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Google has actively leaked numerous details of its next-generation Pixel 4 smartphone ahead of its expected October launch, but one detail — support for fast 5G networks — appeared to be absent. That has changed, however, as new Geekbench 5 benchmarks (via PocketNow) appear to show a “Pixel 4 XL 5G,” which if accurate will be a separate and likely higher-priced alternative to the larger-screened Pixel 4 phone.
According to the benchmarks, the Pixel 4 XL 5G appears to share the same chipset as the standard Pixel 4 — a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 — with virtually identical single-core and multi-core benchmarks: 761 (5G) versus 751 (4G) single-core, and 2326 (5G) versus 2337 (4G), minor variations that are likely due solely to the tiny number of public test results, not actual differences between the chips. Both devices show eight-core CPUs and 7.5GB of available memory, which is to say that the key difference between them would likely be modem speeds.
Early 5G networks are delivering peak speeds in the 700Mbps to 2Gbps range, depending on the network’s configuration, with more typical speeds averaging seven times faster than the current LTE connection. As such, a 5G version of the Pixel 4 would likely be able to download movies, TV shows, and games much faster than non-5G versions, as well as supporting realtime streaming of mixed reality content and twitch games over cellular connections.
The only downside to the Pixel 4 XL 5G’s supposed specs is the performance gap between the CPU and Apple’s latest A-series processors. Last year’s A12 Bionic posts Geekbench 5 scores in the 1110 (single-core) and 2820 (multi-core) range, between 20-45% better than the Snapdragon 855, while this year’s A13 Bionic is expected to extend Apple’s computing lead by another roughly 15%. In other words, the Pixel 4 XL 5G’s fast downloads may be offset by less impressive app and game performance.
It’s unclear at this point which 5G network or networks a Pixel 4 XL 5G would support. In the United States, all four top carriers have launched preliminary 5G services with the promise of dramatic expansion in 2020. While Sprint’s 5G network uses sub-6GHz radio frequencies similar to ones initially adopted in China, Europe, and South Korea, the top three U.S. carriers all launched with millimeter wave technology that delivers higher peak speeds over smaller coverage areas. Depending on whether it follows prior Snapdragon 855 OEMs such as OnePlus or Samsung, Google may opt to focus on one flavor of 5G over the other, or offer devices that work on both types of networks.