Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic: A healthy Competition?

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

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

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 2Apple A16 Bionic
CPUOcta-core, Kryo CPUHexa-core CPU, 16 billion transistors
CPU Cores1x 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 TechnologyTSMC’s 4nm processTSMC’s 4nm process
GPUAdreno 740 GPU; Hardware-accelerated Ray TracingApple-designed 5-core GPU
Machine Learning and AINew AI Engine, Hexagon ProcessorNew 16-core Neural Engine; 17 TOPS
ISPTriple 18-Bit Spectra ISP; Cognitive ISP, Snapdragon SightApple-designed New Image Signal Processor
Camera CapabilityCapture photos up to 200MP, 36MP triple shots with ZSLProRAW photos at 48MP
Photonic Engine
Video Capability8K HDR, Bokeh Engine 24K HDR Dolby Vision @ 60FPS
Cinematic 4K@24FPS
Action mode
ModemSnapdragon 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 SupportWi-Fi 7Wi-Fi 6
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

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, 2x Cortex-A715 cores clocked at 2.8GHz, 2x Cortex-A710 cores clocked at 2.8GHz, and 3x Cortex-A510 cores clocked at 2.0GHz. So, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has embraced a new 1+4+3 architecture, which is more like a 1+(2+2)+3 CPU design.

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.

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
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic: Geekbench Score

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.

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.

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.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

To 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.

The reason Qualcomm can 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.

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 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 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.

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. Both 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.

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.

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.

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