A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1: Apple Is Still the SoC King

Earlier last year, we had compared the A15 Bionic against Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Exynos 2100 to find the best smartphone chipset. And it became abundantly clear that Apple is at the top of its game, while chipset makers in the Android world, namely Qualcomm, Samsung, and MediaTek, are struggling to catch up to Apple’s A-series chips. And now that Apple has announced its new A16 Bionic chip with the iPhone 14 Pro series, here’s a detailed comparison between the A16 Bionic and Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. From CPU to GPU, ISP and Modem, we have analyzed all aspects of both the chipsets. To find which one wins in the battle between A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, let’s jump to the comparison.

A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Comparison (2022)

In this article, we have analyzed the performance difference and capabilities of A16 Bionic and Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 in terms of CPU, GPU, 5G modem, AI and ML, and more. So let’s dive right in.

A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1: Specifications

Before we discuss A16 Bionic and Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 in detail, let’s go through the specs comparison of both the chipsets. You can find all the specifications of A16 Bionic and SD 8+ Gen 1 below:

 A16 BionicSnapdragon 8+ Gen 1
CPUHexa-core CPU, 16 billion transistorsKryo CPU, Octa-core CPU
CPU Cores2x High-performance cores
4x High-efficiency cores
1x 3.2GHz (Cortex-X2)
3x 2.5GHz (Cortex A710)
4x 1.8GHz (Cortex A510)
Process TechnologyTSMC's 4nm processTSMC’s 4nm
GPUApple-designed 5-core GPUAdreno 730 GPU; Snapdragon Elite Gaming
Machine Learning and AINew 16-core Neural Engine; 17 TOPS7th-gen AI Engine; 3rd Gen Sensing Hub; 27TOPS
ISPApple-designed New Image Signal Processor18-Bit ISP; Snapdragon Sight
Camera CapabilityProRAW photos at 48MP
Photonic Engine
3.2 Gigapixels per second, 240 12MP photos in one second
Video Capability4K HDR Dolby Vision @ 60FPS
Cinematic 4K@24FPS
Action mode
8K HDR, 18-bit RAW, Dedicated Bokeh Engine
Modem5G Modem (probably from Qualcomm)X65 5G Modem-RF, Up to 10 Gbps Peak Download
Wi-Fi SupportWi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E
BluetoothBluetooth 5.3Bluetooth 5.3, LE

A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1: CPU

In this comparison between Apple’s A16 Bionic and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, let’s weigh the CPU first. First off, the A16 Bionic features a 6-core CPU consisting of nearly 16 billion transistors, something that’s unheard of in mobile chipsets. It’s built on a 4nm fabrication process, which is certainly from TSMC’s foundry as opposed to Samsung’s. Moreover, the CPU on the A16 Bionic chip takes the traditional route and packs in 2 high-performance cores and 4 high-efficiency cores, just like the recent A-series chips from Apple.

CPU: A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
A16 Bionic CPU

If we talk about the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, well, it includes a total of 8 cores, having one powerful Cortex-X2 core clocked at 3.2GHz, three Cortex-A710 cores clocked at 2.5GHz and four Cortex-A510 efficient cores clocked at 1.8GHz. And just like the A16 Bionic, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is also developed on TSMC’s 4nm process node.

CPU: A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
A16 Bionic against the nearest competitor

Apple didn’t put any figures on the table but showed a chart comparing the CPU performance of the A16 Bionic against its three-year-old A13 Bionic chip and the nearest competitor of 2022, most likely referring to Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. From the chart, you can gauge that the CPU on the A16 Bionic is almost 25-30% faster than the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. Do note that this headway is in terms of single-core performance. In a multi-core scenario, the difference should reduce to 10 to 15% when compared to SD 8+ Gen 1.

In addition, Apple said that its efficiency cores consume one-third the power of the competition, possibly comparing to the new Cortex-A510 core in the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. Apple also said that the performance cores on the A16 Bionic use 20% less power than A15 Bionic.

As emphasized by Apple during the keynote, it’s focusing on power efficiency with the A16 Bionic chip. Despite that, the A16 Bionic has a performance lead of around 30% over the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, and we don’t see the gap closing anytime in the near future.

A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1: GPU

On the GPU side of things, Apple is sticking with its 5-core GPU design, but it has enhanced the memory bandwidth by 50%. It means that the A16 Bionic can smoothly handle graphics-intensive titles without breaking any sweat. Apart from that, it has also included a new display engine to drive the always-on display on the iPhone 14 Pro series.

GPU: A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
A16 Bionic GPU

On the other hand, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 comes with a new Adreno 730 GPU, which supports Snapdragon Elite Gaming, volumetric rendering, HDR gaming, and more. It also includes a dedicated Frame Motion Engine for sustained graphics performance even at a higher refresh rate.

Having said that, as per our previous-gen comparison, the 5-core GPU on the A15 Bionic was 50% faster than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. And with A16 Bionic’s updated GPU, the margin remains almost the same. In the GPU department, I would say, the A16 Bionic is miles ahead of the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1: Geekbench Score

A new model named “iPhone15,3” has surfaced on Geekbench, which refers to the iPhone 14 Pro, and packs the new A16 Bionic SoC. In line with our estimate, the CPU on the A16 Bionic scores 1879 in the Geekbench single-core test and 4664 in the multi-core test. In comparison, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 scored 1316 in the single-core test and 4199 in the multi-core test.

A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1: Apple Is Still the SoC King

As you can infer, in terms of single-core performance jump, the difference in CPU performance between A16 Bionic and Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is close to 29.9%, and in multi-threaded tasks, the difference comes down to 9.9%. So the A16 Bionic again leads the way with its mighty high-performant core whereas the Cortex-X2 still struggles to top the A16 Bionic.

A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1: Apple Is Still the SoC King
Geekbench Score

It’s important to note that in comparison to last year’s A15 Bionic, the A16 Bionic has only seen a marginal improvement. It has seen a single-core improvement of 7% and almost no difference in multi-core performance. You can check the chart above to understand Apple’s SoC improvement over the last few years in comparison to Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1: ISP

As we know, the iPhone 14 Pro series comes with a new quad-pixel sensor, and to power it, Apple has designed a new and advanced Image Signal Processor. The ISP on the A16 Bionic can perform 4 trillion operations per photo, which is impressive. The new ISP provides more flexibility to all the cameras, including the new 48MP primary sensor on the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max for faster computational photography.

ISP: A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
A16 Bionic ISP

Adding to that, we get the new Photonic engine, which helps in Deep Fusion for generating photos with great clarity, colors, shadows, and highlights. Apple has also added an Action Mode that utilizes the advanced ISP for even better stabilization while shooting running subjects. Not to mention, you can shoot ProRes and Dolby Vision HDR videos as well.

Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 ISP details

Moving to the ISP on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, it is fairly powerful and comes with a wide set of features (see the diagram attached above). With its 18-bit triple ISP architecture, it can capture 3.2 gigapixels per second. The ISP on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset can also shoot 8K HDR videos and capture a 64MP photo without any shutter lag.

Among other things, Qualcomm’s flagship chipset supports staggered HDR, which is similar to Apple’s Deep Fusion, multi-frame capture, triple exposure to reduce noise, and more. So yeah, overall, both the ISPs are plenty powerful, and it depends on phone manufacturers to utilize the hardware capabilities and offer the best camera experience.

A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1: AI and ML

Apple has developed a new neural engine for the A16 Bionic that can perform 17 trillion operations per second. The updated neural engine has a total of 16 cores, which helps in computational photography. It can do pixel-by-pixel analysis of photos to create detailed and vibrant imagery.

AI and ML
A16 Bionic Neural Engine

In this department, Qualcomm defeats Apple by a huge margin. The 7th-gen AI Engine on Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 can perform a massive 27 trillion operations per second. Its AI engine also offers better performance per watt, which should result in better battery life. In addition, it packs the 3rd-gen Sensing Hub for executing low-powered AI tasks without affecting the battery life.

A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1: 5G and Connectivity

Apple has been working on its in-house modem for some time now, but it seems the company is not ready to launch the integrated modem just yet. In all likelihood, Apple is using Qualcomm’s 5G modem on the A16 Bionic. The 5G modem on the iPhone 14 Pro and the 14 Pro Max supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave frequency bands, but it’s only available in the US and Puerto Rico as of now. As for the rest of the regions, it has support for almost all the essential sub-6GHz bands. Besides that, the A16 Bionic has support for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3.

5G Modem and Wireless Tech
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 wireless capabilities

As Qualcomm is one of the top leaders in wireless technology, of course, it brings top-end features and capabilities to its flagship chipsets. The integrated X65 5G modem on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 supports both mmWave and sub-6GHz bands, but the availability depends on the phone manufacturer. You can learn how to check 5G bands supported on your phone from our linked tutorial. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 has also support for Wi-Fi 6, 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 and LE (Low Energy).

A16 Bionic vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1: Best Mobile Chipset?

So that rounds up our comparison between A16 Bionic and Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. With the A16 Bionic, Apple has focused on improving power efficiency to offer a full-day battery life this year. In that sense, the performance difference over its predecessor A15 Bionic is not huge. Despite that, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 has not been able to catch up either in the CPU or GPU department.

Now, we’re waiting for the Qualcomm-Nuvia acquisition to bring multi-fold improvements to flagship Snapdragon chipsets. But now that ARM has sued Qualcomm over breach of license agreements, it seems the much-touted gains will be delayed even further. Anyway, that is all from us in this article. If you want to learn from the comparison between Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, head over to our linked article. And if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section below.

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