It seems that Apple’s reign as the maker of the best mobile chips will last until 2023. But Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 The system-on-chip beats the older A15 Bionic in several benchmark tests and comes close to the A16 Bionic in others—uncomfortably so, if you’re reading this in Cupertino.
Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 at its annual Snapdragon Summit last week, and as a guest of the chipmaker, I had the opportunity to do some benchmarking on the new silicon along with other members of the tech press in attendance.
The results I saw sound like good news for anyone planning to buy a flagship Android phone next year, as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is expected to power many of the best Android phones — including Samsung Galaxy S23 Lined up.
Whichever phone the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 ends up with, you can expect significant performance gains over current Android devices, at least based on the benchmarks we’ve had a chance to run. In particular, the performance of the new chipset in graphics benchmarks indicates that this will be a great addition to the best gaming phones that will be released next year.
For its part, Qualcomm emphasizes other Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 advantages, such as improvements to the AI engine and image signal processor, the latter of which is supposed to support a number of Camera improvements on upcoming phones. “Our goal is to create extraordinary experiences,” said Shaheen Farahani, senior director of product management at Qualcomm. Standards are a side effect of experiments.
For our testing, we used a reference design device provided by Qualcomm that’s powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 system on a chip. To put our results in context, we’re posting our own test results that were conducted as part of our phone reviews of the best flagship devices released in the past year.
It includes Galaxy S22 Ultrawhich runs on Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, in addition to Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the slightly faster Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset. We’re also comparing numbers from two recent iPhones—two iPhone 14 Pro Max And the iPhone 14, which works on different chipsets. (Apple uses the older A15 Bionic in its standard iPhone, while the Pro models get a boost from the A16 Bionic silicon.) Pixel 7 Pro Its Tensor G2 processor is designed by Google.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2: CPU and GPU changes
Before we dive into the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 benchmark results, let’s take a look at some of the changes Qualcomm has made to the CPU and GPU and how this is expected to affect performance.
The Kryo CPU on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 uses a 3.2GHz core. Qualcomm has added two additional performance cores to this version of its CPU for a total of four, while there are three efficiency cores. Qualcomm expects its CPU to be 35% faster than that of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, while power efficiency is expected to improve by 40%. (We’re especially excited about this last promise, since the battery life of Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-powered phones hasn’t really been that impressive.)
For Adreno GPU, it is the first to offer Vulkan 1.3 support as well as Snapdragon Game Post Processing Accelerator. It also supports hardware-accelerated ray tracing in real time. Qualcomm says this should result in a 25% increase in performance and a 30% bump in Vulkan compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. The GPU power efficiency is expected to go up by 45% as well.
The reference design device we tested features 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM. The phone is also equipped with a 6.8-inch AMOLED panel with FHD+ resolution and 144Hz refresh rate.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2: Overall performance
To measure overall performance, we run a Geekbench 5 benchmark. Traditionally, Apple phones dominate this test, and while the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 doesn’t change that overall dynamic, Apple’s mobile silicon A-series margin of victory shrinks.
|phone||Healer||Single-core Geekbench 5 scores||Geekbench 5 multi-core score|
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Reference Design||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2||1500||5249|
|Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra||Snapdragon 8 of the first generation||1,240||3,392|
|Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max||A16 Bionic||1,882||5,333|
|Apple iPhone 14||A15 Bionic||1,727||4553|
|Google Pixel 7 Pro||G2 tensor||1060||3,046|
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4||Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen1||1,328||3831|
We gave the Qualcomm reference design device powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 an average single-core score of 1,500, which topped the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 inside the Galaxy S22 Ultra at 21%. This single-core score was also better than the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s score of 1,328. This foldable phone was running on the latest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1.
iPhone 14 models maintain their lead in the single-core score, regardless of whether you have a phone running the A15 Bionic or A16 Bionic. The iPhone 14 has a single-core score of 1, .727 on Geekbench, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max boosts that number to 1,882.
It’s the multi-core test on Geekbench where the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is making its biggest strides. Its score of 5,249 beats the numbers put out by the Galaxy S22 Ultra (3,392) and the Galaxy Z Fold 4 (3,831) as you’d expect, but it’s also better than the iPhone 14’s score of 4,553. The iPhone 14 Pro Max continues to post the best score. Here, with a score of 5,333, but the gap is visibly narrowing.
We usually don’t run the Antutu test because it doesn’t produce valuable comparisons between Android and iOS devices. However, it can show how performance improves from one generation of chips to the next. On my Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 test device, it scored a score of 1,272,036 on Antutu. That’s 46% better than the score I got when I ran the same test on my standard Galaxy S22. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 feels like a huge leap forward over the silicon in last year’s phones.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 benchmarks: Graphics
The graphical changes Qualcomm made with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 seem to have paid off, at least in our benchmark results. In our favorite test — 3DMark’s Wild Life Unlimited — the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered device fared best, even outperforming the iPhone.
|phone||Healer||3DMark Wild Life Unlimited (FPS)||3DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited (FPS)|
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Reference Design||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2||84||22.4|
|Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra||Snapdragon 8 of the first generation||56.9||14|
|Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max||A16 Bionic||74||19.9|
|Apple iPhone 14||A15 Bionic||69.1||15.5|
|Google Pixel 7 Pro||G2 tensor||40.3||10.8|
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4||Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen1||52.8||16|
We scored 84 fps for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 phone, ahead of the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s 74 fps result. Performance was also a 48% improvement over the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s result of 56.9fps, so it seems like a big gain from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
Likewise, in the more demanding Wild Life Extreme Unlimited test, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s score of 22.4fps was ahead of both the iPhone 14 Pro Max (19.9fps) and iPhone 14 (15.5).
|phone||Healer||GFXBench 1080p T-Rex score (offscreen)||GFXBench 1440p Aztec Ruins Vulkan (High-Tier Offscreeen) result|
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Reference Design||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2||481||65|
|Samsung Galaxy S22 phone||Snapdragon 8 of the first generation||412||42|
|Apple iPhone 14||A15 Bionic||457||46.7|
|Google Pixel 7||G2 tensor||306||33|
Just to see if these results hold up in other graphics benchmarks, I downloaded the GFXBench app on some of the devices I own — the iPhone 14 and Pixel 7 as well as the Galaxy S22 — to compare their numbers to what I scored using a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 unit test.
In the T-Rex 1080p offscreen test on GFXBench, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 posted a score of 481fps, beating the iPhone 14 (457fps) and Galaxy S22 (412fps); The Pixel 7 trailed all three phones with a score of 306fps.
Likewise, on Vulkan’s 1440p Aztec Ruins offscreen, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s score of 65fps was nearly double what the Pixel 7 produced and ahead of the Galaxy S22’s 42fps score. (Note that the iOS version of GFXBench does break the Aztec Ruins tests in the Vulkan and Open GL versions, but the iPhone 14’s score of 46.7fps in the 1440p Aztec Ruins test trailed the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.)
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 benchmarks: Adobe Premiere Rush
In addition to synthetic benchmarks, we like to run a real-world test on mobile chipsets to see how well they handle the kind of tasks you use your phone to run on a daily basis. In our case, we’re taking a 4K video and converting it using Adobe Premiere Rush, timing the results.
|phone||Healer||Adobe Premiere Rush score (minutes:seconds)|
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Reference Design||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2||0:37|
|Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra||Snapdragon 8 of the first generation||0:47|
|Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max||A16 Bionic||0:30|
|Apple iPhone 14||A15 Bionic||0:28|
|Google Pixel 7 Pro||G2 tensor||0:47|
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4||Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen1||0:45|
Our test device, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, had the best result we’ve ever seen on an Android phone, completing the task in 37 seconds. That’s 10 seconds faster than what the Pixel 7 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra can do, and 8 seconds ahead of one of the previous Android pacemakers, the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Even with this gain, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 phones will likely continue to play second fiddle to the iPhone, even with the iPhone 14 Pro Max turning out to be a surprising result in this test. (Oddly, Apple’s best phone isn’t running the best time here.) Both the iPhone 14 (28 seconds) and iPhone 14 Pro Max (30 seconds) beat the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, though Qualcomm’s chipset is within 10 seconds. from beating. those phones.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 benchmarks: general impressions
Benchmarks for actual phones shipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 may differ from the numbers you recorded using this test device. Different phones can be improved in different ways, depending on what kind of experience the phone maker wants to provide. But those numbers still give us a pretty good idea of what to expect from phones powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 — and there’s a lot to look forward to.
Qualcomm’s new silicon feels and feels perfect for gaming or any other tasks that take a heavy toll on graphics intensive graphics. And while the iPhone maintains its lead in some key tests, the gap is narrowing — something important to keep in mind, given that Apple is rumored to be sticking to a strategy of putting different chips in its Pro phones and standard models with 2023. iPhone 15 Lined up.
So the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 phones should be among the best performing devices coming out next year. We’ve never been more excited to see what that translates to in a phone available to buy.
Updated to provide additional details about the Qualcomm reference design device used for benchmarking.
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