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Pixel 7 Pro leak suggests Tensor 2 might lag behind once again

It sounds like Google might not be ready to embrace Armv9 CPUs just yet.

Published onJune 22, 2022

Google IO 2022 pixel 7 pro 2
  • Boot logs for a Pixel 7 Pro prototype have apparently revealed more details.
  • The phone might be getting a slight display upgrade.
  • The logs also suggest that Google is sticking to older CPU cores.

We already know plenty about the Pixel 7 Pro thanks to Google’s own disclosures and prototypes going on sale online. Now, it looks like we’ve gleaned some more information thanks to one of these prototype devices.

The Google News Telegram group (h/t: Android Police) was contacted by the owner of a bricked Pixel 7 Pro prototype. You’d think that a bricked device couldn’t tell us much, but the group claims that it was able to determine a few details via the boot logs.

For one, the logs suggest that the Pixel 7 Pro will be powered by a Samsung S6E3HC4 display panel rather than the S6E3HC3 panel seen in the Pixel 6 Pro. 9to5Google spotted references to the former panel earlier this year when Google was working to support it in Android. However, the outlet noted at the time that this only seemed to be a “slight hardware improvement.” Either way, it seems like you should expect a newer panel on the Pro phone.

Tensor 2 to be a step behind?

Google Tensor Pixel 6
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Telegram group was also able to determine more details regarding the Tensor 2 processor. For one, it claims that the chipset maintains a 2+2+4 CPU layout, consisting of two high-powered cores, two medium cores, and four lightweight cores.

Speaking of the lightweight cores, the logs reportedly suggest that Google is sticking with the Cortex-A55 core as its lightweight core. Chipmakers can’t mix and match Armv8 CPU cores (such as the Cortex-A55) with the latest Armv9 cores (e.g. Cortex-X2, Cortex-A710, Cortex-A510). So this means Google is likely sticking with older CPU cores like the Cortex-A78 and Cortex-X1 if it is indeed using the Cortex-A55.

Related: Arm Cortex-X2, A710, and A510 deep-dive — Armv9 CPU designs explained

Sticking with older CPU cores also means that the new Tensor chipset will lag behind current flagship SoCs on paper, and will lag even further behind when rival chipmakers launch 2023’s silicon. We’re still expecting a capable chipset in theory though, especially as the original Tensor processor’s benchmarks showed performance levels between the Snapdragon 865 series and Snapdragon 888 line.

Otherwise, the Telegram group says it found various code names in the logs, including Panther (Pixel 7), Cheetah (Pixel 7 Pro), and Felix (possibly the Pixel 7a). However, it confirmed that the previously leaked Lynx code name, believed to be another upcoming Pixel device, wasn’t present here.

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