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Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic: Better smartphone chipset? 

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Qualcomm and Apple are two of the most prominent chipset manufacturers in the world. In 2022, Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 as a successor to Snapdragon 888. Apple launched the A16 Bionic for the iPhone 14 series the same year.

People often wonder which chipset is better in terms of performance, features and efficiency. In this article, we’ll try to answer this question based on various aspects.


Central Processing Unit (CPU)

Both the chipsets are based on TNMC’s 4nm process node, displaying similar transistor density and power consumption.

However, they do differ in terms of core configuration and clock speeds. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has an octa-core CPU with the following primary, performance and efficiency cores:

  • 1x Cortex-X3 core at 3.2GHz (prime core)
  • 2x Cortex-A715 at 2.8Ghz (performance cores)
  • 2x Cortex-A710 at 2.8GHz (efficiency cores)
  • 3x Cortex-A510 at 2.0GHz (efficiency cores)

Apple’s A16 follows a hexacore setup with :

  • 2x Everest cores at 3.46Ghz (high-performance)
  • 4x Sawtooth cores at 2.02Ghz (high efficiency)

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has more cores which should give it a slight advantage when doing multi-thread tasks. However, A16 Bionic offers a higher average frequency along with a balanced core distribution making it a favourite among the users.

Furthermore, A16 has a large L2 cache (16 MB) combined with an advanced instruction set (ARMv9) that considerably boosts its performance.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 single-core score stands at 1489 and multi-core at 5178 in GeekBench 6. When compared to Apple A16 Bionic scores of 2560 at single-core and 6540 at multi-core performance, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 stands quite behind.


Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

The GPU is another important component of your device. GPU is more graphics-oriented and handles graphics-intensive tasks such as gaming and editing.

On the GPU front, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 features an Adreno 740 GPU which is at least 15% faster and a bit more efficient than the Adreno 660 GPU featured in Snapdragon 888. Moreover, Adreno 740 is also more power efficient than its predecessor and also has a dedicated Bokeh Engine 2 for a clearer photography experience. Other features include:

  • Hardware-accelerated ray tracing
  • Variable rate shading
  • Vulkan 1.2 API

On the other hand, the Apple A16 Bionic GPU showed a mere 5% performance increase when compared to A15 Bionic. This is the reason why the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 comes quite closer to the A16 Bionic in the GPU department. The A16 supports Metal API for an optimised gaming performance.


Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is another key aspect in smartphones that helps with features like face recognition. The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is 4.35 times faster than its predecessor and also performs better per watt. Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 offers a 60% better performance compared to Snapdragon 888.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can deliver up to 26 trillion operations per second (TOPS) along with supporting TensorFlow Lite, PyTorch Mobile, and ONNYX frameworks.

Qualcomm also predicts that Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can deliver improved natural language processing power.

Apple A16 Bionic can perform up to 17 trillion operations per second (TOPS) which is a 33% improvement over the A15.

As we can see, A16 lags behind Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in the AI department. However, A16’s neural engine can help in pixel-by-pixel detailing of images rendering a sharp image.

Also read: 13th gen Intel i5 vs 12th gen i7: Which is better for gaming and editing?


Image signal processor (ISP)

The ISP is another crucial component of a smartphone chipset as it handles camera capabilities and quality.

Here, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has a triple 18-bit Spectra ISP that can support a 200 MP single camera, and a 36 MP dual camera with 8K video recording. Moreover, the 8 Gen 2 also supports a 36 MP triple camera with zero shutter lag or a 28 MP dual camera with 8K video recording.

The Spectra ISP can also adjust the camera settings as per the scene. With the new Snapdragon Sight feature, users can enable features including HDR10+ video recording and low-light photography.

The A16, on the other hand, has a custom-designed ISP supporting a 48 MP camera, dual 24 MP camera, and triple 12 MP camera. A16 also supports 4K video recording. Moreover, with new features such as Cinematic Mode and Action Mode feature, users can create cinematic videos with 4K at 24 FPS video recording.

According to DXOMARK, the Vivo X90 Pro+ running on Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 scores 142 compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s score of 146.


5G and wireless technology

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 supports a Snapdragon X70 5G modem that can go up to 10 Gbps. Moreover, this modem supports two 5G SIM cards.

Snapdragon X70 also supports mmWave and sub-6Ghz bands, dynamic spectrum sharing, carrier aggregation, and global roaming. Furthermore, you will get support for WiFi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3.

The A16 Bionic supports a Snapdragon X65 modem with up to 10 Gbps download speed. This modem also supports mmWave and sub-6GHz bands. Moreover, the modem has WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3 support.

AspectSnapdragon 8 Gen 2A16 Bionic
IntroductionQualcomm’s successor to Snapdragon 888Apple’s chip for iPhone 14 series
CPUOcta-coreHexa-core
Process node4nm4nm
CPU cores1x Cortex-X3, 2x Cortex-A715, 2x Cortex-A710, 3x Cortex-A5102x Everest, 4x Sawtooth
CPU clock speeds3.2GHz (X3), 2.8GHz (A715, A710), 2.0GHz (A510)3.46GHz (Everest), 2.02GHz (Sawtooth)
L2 cache8MBNot specified
Instruction setARMv8.4ARMv9
Geekbench scoresSingle-Core: 1489, Multi-Core: 5178Single-Core: 2560, Multi-Core: 6540
GPUAdreno 740Custom-designed 5-core
GPU improvements35% over Adreno 6605% over A15 Bionic
GPU featuresRay tracing, variable rate shading, Vulkan 1.2 API, Bokeh Engine 2Metal API, 4K HDR Dolby Vision
AI engineHexagon Processor, Tensor Accelerator, Vector eXtensions unit16-core Neural Engine, Photonic Engine
AI performanceUp to 26 TOPSUp to 17 TOPS
AI framework supportTensorFlow Lite, PyTorch Mobile, ONNX5-core graphics engine
ISPTriple 18-bit Spectra ISPCustom-designed ISP
ISP featuresUp to 200MP single camera, 36MP triple camera, 28MP dual camera with 8K video recordingUp to 48MP single camera, 4K video recording, Cinematic Mode, Action Mode
Camera DXOMARK scoreVivo X90 Pro+: 142iPhone 14 Pro Max: 146 points
5G modemSnapdragon X70Snapdragon X65
5G peak speeds10 Gbps download, 3.5 Gbps upload10 Gbps download, 3.5 Gbps upload
5G featuresmmWave, sub-6GHz, DSS, carrier aggregation, global 5G roamingmmWave, sub-6GHz,
Wireless connectivityWi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, GPSWiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.3,

It is quite clear that Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is a match for the A16 Bionic except for the single-core performance. Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also outperforms in GPU, AI and connectivity fields. So, you can definitely go for the Qualcomm processor if you want.

Also read: Intel i7 vs AMD Ryzen 7: Which flagship takes the cake?

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: kumarhemant@pm.me

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