Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic – which is the better chip?

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic – which is the better chip?
Romilly Cotta Updated on by

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We’re looking at the two most powerful chipsets in 2023, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic to find out which is the better chip.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is Qualcomm’s latest chipset and was released late in 2022, making a considerable splash. Boasting a 25% better performance than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, it’s combined a remarkable jump in multi-core performance with a host of new features, including accelerated ray tracing. It’s set to be fitted in the latest Samsung Galaxy line of S23 phones that will be released soon, plus the upcoming OnePlus 11.

Apple’s A16 Bionic chip is currently only used in their flagship iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, which were released in September 2022. Up until now, Apple’s predecessor, the A15, enjoyed a clear win over Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Indeed, the results are apparent in our discussion of the iPhone 14 vs Samsung Galaxy S22. However, the arrival of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has clearly caused a stir.

You may be in the market for a new phone, and are tossing it up between the latest Android and Apple flagships. Especially if you’re into mobile gaming, learning about the chipset in your prospective phone is important if you want the best experience. Though your overall phone experience is based on more than just the chipset, it does make a difference to your phone’s battery life, camera performance, graphics rendering and the speed of your WiFi connection.

So, we’re going to make things a little easier, by comparing what we think are the key comparison areas between the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and A16 Bionic. We’ll look at everything from specs to features, including their respective gaming and image-processing performances.

So let’s jump right in. Here are the differences and similarities between the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and A16 Bionic chip.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 bionic – CPU specs

Below you’ll find a breakdown of the CPU specs of both Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and A16 Bionic. We’ll help make sense of these specs, and discuss how they impact performance tasks like taking and storing photos, streaming content and making calls.

Spec Snapdragon 8 Gen 2A16 Bionic
Architecture Kyro CPU with ARM v9‘Everest’, ‘Sawtooth’, 4nm
GPUAdreno 740 Apple designed 5-core GPU
Frequency 3200 MHz3460 MHz
Transistor count 16 billion16 billion
L1 cache 1 MB256 KB
L2 cache8 MB32 MB

Both chipsets are based on a 4nm architecture, allowing for 16 billion transistors for faster performance than previous chips based on 5nm processors.

On first glance, you’ll notice that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has slightly more cores than the A16 Bionic chip. As a general rule, the higher number of cores, the faster tasks can be processed by your phone.

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The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 uses a Cortex-X3 as its prime core that is clocked at 3.2 GHz, as well as three additional cores. Instead of the usual three, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s extra core translates to a big leap in performance, particularly apparent in applications like gaming.

But how does it compare to the A16 Bionic?

The A16 features just 6 cores, including 2 high-performance cores and 4 high-efficiency cores, meaning it has one more efficiency core than the 8 Gen 2, but fewer cores overall. However, it boasts a higher frequency of 3460 MHz than the 8 Gen 2.

Ultimately, both chipsets are head-to-head, but the A16 Bionic takes the edge according to Geekbench’s raw CPU power test by around just 7%.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 bionic – gaming

Qualcomm has finally managed to catch up with the A16 Bionic chip in the gaming department, thanks to its accelerated ray tracing support. Mobile gamers who are after more intensive and visually pleasing graphics should opt for an Android with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

Read More: Is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 good for gaming?

Overall, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 boasts a more efficient GPU than Apple’s A16 Bionic. It can reach a higher FPS by a considerable margin, allowing for a smoother, stutter-free gaming experience.

When you combine this with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s edge in connectivity that improves the experience of cloud gaming, there is little doubt about who comes out on top.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 bionic – image processing

The Image Signal Processor (ISP) plays a significant role in driving the performance of your smartphone’s camera.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 now has a cognitive ISP, meaning it uses AI processing to directly apply features like facial recognition, autofocus and layering in real-time. For a number of phones, such as Sony’s 50MP IMX989 and the Xiamo 12s Ultra, the chipset now supports Quad-Exposure Digital Overlap HDR. This new tech simultaneously captures four different exposure levels for each video frame that translates to sharper details and more apparent shadows.

Read More: Will the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra drop in price?

The A16 Bionic chip performs very well in this department too and is slightly easier to measure since it’s only fitted in Apple’s latest lineup. It features an Advanced Image Signal Processor that can perform 4 trillion photo operations per second that aids the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max’s improved megapixel count. This is an outstanding number that helps stabilize footage while shooting in Action Mode.

Ultimately, the winner in this department depends on the Android phone that is used with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. However, Samsung’s newest S23 Ultra flagship is set to trump the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max in the camera department, boasting 200 megapixels inside its main camera. So if we’re comparing the two chipsets inside the best phones they’re available in, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is only a clear winner with the S23 Ultra.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic – 5G and wireless tech

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 takes the edge here, with the new X70 5G modem that delivers download speeds up to 10Gbps. It’s also Qualcomm’s first modem to support two 5G SIMS simultaneously.

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Apple actually uses Qualcomm’s modem with their A16 Bionic chip, though it’s a generation older, meaning the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has the edge in connectivity.

Final word

In about every way apart from the CPU department, Qualcomm has scored considerably well with their Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. In particular, we’re impressed by the 8 Gen 2’s power efficiency and AI capabilities. If you’re a gamer or content creator, it will be worth your while to keep an eye out for a phone with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset.

Read More: S23 Ultra alternatives – our top picks

However, it’s worth remembering that while the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 might have the edge on paper, there will be differences in real-world usage.