Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 benchmarks show promise

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Qualcomm knows that flashy slideshows and executive testimonials only go so far when it comes time to talk about the actual performance of its processors. That’s why it offered attendees at its recent Snapdragon Summit the chance to run some benchmarks on a reference device it built around the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 system-on-chip. The results show Qualcomm can deliver significant gains year after year. year, though there are some caveats.

Reference hardware

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the results, let’s quickly talk about the smartphone used for the test. Qualcomm created a reference device with what we’d call average flagship specs, but not quite top-of-the-line.

(Credit: Eric Zeman)

The smartphone in question has a large screen with Full HD+ resolution (2,400 x 1,080 pixels) and a refresh rate of 144Hz. It is powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. Qualcomm did not specify whether the RAM is LPDDR4x or LPDDR5x (the latter is faster), nor did it specify whether the storage was UFS 3.1 or UFS 4.0 (again, the latter is faster).

The reference hardware was running a 64-bit version of Android 13 with OpenGL ES 3.2 and Vulkan 1.3 along with an Adreno 740 GPU. Other specs include a 3550 mAh battery, 12.9 MP rear camera, 15 MP front camera, MP, a fingerprint reader, etc. These latter components don’t really play a role in benchmarking, but we list them for the sake of completeness.

The biggest caveat to make when benchmarking this benchmark hardware is thermals. Performance degrades when temperatures rise. Most of the benchmarks that PCMag completes are done at room temperature. The benchmarking room was slightly warmer than what we would call room temperature, although we don’t have an exact reading.

More importantly, the reference phones were not allowed to rest or cool down between tests. Qualcomm’s limited time on site with the reference devices and that required running the tests one after the other. Normally we would allow devices to return to room temperature before further testing. In a 3DMark run, we noticed that the CPU temperature reached 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit, which is pretty high for a CPU. In other words, the results here could have been better.

Better than 8 Gen 1 and Tensor G2

There’s no question that 8 Gen 2 benchmark results rank higher than those generated by last year’s 8 Gen 1 and Google’s new Tensor G2 in a series of tests.

The 3DMark Wildlife Extreme test, for example, which really pushes the GPU, showed a score of 3769 on the reference device. The Google Pixel 7 Pro, for comparison, hit just 1,823 on the same test, while the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max topped 3,377.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 3DMark benchmark device

3DMark results (Credit: Eric Zeman)

Geekbench 5 showed a marked year-over-year improvement compared to the 8 Gen 1. The benchmark phone scored 1,489 on the single-core test and 5,178 on the multi-core test. The Galaxy G22+ powered by 8 Gen 1 achieved 1,216 and 3,448 on those same tests, respectively. That’s a solid jump for both tests. The Pixel 7 Pro powered by Tensor G2 achieved just 1050 and 3190 on Geekbench 5.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Geekbench 5 Reference Device

Geekbench 5 results (Credit: Eric Zeman)

Then there is a test like AnTuTu. This is a long test that covers all aspects of performance. The benchmark phone scored higher than ever before at 1,282,795. That’s a big jump from the 8 Gen 1’s 927,796 score in the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. It’s also better than the 945,794 achieved by the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max and the 740,510 for the Pixel 7 Pro.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 AnTuTu Reference Device

AnTuTu results (Credit: Eric Zeman)

On the PCMark test, the reference device scored 18,633 points, beating the Pixel 7 Pro’s 11,363 and the Galaxy S22+’s 13,974. Lastly, we ran GFXBench’s Aztec Ruins tests, where the benchmark phone scored 65fps versus the Pixel 7 Pro’s 25fps and the Galaxy S22+’s 29fps. Here, the 8 Gen 2 managed more than double the frames per second.

strong first impressions

While this first batch of tests looks promising, it’s important to remember that each phone maker will implement the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in their own way with their own software and customizations. Also, some 8 Gen 2 phones will have less RAM while others will have more. Screen sizes, resolutions, and refresh rates will also play a role.

Even so, the 8 Gen 2 proves that Moore’s Law isn’t quite dead yet. However, what will be most exciting to see is not how fast the 8 Gen 2-equipped phones are, but rather what features and experiences the SoC inside enables.

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