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Google admits its blocked benchmarks on Pixel 8 series with unconvincing reason

Google reportedly said that it's standard practice for the company to block benchmark downloads on new Pixel phones.

Published onOctober 23, 2023

Google Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel 8 held in hand
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
  • Google confirms it blocks benchmarks on all Pixel phones as a standard practice.
  • The company has admitted to blocking Play Store downloads of benchmarking apps on the Pixel 8 series during the review embargo period of the phones.
  • Google claims it unblocks benchmark downloads before Pixel phones reach consumers.

Google has confirmed it intentionally blocked mobile benchmarks on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro during the review embargo period of the phones. The company admitted to Notebookcheck in an emailed response that it indeed stopped reviewers from downloading benchmarks, including Geekbench 6, from the Google Play Store.

It was previously speculated that there was a compatibility issue on the Pixel 8 series stopping reviewers from downloading benchmarking applications on the phones. However, Google has now said that it blocked reviewers from easily and officially accessing benchmarks on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro review units in order to stop the scores and specs of the devices from leaking to the general public. However, Google acknowledged that reviewers who knew how could still sideload benchmarking apps and run performance tests.

Mobile benchmarks are a crucial way of measuring a particular product’s performance in real-world usage. The results of benchmarking can be very different from what a manufacturer claims based on their internal testing. For consumers and reviewers, benchmarks help make an informed buying and recommending decision, so blocking people from downloading them isn’t the best look for a manufacturer, let alone a major brand like Google. That said, Google isn’t the only phone maker to block benchmarks on newly released phones. Xiaomi was most recently accused of blocking 3DMark on the Xiaomi 13 series.

Google’s reason for blocking benchmarks on Pixel 8 review units would have been understandable if information about the phones had not leaked extensively weeks before their launch. The complete specs, features, design details, and even clock speeds of the Tensor G3 were known before the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro were officially announced.

The company told Notebookcheck it’s not the first time it has blocked benchmarks from being installed on Pixel devices. In fact, Google said this is the standard practice it follows. The company further confirmed that it lifts the block on benchmarks before Pixel phones are officially made available to consumers. However, many, including folks at the reporting publication, could not download benchmarks from the Play Store on Pixel 8 units purchased officially through retail stores.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for benchmark scores on the new Pixels, you can head to our Pixel 8 review and Pixel 8 Pro review to check them out.

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