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Android gets its savior! Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 a huge leap forward, beating iPhone 14 Pro Max in gaming performance

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It finally happened! The iPhone 14 Pro Max and Apple’s A16 Bionic chip inside are no longer the fastest on the market!

Apple has recently dominated the mobile silicon race and we’ve been waiting for years for a worthy rival to Qualcomm, and after falling short several times, it finally seems to have a winner on its hands!

We just finished testing the first real-world flagships with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and the results are in: these phones indeed offer faster graphics performance than the iPhone 14 Pro series!

The device we have for this test is the new camera powerhouse, the Vivo X90 Pro Plus, but others like the Xiaomi 13 Pro are coming soon with the same chip, not to mention the Galaxy S23 series, which is being claimed to have an overclocked version of that same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. Exciting things!

But before we move on to the actual test results let’s quickly clarify that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has a faster GPU but the CPU performance is actually still slightly behind the Apple A16 chip so remember that before you put labels on each of these processors. With this in mind, let’s look at the results of our tests!

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Apple A16 Bionic tested

Good news for 2023 Android phones!

Our go-to benchmark for graphics performance in recent years has been the excellent 3D Mark Wildlife Extreme Stress Test.

This is a simulation of a very demanding gaming experience that makes the GPU work hard, but the most important thing about this benchmark is that it runs for 20 minutes straight. Many other benchmarks only run for a few minutes and so can only measure the initial performance boost, but do not account for the thermal throttling that occurs after a short time on most smartphones.

This 3D Mark test avoids that pitfall and gives us a comprehensive and realistic view of GPU performance over time.

So here are the actual graphics performance scores of the Vivo X90 Pro Plus (Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip) and the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max (Apple A16 Bionic chip):

So what exactly are we seeing here?

Analyzing the results, we see the Vivo get a score of 3,726 points in the very beginning versus 3,210 points on the iPhone before seeing any throttling, a 16% difference in favor of the Vivo.

But those numbers are actually quite misleading, because as you can see in the screenshots above, the iPhone throttles up almost instantly, at the second minute, while the Vivo starts slowly and gradually drops its performance around the 8 minute mark, so that it hits that peak. can sustain much longer performance.

A full 20 minutes into the test, the two phones hit the following numbers: 3,251 on the Vivo and 2,309 on the iPhone, a HUGE DIFFERENCE of around 41% in favor of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on the Vivo! That’s a really impressive display!

At the same time, we should mention that while both phones were heating up, the Vivo was actually so hot that I wouldn’t want to hold it right after the test. I had to take it to a colder room so it would cool down for a few minutes! And if anecdotal experience is worth anything, it’s the hottest phone I’ve touched in my experience.

It also lost a whopping 15% battery life over the 20-minute test, while the iPhone only lost 8%, so the Vivo drained twice as fast! This certainly has a lot to do with that higher temperature.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has proven itself to be an extremely capable chip, but what’s no less important is that it needs a lot of cooling to maintain those numbers, and we think Vivo could have done more on this front.

We have yet to test whether playing a demanding game like Genshin Impact at maximum settings would make the Vivo X90 Pro Plus uncomfortably hot, as great performance is great, but if the phone gets too hot, many people just wouldn’t want to use it like Which.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic: CPU performance tested

We previously mentioned that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 phones lag slightly behind the A16 Bionic in terms of CPU performance, so let’s take a closer look at that difference.

On the Vivo X90 Pro Plus we get the following results:

This amounts to the following difference in percentage points:

  • iPhone 14 Pro Max (A16) has 26.5% faster single-core performance
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max (A16) has 4.8% faster multi-core performance

This is a noticeable difference, especially in single-core performance metrics, but it’s worth pointing out that the gap narrows significantly with the release of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

What makes these results possible?

A switch to a new foundry can make all the difference

As we said at the beginning, Qualcomm has been trying to catch up with Apple for years, but without success. This year, the big shift may have been just a switch in production as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is manufactured at the TSMC factory using the 4nm node.

Previous chips manufactured at a Samsung foundry had some issues, so it could well be the move to higher quality manufacturing that has provided this big boost.

Please note that Apple also uses the TSMC foundry and the A16 Bionic chip is also manufactured with the same 4nm technology.

Of course, the new design of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip also helps, especially the higher frequencies of the performance core compared to previous generations of Qualcomm processors.

Vivo X90 Pro Plus: 1-inch camera sensor magic!

A promising start for 2023 Android flagships

The Vivo X90 Pro Plus is an exciting device though, not just for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside it, but probably even more so for that 1-inch type of sensor used for the main camera, a much larger sensor than used on mainstream phones and promises a huge leap forward in quality.

We’ve already started testing it and you’ll soon see an in-depth comparison against the iPhone 14 Pro Max and other flagships, so don’t forget to keep an eye out for that too!

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