Google’s Tensor G3 processor powers a selection of impressive AI features in the Pixel 8 series, but it’s a little underwhelming when it comes to more traditional performance metrics. Its slightly older CPU cores can’t keep up with flagship chips like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, while its graphics performance and lack of ray tracing arguably push the chip closer to the mid-range than the top-tier for gaming. Still, the newer Google Pixel 8a sports the Tensor G3 at a very palatable $499 price tag; perhaps Google’s flagship silicon can stand head and shoulders above more affordable competitors.

Before we get into that, are all Tensor G3s equal to begin with? Past testing revealed that the Pixel 8 performs marginally slower than the Pixel 8 Pro, especially in stress tests, despite apparently using the exact same silicon. To check, we ran the 8a against the two flagship variants, and the results are reassuring. The Pixel 8a performs roughly in line with the regular Pixel 8. It scores a little lower in GeekBench 6 multi-core and PCMark’s mixed Work 3.0 workloads, but there’s not a lot in it. Impressively, the 8a performs marginally better when put through 3DMark’s intensive graphics stress test.