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Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic: It’s a Close Call


Now that Qualcomm has unveiled its top-of-the-line Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile platform, 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 Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic to find out the difference in CPU and GPU performance. In addition, we compare the benchmark scores of Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic, and we also analyze the ISP, neural engine, modem, wireless connectivity, etc. On that note, let’s go ahead and check whether this time Qualcomm has managed to pull ahead of Apple in the silicon game.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic (2022)

In this comparison between the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and Apple A16 Bionic chipsets, we have analyzed the CPU and GPU in detail. Along with that, we have also discussed the Geekbench score, ISP, AI engine, 5G, wireless connectivity, and more.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic: Specifications

Before we explain in detail, go through this dedicated specs sheet comparing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and Apple A16 Bionic to get a rough idea about both chipsets.

  Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Apple A16 Bionic
CPU Octa-core, Kryo CPU Hexa-core CPU, 16 billion transistors
CPU Cores 1x 3.2GHz (Cortex-X3)
4x 2.8GHz (Cortex-A715)
3x 2.0GHz (Cortex-A510)
2x 3.46GHz High-performance cores (Everest)
4x 2.02GHz High-efficiency cores (Sawtooth)
Process Technology 4nm 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
Photonic Engine
Video Capability 8K HDR, Bokeh Engine 2 4K HDR Dolby Vision @ 60FPS
Cinematic 4K@24FPS
Action mode
Modem Snapdragon X70 5G modem
Up to 10 Gbps Peak Download
Up to 3.5 Gbps Peak Upload
Snapdragon X65 5G modem
Up to 10 Gbps Peak Download
Up to 3.5 Gbps Peak Upload
WiFi Support Wi-Fi 7 Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.3, LE Audio, Dual Bluetooth Antenna, aptX Lossless Bluetooth 5.3
Others AV1 Codec Support
NavIC Support
No AV1 Codec Support
No Navic Support

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic: CPU

In our comparison between Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and Apple A16 Bionic, let’s first talk about the CPU. Both the mobile processors are built on TSMC’s 4nm process node so there is some similarity, at least initially. However, things veer off from here. While Qualcomm uses an Octa-core setup, Apple has gone with a Hexa-core CPU design.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic: It’s a Close Call

That said, Qualcomm has slightly changed the core configuration this time on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. To compete against and attempt to beat the likes of Apple, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 packs in a single powerful Cortex-X3 core clocked at 3.2GHz, 4x Cortex-A715 cores clocked at 2.8GHz, and 3x Cortex-A510 cores clocked at 2.0GHz. So, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has adopted a new 1+4+3 architecture.

On the other hand, the A16 Bionic from Apple packs 2x high-performance cores (Everest) clocked at 3.46GHz and 4x high-efficiency cores (Sawtooth) clocked at 2.02GHz. As you may notice, the A16 Bionic’s Everest cores can go higher than Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s prime Cortex-X3 core and almost touches 3.5GHz. This is the reason Apple always tops the list when it comes to single-core tasks. And since it packs two Everest cores, as opposed to a single Cortex-X3 core on 8 Gen 2, it also remains ahead in multi-threaded tasks.

“Apple’s Everest cores operate exceptionally well even at a higher frequency while keeping the temperature in check.”

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic: It’s a Close Call

If we talk about the efficiency cores, Qualcomm has now come on par with Apple, both in terms of performance and efficiency. By replacing the aging A55 core with the Cortex-A510 core, which is 35% faster and 20% more power-efficient, Qualcomm is on the right track. So to put it simply, despite the 35% YoY performance jump seen on Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, it’s still behind A16 Bionic in the CPU department, squarely because Apple’s Everest cores operate exceptionally well even at a higher frequency while keeping thermals in check.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic: Geekbench Score

After the CPU discussion, let’s now take a look at the Geekbench scores of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and A16 Bionic. Just recently, Vivo X90 Pro+ (launching on November 22) appeared in a Geekbench listing, most likely powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It revealed to us how powerful the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will be, as it scored 1485 in the single-core test and 4739 in the multi-core test.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic: It’s a Close Call
Geekbench score of Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

If we plot the scores on a graph, this is what we get. Alongside the 8 Gen 2 and A16 Bionic, I have also added Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 8+ Gen 1, and A15 Bionic for a better comparison. As you can notice, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is closer to last year’s A15 Bionic in multi-threaded tasks but still not there when we consider the single-core performance. And if we compare Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s score with A16 Bionic, the difference becomes even more apparent.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic: It’s a Close Call

When stacked against A16 Bionic, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is at least 25% behind in single-core performance and 13% behind in multi-core performance. Surely, with more optimization, some device makers will be able to draw more performance out of the 8 Gen 2, but given the data we have right now, it seems like Qualcomm is still a generation behind Apple when it comes to raw CPU performance.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic: GPU

Moving to the GPU comparison between Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and Apple A16 Bionic, well things are looking promising for Qualcomm this year. The Adreno 740 GPU on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 might match A16 Bionic’s GPU performance both in terms of performance and efficiency. Golden Reviewer on Twitter tested A16 Bionic’s GPU performance in comparison to the last-gen Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. The test concluded that A16 Bionic’s 5-core GPU is almost 20% more powerful and 10% more efficient than the Adreno 730 on the 8+ Gen 1.

With the latest figures provided by Qualcomm, the Adreno 740 GPU on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is 15% faster and 10% more efficient than the 8+Gen1. If we go by these figures, the GPU performance difference between Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and A16 Bionic reduces to just 5%. And the Adreno 740 GPU comes across as a GPU that’s as power-efficient as the 5-core GPU on the A16 Bionic.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic: It’s a Close Call
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

The reason Qualcomm is able to catch up with Apple in the GPU department is that the A16 Bionic only saw a marginal performance jump of 5% over the A15 Bionic. And now that Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 comes with hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing support, many users might switch to Android for an intensive and visually-pleasing gaming experience. To conclude, the GPU on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is looking quite powerful and for the first time, it might dethrone Apple in the same power efficiency bracket.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic: ISP

Qualcomm has always packed capable ISPs on its flagship chipsets and the same is true for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It comes with an 18-bit triple ISP architecture and can capture over 3.2 gigapixels per second. On top of that, 8 Gen 2 phones can also shoot 8K HDR videos, take simultaneous 36MP photos with all three cameras with zero shutter lag, shoot up to 200MP photos, and more.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic: It’s a Close Call
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

In addition, Qualcomm has brought something called Cognitive ISP into the fray. It is powered by AI to perform semantic segmentation in real time. It basically uses AI to detect the scene including face, sky, skin tone, hair, clothes, and facial features, and apply enhancements then and there. Qualcomm says this will dramatically improve the end results.

Besides that, the new ISP on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has received an update to Bokeh Engine 2 for shooting better cinematic videos. As an aside, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also supports the AV1 codec, but A16 Bionic does not.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic: It’s a Close Call

Talking about the ISP on A16 Bionic, Apple designed a new image signal processor to power a host of camera features on the iPhone 14 Pro series. First off, it can perform 4 trillion operations per photo, which is an astounding number, to begin with. Moreover, the new ISP helps the 48MP sensor to take advantage of the extra pixels and create detailed imagery. Next, there is a new Photonic Engine that aids in creating photos with greater clarity, shadows, highlights, and vibrant colors.

Not to mention, the ISP on the A16 Bionic is also utilized to stabilize footage while shooting in Action Mode. Basically, both the ISPs are plenty powerful and come with a wide set of features. In the end, it depends on Android phone makers to utilize the capabilities and create a software stack on top of the hardware. I am sure Vivo, Oppo, and Xiaomi would be in the best position to take advantage of these camera features and offer stiff competition to Apple’s iPhone.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic: AI and ML

In terms of AI and ML processing, Qualcomm has always been the leader, and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 brings even more smart features. The AI engine on the 8 Gen 2 has been upgraded to a new architecture and is powered by a new Hexagon processor. Compared to the last-gen SoC, it’s 4.35 times faster and offers 60% better performance per watt. The company also says that the AI unit on 8 Gen 2 delivers better results in natural language processing with multi-language translation.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic: It’s a Close Call
A16 Bionic Neural Engine

On top of that, the AI engine powers the Cognitive ISP feature and supports new wake words. If we talk about A16 Bionic’s 16-core neural engine, it can perform 17 trillion operations per second (TOPS). To put things into perspective, the AI engine on the last-gen SD 8+ Gen 1 could already perform 27 TOPS, so Apple’s neural engine is lagging behind Qualcomm by a margin. Nevertheless, Apple A16 Bionic’s neural engine helps in pixel-by-pixel analysis of photos to create detailed images and does a fantastic job at computational photography.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic: 5G and Wireless Tech

Qualcomm is one of the leaders in wireless technology, so it comes with the best connectivity system out of the two. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 features the new Snapdragon X70 5G modem that can deliver download speeds up to 10Gbps. It’s also Qualcomm’s first modem to support two 5G SIMs at once.

Apart from that, the Snapdragon X70 5G modem has support for mmWave and sub-6GHz frequency bands in both SA and NSA modes. On the local connectivity front, you get Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3 support. Moreover, you get Bluetooth LE, aptX Lossless codec for CD-quality audio streaming, and NavIC support on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic: It’s a Close Call

Moving to the A16 Bionic, well, Apple also uses Qualcomm’s modem, but it’s a generation older. A16 Bionic includes the Snapdragon X65 5G modem, which also has a theoretical peak download speed of 10Gbps. It too supports mmWave and sub-6GHz bands. Besides that, you have built-in Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3 support. Overall, in terms of connectivity and support for new standards, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will offer you the latest advancements.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic: Chip King?

So that rounds up our detailed comparison between the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic. Except in the CPU department, Qualcomm has managed to close the gap considerably in all other aspects. Most notably, Qualcomm has done a fantastic job at improving power efficiency in the GPU department on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. As for other categories, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 already leads the race. We are excited to test both the chipsets side-by-side and see the difference in real-world usage. But what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below. Meanwhile, also head to our comparison between Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 to find in-depth information on both processors.



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