Now that Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile platform has been unveiled, it’s time to pit the new flagship Android chipset against the reigning king, the Apple A16 Bionic. So, in this detailed article, we compare the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC vs Apple A16 Bionic Chip to see how the CPU and GPU performance differ. Furthermore, we compare the benchmark scores of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and the A16 Bionic, as well as the ISP, neural engine, modem, wireless connectivity, and so on. On that note, let’s see if Qualcomm has managed to outperform Apple in the silicon game this time.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC vs Apple A16 Bionic Chip (November 2022)
We thoroughly examined the CPU and GPU in this comparison of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and Apple A16 Bionic chipsets. In addition, we discussed the Geekbench score, ISP, AI engine, 5G, wireless connectivity, and other topics.
Specifications: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC vs Apple A16 Bionic Chip
Before we get into the specifics, check out this dedicated specs sheet comparing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and Apple A16 Bionic to get a general idea of both chipsets.
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC||Apple A16 Bionic Chip|
|CPU||Octa-core, Kryo CPU||Hexa-core CPU, 16 billion transistors|
|CPU Cores||1x 3.2GHz (Cortex-X3)
2x 2.8GHz (Cortex-A715)
2x 2.8GHz (Cortex-A710)
3x 2.0GHz (Cortex-A510)
|2x 3.46GHz High-performance cores (Everest)
4x 2.02GHz High-efficiency cores (Sawtooth)
|Process Technology||TSMC’s 4nm process||TSMC’s 4nm process|
|GPU||Adreno 740 GPU; Hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing||Apple-designed 5-core GPU|
|Machine Learning and AI||New AI Engine, Hexagon Processor||New 16-core Neural Engine; 17 TOPS|
|ISP||Triple 18-Bit Spectra ISP; Cognitive ISP, Snapdragon Sight||Apple-designed New Image Signal Processor|
|Camera Capability||Capture photos up to 200MP, 36MP triple shots with ZSL||ProRAW photos at 48MP
|Video Capability||8K HDR, Bokeh Engine 2||4K HDR Dolby Vision @ 60FPS
|Modem||Snapdragon X70 5G modem
Up to 10 Gbps Peak Download
Up to 3.5 Gbps Peak Upload
|Snapdragon X65 5G modem
as far as 10 Gbps Peak Download
Up to 3.5 Gbps Peak Upload
|WiFi Support||Wi-Fi 7||Wi-Fi 6|
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic
Let’s start with the CPU in our comparison of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and the Apple A16 Bionic. Both mobile processors are built on TSMC’s 4nm process node, so there is some initial similarity. However, things take a turn for the worse from here. While Qualcomm employs an Octa-core configuration, Apple has opted for a Hexa-core CPU design.
However, Qualcomm has slightly altered the core configuration of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 this time around. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 includes a single powerful Cortex-X3 core clocked at 3.2GHz, two Cortex-A715 cores clocked at 2.8GHz, two Cortex-A710 cores clocked at 2.8GHz, and three Cortex-A510 cores clocked at 2.0GHz to compete with and attempt to beat Apple. As a result, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has adopted a new 1+4+3 architecture, which is more akin to a 1+(2+2)+3 CPU design.
Apple’s A16 Bionic, on the other hand, includes two high-performance cores (Everest) clocked at 3.46GHz and four high-efficiency cores (Sawtooth) clocked at 2.02GHz. As you can see, the A16 Bionic’s Everest cores can outperform the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s prime Cortex-X3 core and nearly reach 3.5GHz. This is why Apple is always at the top of the list when it comes to single-core tasks. It also outperforms 8 Gen 2 in multi-threaded tasks because it has two Everest cores instead of a single Cortex-X3 core.
When it comes to efficiency cores, Qualcomm has finally caught up to Apple in terms of both performance and efficiency. Qualcomm is on the right track by replacing the aging A55 core with the Cortex-A510 core, which is 35% faster and 20% more power-efficient. To put it simply, despite the 35% YoY performance boost seen on Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, it still trails A16 Bionic in the CPU department, owing to Apple’s Everest cores performing exceptionally well even at higher frequencies while keeping thermals under control.
Geekbench Score: 8 Gen 2 SoC and A16 Chip
Following the CPU discussion, let’s look at the Geekbench results for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and A16 Bionic. The Vivo X90 Pro+ (launching on November 22) was recently listed on Geekbench, and it is most likely powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It demonstrated the power of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 by scoring 1485 in the single-core test and 4739 in the multi-core test.
This is what we get if we plot the scores on a graph. For a better comparison, I’ve included the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 8+ Gen 1, and A15 Bionic alongside the 8 Gen 2 and A16 Bionic. As you can see, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 performs similarly to last year’s A15 Bionic in multi-threaded tasks but falls short in single-core performance. When we compare the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 score to the A16 Bionic score, the disparity becomes even clearer.
When compared to the A16 Bionic, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 lags by at least 25% in single-core performance and 13% in multi-core performance. Surely, with more optimization, some device makers will be able to extract more performance from the 8 Gen 2, but based on the data we have right now, Qualcomm appears to be a generation behind Apple in terms of raw CPU performance.
GPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and A16 Chip
Moving on to the GPU comparison between the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and the Apple A16 Bionic, Qualcomm appears to be on the right track this year. The Adreno 740 GPU on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 may be able to match the GPU performance of the A16 Bionic in terms of both performance and efficiency. Golden Reviewer on Twitter compared the A16 Bionic’s GPU performance to the previous-generation Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. According to the results of the test, the A16 Bionic’s 5-core GPU is nearly 20% more powerful and 10% more efficient than the Adreno 730 on the 8+ Gen 1.
As per Qualcomm’s most recent data, the Adreno 740 GPU on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is 15% faster and 10% more efficient than the 8+Gen1. These figures, the GPU performance difference between the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and the A16 Bionic is only 5%. And the Adreno 740 GPU appears to be as power-efficient as the A16 Bionic’s 5-core GPU.
Qualcomm is able to catch up to Apple in the GPU department because the A16 Bionic only saw a 5% performance increase over the A15 Bionic. And now that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 supports hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing, many users may switch to Android for a more intense and visually appealing gaming experience. To summarize, the GPU on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 appears to be quite powerful, and for the first time, it may dethrone Apple in the same power efficiency category.
ISP: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and A16 Chip
Qualcomm has always included capable ISPs in its flagship chipsets, and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is no exception. It has an 18-bit triple ISP architecture and is capable of capturing over 3.2 gigapixels per second. Furthermore, 8 Gen 2 phones can shoot 8K HDR videos, simultaneous 36MP photos with all three cameras with zero shutter lag, up to 200MP photos, and more.
Furthermore, Qualcomm has entered the fray with something called Cognitive ISP. It uses artificial intelligence to perform semantic segmentation in real-time. It essentially employs AI to detect the scene, including the face, sky, skin tone, hair, clothes, and facial features, and then apply enhancements in real time. Qualcomm claims that this will significantly improve the end results.
In addition, the new ISP on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has received a Bokeh Engine 2 update for shooting better cinematic videos. In addition, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 supports the AV1 codec, but the A16 Bionic does not.
Concerning the A16 Bionic ISP, Apple designed a new image signal processor to power a variety of camera features on the iPhone 14 Pro series. To begin with, it can perform 4 trillion operations per photo, which is an incredible number. Furthermore, the new ISP enables the 48MP sensor to make use of the extra pixels and produce detailed imagery. Following that, a new Photonic Engine aids in the creation of photos with greater clarity, shadows, highlights, and vibrant colors.
In addition, the A16 Bionic’s ISP is used to stabilize footage while shooting in Action Mode. I am confident that Vivo, Oppo, and Xiaomi will be best positioned to capitalize on these camera features and compete with Apple’s iPhone.
AI and ML: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and A16 Chip
Qualcomm has always been the leader in AI and ML processing, and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 adds even more smart features. The AI engine on the 8 Gen 2 has been redesigned and is now powered by a new Hexagon processor. It is 4.35 times faster than the previous-generation SoC and provides 60% more performance per watt. According to the company, the AI unit on the 8 Gen 2 achieves better results in natural language processing with multi-language translation.
Furthermore, the AI engine is responsible for the Cognitive ISP feature and supports new wake words. A16 Bionic’s 16-core neural engine can perform 17 trillion operations per second (TOPS). To put things in context, the AI engine on the previous-generation SD 8+ Gen 1 could already perform 27 TOPS, so Apple’s neural engine lags behind Qualcomm by a significant margin. Nonetheless, the Apple A16 Bionic’s neural engine aids in the pixel-by-pixel analysis of photos to produce detailed images and performs admirably in computational photography.
5G and Wireless Tech: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and A16 Chip
Qualcomm is a wireless technology leader, so it has the superior connectivity system of the two. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 includes the new Snapdragon X70 5G modem, which supports download speeds of up to 10Gbps. It is also Qualcomm’s first modem to support dual 5G SIMs at the same time.
In addition, the Snapdragon X70 5G modem supports mmWave and sub-6GHz frequency bands in SA and NSA modes. Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3 are supported for local connectivity. On the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, you also get Bluetooth LE, the aptX Lossless codec for CD-quality audio streaming, and NavIC support.
Moving on to the A16 Bionic, Apple also employs Qualcomm’s modem, albeit a generation older. The Snapdragon X65 5G modem, which has a theoretical peak download speed of 10Gbps, is included in the A16 Bionic. It also supports the mmWave and sub-6GHz frequency bands. Aside from that, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3 are built-in. Overall, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will provide you with the most recent advancements in connectivity and support for new standards.
Chip King: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 or Apple A16 Bionic?
Apple’s A16 still outperforms Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, though the gap is narrowing. If Qualcomm is able to deliver their next-generation mobile chips designed by their acquired NUVIA team next year, it could be a real battle.