That Google Pixel 4 XL 5G leak is fake. Stop falling for benchmark leaks.

That Google Pixel 4 XL 5G leak is fake. Stop falling for benchmark leaks.

We know you guys love Pixel 4 leaks, which is why we’ve been covering them so frequently. The Pixel 4 is a cash cow for blogs because of the hype around the two phones, bringing in a ton of viewers. Even though Google has failed to keep its 2019 Pixels a secret, that doesn’t mean you should believe every leak that gets written about. Take for example the “Pixel 4 XL 5G” leak that has been making the rounds over the past 24 hours. That leak is predicated on two benchmark listings from the popular Geekbench benchmark. The problem with this leak, however, is that it’s totally fake. I know because I faked it.

With no real corroborating evidence, multiple (even respected) websites have covered the existence of these Geekbench listings, leading people to believe that Google has a secret third device in the making. The benchmark results seem plausible, the hardware information seems realistic, and the existence of a third Pixel has been hinted at before.

  • We know both Pixel 4 smartphones will have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. The benchmark scores are close to what a phone with that processor can achieve, and the processor identifier and base frequency match results for other (real) Snapdragon 855 devices.
  • We know both Pixel 4 smartphones will run Android 10. The benchmark listings show the operating system as “Android 10.”
  • This weekend, we found evidence for a mysterious 2019 Pixel code-named “needlefish.” This wasn’t the first time we saw “needlefish,” but this new reference pointed to “needlefish” being an actual Pixel device. The benchmark listing shows a third Pixel right after we learned about “needlefish.” Convenient timing, eh?

…then the rest of what these listings “reveal” makes this “leak” seem really enticing:

  • That Google is working on a 5G model of its Pixel smartphone. Even the latest Apple iPhones don’t support 5G connectivity!
  • That Google is working on a model with 8GB RAM. That’s double from last year!
  • That Google will offer 256GB of storage on this model. That’s double from last year!

These are all really exciting prospects, and I can understand why people are excited. The mere mention of a new “POCO” smartphone sends people into a frenzy, but we’ve shown you just how easily those rumors can be faked, too. This time, however, it’s not just the Indian tech blogosphere that has been fooled; even respected U.S. publications reported on this. Just search for “Pixel 4 XL 5G” on Google and you’ll see what I mean. I didn’t even have to pull out my secret weapon.

Check out my Pixel 4 XL 5G’s device info in AIDA64. The text is in Vietnamese so that must mean it’s legit, right?

I do feel bad for spreading this fake news, because I don’t like intentionally creating a hard time for the Pixel marketing and PR team who have to deal with this nonsense. I’m sure they have it bad enough dealing with the leaks coming out of Vietnam, Thailand, and China. Every time I think about doing something like this, I hope that it doesn’t spread as widely as it does, but I always end up being wrong about that.

Here’s your Pixel 4 XL 5G. It’s actually an ASUS ZenFone 6 running an Android 10 GSI.

It’s easy to tell me that I should just ignore these posts. I do generally ignore them, but the problem is that tech blogs (including us) thrive on ad revenue generated from page views and new users coming in. The Pixel 4 is a hot topic, so getting a headline out there—no matter how insignificant—bumps out something of higher quality. Regular users still fall for these “leaks”, so tech writers—even if they know it’s likely fake—will still report on it. Those of us that don’t, including us at XDA-Developers and our friends at 9to5Google, AndroidPolice, AndroidAuthority, etc., take a hit in search rankings because Google News can’t know that this information isn’t real. So please, stop believing in benchmark leaks, and tell others to stop falling for them, too!

Update: Just to clarify, Geekbench is still a reliable source when it comes to determining the performance of devices. We did not (and could not) alter the benchmark score, the RAM capacity, the storage capacity, or the OS version. Thus, the score that you see is a legitimate benchmark result – just not for a “Pixel 4 XL 5G” and rather the ASUS ZenFone 6. Geekbench is a good resource for benchmarks with its easily searchable database, but it should not be used as a source for leaks.

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