update as soon as you can. More information on that update can be found over on Google’s Pixel community site, but otherwise, we’ll wait and see if Google clarifies why this update was able to increase the Pixel 5’s GPU performance so dramatically.