It finally happened! The iPhone 14 Pro Max with the Apple A16 Bionic chip inside is no longer the fastest on the market!
Apple has recently dominated the mobile silicon race, we have been waiting for a worthy competitor from Qualcomm for years, and after failing several times, it finally seems to have a winner on its hands!
The device we have for this test is the new camera powerful 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 rumored to have an overclocked version of the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. Exciting stuff!
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 tested against Apple A16 Bionic
Great news for Android phones 2023!
Our go-to benchmark for graphics performance in the past couple of years has been the 3D Mark Wildlife Extreme stress test.
This is a simulation of a very demanding gaming experience that works hard on the GPU, but the most important thing in 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 burst of performance, but don’t account for the thermal throttling that occurs after a short while on most smartphones.
The 3D Mark test avoids this pitfall and gives us a comprehensive and realistic picture of GPU performance over time.
So here are the actual graphics performance results from the Vivo X90 Pro Plus (Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip) and Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max (Apple A16 Bionic chip):
So what exactly are we seeing here?
Analyzing the results, we see that Vivo achieved a score of 3726 against the iPhone’s 3210 points initially before we saw any bottlenecks, a difference of 16% in favor of Vivo.
But these numbers are quite misleading because as you can see in the screenshots above, the iPhone throttles practically instantly, in the second minute, while the Vivo slowly and gradually starts its performance dropping around the 8-minute mark, so it can maintain that peak performance for much longer.
Throttling on the iPhone actually advances the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2!
At the same time, we have to mention that while both phones got warm, the Vivo was actually so hot that I wouldn’t want to hold it immediately after testing. I had to bring it to a cooler room for it to cool down for a few minutes! And if the anecdotal experience is worth anything, this is the hottest phone I’ve touched in my experience.
It also lost 15% of battery life in the 20-minute test, while the iPhone only lost 8%, so the Vivo was draining at twice the speed! This definitely has a lot to do with that high temperature.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has proven to be a very capable chip, but what’s just as important is that it needs a lot of cooling to maintain those numbers, and we feel Vivo could have done more in this area.
We haven’t yet tested if playing a demanding game like Genshin Impact at maximum settings will make the Vivo X90 Pro Plus uncomfortably hot, because cool performance is great, but if the phone gets really hot, not many people will want to use it like that.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs A16 Bionic: CPU Performance Tested
We mentioned earlier that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 phones lag slightly behind the A16 Bionic in CPU performance, so let’s take a closer look at this difference.
This works out 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 noting that the gap narrows significantly with the release of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
What makes these results possible?
Switching to a new foundry could be the difference maker
As we mentioned at the beginning, Qualcomm has been trying to catch up to Apple for years, to no avail. But this year, the main shift may have just been a shift in manufacturing as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is being built in TSMC’s factory using a 4nm node.
Previous chips made in Samsung’s foundries had some issues, so it may be the shift in higher-quality manufacturing that gave this big a boost.
Keep in mind that Apple also uses the TSMC foundry and the A16 Bionic chip is also manufactured using the same 4nm technology.
Of course, the new design of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip also helps, especially the higher performance core frequencies compared to previous generations of Qualcomm processors.
Vivo X90 Pro Plus: Magical 1 Inch Camera Sensor!
A very promising start for the Android flagship of 2023
However, the Vivo X90 Pro Plus is an exciting device not only for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside, but perhaps more so for the 1-inch type sensor used for the main camera, a much larger sensor than used in regular phones and promising a giant leap in quality.
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