The Google Pixel 4 XL is a performance beast but it runs super hot
About a month ago, YouTube tech personality Juan Bagnell pitted the Google Pixel 4 XL versus the OnePlus 7T in a series of CPU-intensive video rendering and transcoding tests designed to offer a clearer image of what real-life performance of the phones would be. The results of that test were almost hilarious, as the Pixel completely demolished the 7T.
The same channel has now published an even harsher test, with the Pixel 4 XL running against the OnePlus 7T, LG V50, and Asus ROG Phone 2. While the criteria of the earlier test was a minute-long 4K video, this new test has the devices transcode a BluRay RIP of a 109-minute movie, to compress it from its original 4 GB size to a more mobile-friendly 1 GB file.
The Pixel 4 XL finished way ahead of the pack at just 24 minutes, with the ROG Phone 2 taking double the time—48 minutes. The V50 came in third at 52 minutes, while the OnePlus 7T came in last at a laughable 1h17m (77 minutes).
At first glance, we're not sure why the difference in performance is this large. After all, the Pixel 4 XL uses a worse SoC than the ROG Phone 2 and 7T and yet, managed to finish well ahead of the pack. Taking a second look, however, reveals what could be the issue. Thermals.
Measuring the temperatures of the phones revealed that the Google Pixel 4 XL was running ridiculously hot at a peak external case temperature of 41 C. For some perspective, the LG V50 ran the coolest at just 27 C, the ROG Phone 2 came in second at 29 C, and the OnePlus 7T was third at 30 C. It would appear that the Pixel 4 XL prefers running hot at full power.
Of course, it's debatable which performance stance is better, both in the long and short terms. Run hot and get the task done quickly, or run cool and get it done at a considerably less impressive speed. We could probably calculate the amount of energy dissipated as heat to find out which phone was the most efficient for the process, but that would be a tad tedious.
We're inclined to believe that the Pixel 4 XL would still have been the best in terms of efficiency, though. Google's take may actually be reasonable—in the short-term, of course. Sadly, the video made no mention of battery consumption over the duration of the tests. There's also the issue of the possible effect of such temperatures on the device's components in the long-term, but that's a story for another day.
In any case, considering the fact that the source's own Core i7-8565U-powered Matebook 13 took almost 3 hours to accomplish the same task, this is a massive win for smartphones.
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