Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Benchmarks: Qualcomm's New Flagship Android Platform Tested

Benchmarks On Qualcomm's Latest Beast Chip For Android Flagship Phones Look Strong

snapdragon 8 gen 2 proto on table2
Qualcomm had a lot of new technology to roll out at its annual Snapdragon Summit this year in Maui, HI. The company teased a new custom CPU core, announced a hardware platform for smart glasses, and of course, unveiled its latest flagship Snapdragon Mobile Platform—the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. This new Arm-based mobile platform processor will begin appearing in phones at the end of this year but we had a chance to take it for a spin, in a prototype reference device, to run some benchmarks. Qualcomm claims the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 offers a sizable performance boost and a major lift in AI processing, so we set out to prove these claims on the test track. 

The new system-on-a-chip (SoC) has all the same base level functional blocks as Qualcomm's last flagship Snapdragon, though everything is a bit faster and smarter. Perhaps the most notable change is the chip's CPU core configuration. There are still eight cores in total, but the new Prime Core steps up to Arm's Cortex-X3 architecture. It's paired with four performance cores (instead of the usual three), which are split into two Cortex-A710s and two Cortex-A715s. The inclusion of the A710 gives the chip better native support for 32-bit apps. The remaining three cores are lower power, more efficient A510s, which also support 32-bit processing. Qualcomm says this updated CPU complex is up to 35% faster than last year's chip. 

snapdragon 8 gen 2 proto in hand back
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Prototype Phone, Captured In Scenic Maui

Then there's a new Adreno GPU on board as well. This engine has gained support for Vulkan 1.3 and hardware ray tracing, although mobile games with these graphics rendering effect will just begin to appear in market this year. Qualcomm notes that graphics performance allegedly is getting up to a 25% lift with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, with even better numbers in games that employ the Vulkan API. 

snapdragon 8 gen 2 block diagram
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Features And Performance Claims

As noted earlier, AI performance for workloads like recommender engines (Google Assistant, etc.), natural language processing and computational photography effects, are getting a big lift in throughput as well, with micro-tile inferencing technology on board with significantly better power efficiency. Finally, all of this new tech is built upon TSMC's bleeding-edge 4N chip fab process. 

The actual device specs for Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 reference prototype are as follows:
  • 6.8” FHD+ AMOLED Display - 1080x2400, 144Hz
  • UFS 4.0 Flash Storage
  • 12GB - LPDDR5X System Memory (RAM)
And with that little tee-up out of the way, let's get to the benchmark numbers that you've come here for...

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Geekbench Results

Geekbench is a cross-platform benchmark that simulates real world processing workloads in image processing and particle physics calculation scenarios. We tested all of the smartphones featured here with Geekbench's single and multi-core workloads in the latest version of the app.

geekbench 5 benchmark snapdragon 8 gen 2

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is the new top performer in the venerable Geekbench test. It shows a small boost to both single-core and multi-core performance, falling a little short of Qualcomm's claimed speed increase but regardless it's a sizable speed bump. Multi-threaded performance has pushed past the iPhone 13, although Apple's impressive custom architecture still wins out in single-core mode. 

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 PCMark For Android Results

UL's PCMark for Android is an excellent suite of tests if you want to benchmark a wide range of tasks on a handset -- things like image and video editing, as well as lighter-duty, everyday workloads such as email and web browsing. When you see the test running live, it's clear the scripted application tests are carefully selected and tuned to make use of the each mobile platform in a very controlled way.

PCMark Android Work 3 Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

The PCMark test shows a slightly smaller gains compared to Geekbench. Still, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is the new top score in almost all sub-categories, as well as the overall score. Even the Asus ROG Phone 6, which bests other SD 8 Gen 1 phones when used in performance-boosting X-Mode, gets left in the dust by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 AnTuTu 8 And AITuTu Benchmarks

AnTuTu’s latest benchmark returns a number of metrics ranked with somewhat nebulous scores, rather than frame rates or time to complete. Here we're running the latest version of AnTuTu across multiple Android devices. AnTuTu returns four top level performance results which are all included here: CPU, RAM, 3D, UX (or User Experience), along with a total score.

antutu 8 snapdragon 8 gen 2

aitutu snapdragon 8 gen 2

The AnTuTu and AITuTu tests show the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 taking the crown, but again perhaps by a smaller margin than Qualcomm's estimates. This is prototype reference hardware, so retail phones will likely see different performance levels, depending on various OEM partner designs. However, there's still enough headroom that SD8 Gen 2 phones will benchmark notably higher than their Gen 1 counterparts in these types of mainstream workloads. We saw a big jump in AI processing with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 hardware, and while the Snapdragon Gen 2 is faster, it doesn't appear to be the same generational leap in this benchmark. 

We will note, however, that we are going to circle back here with MLPerf AI benchmark results shortly. We've reached out to ML Commons for the latest version of its excellent AI inferencing benchmark suite for Android devices, and will update this space here. Frankly we place less stock in AITuTu's results, so it will be interesting to see what MLPerf shows performance-wise.

* Update - 11/22/22: MLPerf AI Inferencing Benchmark Results

MLPerf is a highly-trusted machine learning benchmark developed by the ML Commons Inference Working Group for Mobile platforms. The mobile app contains a number of different AI inferencing workloads, from image classification to object detection and natural language understanding.

We wanted another yardstick to measure Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 AI inferencing performance, beyond just AITuTu, so we have compiled a short list of current-gen smartphone platforms with various devices and pulled some fresh benchmark numbers, which are represented here below. In the graphs, SD 8+ Gen 1 represents Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 mobile platform, whereas SD 8 G1 and SD7 G1 are Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, respectively. The rest are self-explanatory, with both Google Tensor and Mediatek Dimensity 9000 devices represented accordingly. 
MLPerf AI Benchmark Results Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Here we see Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile platform powering the refence prototype leading the pack by a sizable margin, with Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 devices falling in just below it. The Mediatek Dimensity 9000-powered Redmi K50 Pro technically bested Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in the Image Classification Offline test (on device processing only), but was conversely outperformed in every other test by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 platform devices. Further, it was surprising to find Google's Tensor G1 and G2 Pixel devices essentially trailing the entire field, with the exception of the Image Classification Offline test as well. 

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Graphics And Gaming Benchmarks Results

Now, let's take a look at how the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 stacks up in GFXBench, which has been one of the standard mobile graphics/gaming performance benchmarks for years. To ensure that display refresh (v-sync) and resolution aren't limiting factors, we're comparing off-screen test results here. GFXBench tests OpenGL ES graphics workloads and we're specifically testing OpenGL ES 2.0 and 3.0.

gfx bench t rex snapdragon 8 gen 2

gfx bench manhattan  snapdragon 8 gen 2

gfx bench aztec ruins snapdragon 8 gen 2

The older T-Rex benchmark shows almost no difference between Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and 8+ Gen 1, though the new chip does technically take the top spot in this much older, light-duty gaming workload. The gap widens in the OpenGL ES 3.0 powered test, jumping from 280 to 330 fps. Qualcomm called out Vulkan performance specifically when announcing Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, claiming up to a 25% graphics performance lift, and that's very close to what we see in the GFXBench Vulkan test. Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 reference hardware topped out at 140fps, but Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chalks up a strong showing at 178 frames per second. 

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 3DMark Slingshot Tests

UL's 3DMark Sling Shot is a newer benchmark module that's been added to the 3DMark mobile suite. Unlike previous gen 3DMark mobile tests, Sling Shot is a much more advanced OpenGL ES 3.1 and Metal API-based benchmark that employs more advanced rendering techniques, like volumetric lighting, particle illumination, multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback. We're running this test in off-screen mode once again to remove display resolution differences from the equation. This allows us to compare cross-platform results more reliably.

3dmark sling shot extreme snapdragon 8 gen 2

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 again takes the top spot in the 3DMark Slingshot benchmark, boasting nearly a 25% edge over the most recent Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 scores here. This is one of the better showings for SD 8 Gen 2. The individual scores for both physics and graphics are also substantially higher for Qualcomm's new chip. 

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 3DMark Wild Life Benchmark Tests

3DMark Wild Life is the latest cross-platform test from UL. Its primary purpose is to measure GPU performance across platforms, and two distinct tests are available. The standard Wild Life test is designed to give feedback on how a game performs over a short period of time. With mobile games, people typically play in brief spurts when they find some free time; be it on the bus, on the subway, or a quick battle royale session over lunch break. 

3dmark wild life screen shot

3dmark wildlife unlimited snapdragon 8 gen 2

3DMark's Wildlife test can really stress mobile devices, but the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 reference platform has no trouble, easily outpacing the 8+ Gen 1 to take the top spot. It again drops in very close to the graphics performance gains Qualcomm promised and stands out nicely in our database of benchmark results over the generations. 

Performance Summary And Preliminary Analysis Of Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

There's no denying Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is a fast mobile processing platform for a new generation of Android flagships. Devices that launch in the coming months with this SoC will best even the most powerful Android phones from earlier in 2022.  We'd expect all SD8 Gen 2 phones to easily blow past Gen 1 phones in benchmarks, but it will be interesting to see what key device OEM partners like Samsung, OnePlus and ASUS will deliver with their next-gen offerings. 

snapdragon 8 gen 2 proto in hand front

It seems like Qualcomm really focused on enhancing high-end graphics technology with this new platform as well. The company's new Adreno GPU now supports hardware-accelerated ray tracing, and Vulkan graphics performance was specifically optimized with the addition of Vulkan 1.3 support. We found the Vulkan numbers to be impressive (a roughly 30% performance increase), and OpenGL ES 3.0 shows almost as much improvement. Qualcomm promises a a 25% boost in overall gaming performance, and it indeed did reach that level in a few of these early benchmark results.

In addition, the game tech demos the company showed at Snapdragon Summit 2022 were impressive, ushering in new ray traced lighting and reflection effects for the first time, live on an Android handset. You can check it out here in our informal video capture at the event...

What these benchmarks don't tell is us anything about Qualcomm's claims regarding power efficiency, since it's kind of pointless to test battery life on a prototype device you can't buy. Regardless, the company claims up to 40% better performance-per-watt metrics in various workloads, though we'll have to wait for retail ready devices powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 to prove that out. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 was a much more refined chip from an efficiency standpoint (versus legacy SD 8 Gen 1), and improvements in this area will be key for many consumers.

We're excited to see what the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can do in retail phones this coming holiday season. So stay tuned to HotHardware as we track these various introductions of flagship Android phones in the weeks and months ahead.

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