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The best mobile processors in 2024: Here are your best options

From Qualcomm's Snapdragon to Apple's Bionic, there are loads of great mobile chips out there.

Published onApril 16, 2024

Xiaomi 14 Ultra vs iPhone vs Galaxy in hand
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Did you know that the processor or SoC is one of the most expensive components in a mobile phone? Smartphone makers pay as much as $200 per chip at the highest end, which explains why so many flagship devices have breached the $1,000 price point. Even then, you may not always get the best performance for your dollar. Conversely, some budget smartphones pack competitive SoCs that deliver a near flagship-grade experience.

With so many options to choose from then, here’s our list of the best mobile processors available today.

The best mobile processors

As our testing indicates in the above graph, even the highest-end mobile processors can vary quite a bit in terms of real-world performance. So with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the individual chips and how they differ from each other.

1. Snapdragon 8 Gen 3

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 logo
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Release date: October 24, 2023
  • CPU core count: Octa-core
  • Core layout: 1x Cortex-X4 (3.3GHz), 3x Cortex-A720 (3.2GHz), 2x Cortex-A720 (3GHz), and 2x Cortex-A520 Refresh (2.3GHz)

Over the years, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 line has become the de facto processor choice in many flagship Android smartphones. You’ll find the latest chip in the likes of the Galaxy S24 series, OnePlus 12, and Xiaomi 14 Pro.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is a 4nm chip that packs one Cortex-X4 core running at 3.3GHz, five Cortex-A720 cores, and two Cortex-A520 cores. It also includes Qualcomm’s top-end Adreno GPU and modem, the former of which is an important factor if you’re an avid mobile gamer.

2. Apple A17 Pro

Apple iPhone 15 Pro review hero
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Release date: September 12, 2023
  • CPU core count: Hexa-core
  • Core layout: 2x 3.78GHz (High-performance) and 4x 2.11GHz (Energy-efficient)

Apple’s smartphone chips once maintained a sizable lead over their Android counterparts. However, the law of diminishing returns means that CPUs aren’t improving at the same breakneck rate anymore. So while Apple’s latest A17 Pro gives the competition a run for its money, it doesn’t win in all aspects.

More specifically, our testing found that the A17 Pro scored higher than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in single and multi-core tests, but it fell slightly behind in GPU benchmarks. Still, Apple’s excellent software optimization means that owners of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max won’t notice any performance deficiencies with the A17 Pro. It’s also the only mobile chip that’s attracting console game ports like Resident Evil: Village.

3. MediaTek Dimensity 9300

Vivo X100 Pro smartphone with Dimensity 9300
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
  • Release date: November 6, 2023
  • CPU core count: Octa core
  • Core layout: 1x Cortex-X4 (3.25GHz), 3x Cortex-X4 (2.85GHz), and 4x Cortex-A720 (2.0GHz)

We rarely saw smartphones in the mid-range or higher market pack MediaTek silicon, but the company has made some big strides in recent years. This generation’s Dimensity 9300 shares the same type of cores as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, but it diverges in just about every other aspect. For example, rather than utilizing two little cores like Qualcomm’s flagship chip, MediaTek has packed four Cortex-X4 cores and another four Cortex-A720 cores.

The result is a chip with four of the highest-performance cores available in this generation. MediaTek did have to sacrifice frequency or clock speed in the process, but our testing of the Dimensity 9300 found that it can still brute force a win vs the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. However, it does fall short in the GPU and connectivity departments where Qualcomm’s several years of expertise rears its familiar head.

4. Samsung Exynos 2400

Galaxy S24 Plus cameras
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority
  • Release date: January 17, 2024
  • CPU core count: Deca-core (10 cores)
  • Core layout: 1x Cortex-X4 (3.2GHz), 2x Cortex-A720 (2.9GHz), 3x Cortex-A720 (2.6GHz), and 4x Cortex-A520 (1.92GHz)

Samsung’s Exynos line of chips once had an unfortunate reputation for lagging behind the competition in some areas. It also didn’t help that the South Korean company sells the same flagship phone with Exynos processors in some markets and Snapdragon chips in others.

Luckily, the Exynos 2400 that powers the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus doesn’t seem inferior. We tested and compared the Exynos 2400 vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 only to find that Samsung’s chip delivered better battery life in many usage scenarios. It did lag slightly behind in performance, but most will be hard-pressed to tell the difference.

5. Google Tensor G3

google pixel watch 2 buds pro 8 pro family bay blue 7
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
  • Release date: October 4, 2023
  • CPU core count: Octa-core
  • Core layout: 1x Arm Cortex-X3 (2.91GHz), 4x Arm Cortex-A715 (2.37GHz), and 4x Arm Cortex-A510 (1.70GHz)

A few years ago, Google decided to design its own chips instead of relying on a third-party manufacturer. The company argues that it can build a more bespoke user experience through this custom processor route, and we agree that the idea has potential. Just look at Apple Silicon as an example.

Having said that, Google’s Tensor chips have long suffered from below-average power efficiency. It also doesn’t help that the search giant releases a new processor alongside its flagship phones in October of each year. That’s just weeks before Qualcomm and MediaTek showcase their upcoming chips.

Consequently, the Tensor G3 in the Pixel 8 series is competitive against last year’s phones but can’t quite keep up with the current best. It’s no slouch still, though, and Google’s chip design favors AI workloads over raw performance. Case in point: the Pixel 8 Pro was the first to run an on-device language model and supported Google Gemini out of the box.

6. Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on phone
  • Release date: November 16, 2022
  • CPU core count: Octa-core
  • Core layout: 1x Cortex-X3 (3.19GHz), 2x Cortex-A715 (2.8GHz), 2x Cortex-A710 (2.8GHz), and 3x Cortex-A510 (2.0GHz)

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 powered some of the best phones released in 2023. The list includes Samsung’s Galaxy S23 series, Motorola Edge Plus, and ZenFone 10. It delivered excellent performance and efficiency, the latter of which was a big reason why we saw a big battery life uplift in many smartphones that year.

Qualcomm tends to drop the price of its best smartphone processor roughly a year after launch, so we may see the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in the sub-flagship market. The OnePlus 12R is a shining example of this trend as it launched at just $500.

7. Apple A16 Bionic

Apple Event 2023 iPhone 15 A16 Bionic
  • Release date: September 7, 2022
  • Core count: Hexa-core
  • Core layout: 2x Everest (3.46 GHz) and 4x Sawtooth (2.02 GHz)

The iPhone 14 Pro’s A16 Bionic was briefly the fastest mobile processor when it launched back in late 2022. It may seem dated compared to some of the other chips on this list, but the A16 has now found its way into the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. The good news is that it’s still an excellent performer with support for most iOS apps except some cutting-edge games.

With a single-core Geekbench 6 score of 2506, the A16 Bionic is also ahead of many other chips on this list. The performance headroom is good news for buyers of the iPhone 15 series as it will receive software updates well into the future.

8. MediaTek Dimensity 8300

MediaTek Dimensity logo
Kris Carlon / Android Authority
  • Release date: November 21, 2023
  • CPU core count: Octa-core
  • Core layout: 1x Arm Cortex-A715 (3.35GHz), 3x Arm Cortex-A715 (3GHz), and 4x Cortex-A510 (2.2GHz)

While MediaTek has yet to break into the flagship space, its processors power many of the best mid-range Android phones. The Dimensity 8300 offers solid performance, almost keeping up with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Better yet, it will certainly cost significantly lower than previous-gen flagship SoCs.

The POCO X6 Pro was one of the first smartphones to include the Dimensity 8300 with a starting price of just $299 in many markets. Needless to say, the processor packs a punch at that price point.

9. Honorable mention: Snapdragon 8s Gen 3

The Snapdragon 8S Gen 3 chipset.
Supplied by Qualcomm
  • Release date: March 18, 2024
  • CPU Core count: Octa-core
  • Core layout: 1x Cortex-X4 (3GHz), 4x medium Cortex-A720 (2.8GHz), and 3x Cortex-A520 cores (2GHz)

While Qualcomm has launched mid-year refreshes of its flagship processors a handful of times, it made the unusual decision to launch a cut-down version in 2024 instead.

The Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 features the same generation of cores as Qualcomm’s flagship chip and is built on the same efficient 4nm process node. However, it features lower clock speeds and swaps one medium core for an extra little core. The downside is that Qualcomm has paired the capable CPU cluster with a last-gen GPU. The Adreno 735 GPU is slightly slower than the Adreno 740 found in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

Which mobile processor is best for gaming?

ASUS ROG Phone 8 vs Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 15 pro Max close
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile processor is currently the king of mobile gaming, thanks to its Adreno 750 GPU. Having said that, the MediaTek Dimensity 9300 and Samsung Exynos 2400 from the same chip generation offer similar performance.

While Apple’s A17 Pro may not offer the same raw horsepower, it benefits massively from iOS’ extensive game library. After all, console-quality titles like Resident Evil Village don’t exist on Android yet. But if you’re satisfied with the litany of other cross-platform games available for Android, check out our list of the best gaming phones you can buy.

What is the fastest processor in today’s mobile phones?

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 and Apple A17 Pro are the fastest mobile phone processors available today. While the MediaTek Dimensity 9300 and Samsung Exynos 2400 technically take second place, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a significant performance downgrade compared to the top performers.

If you’re shopping for a new phone in the mid-range segment, the fastest processor options are the Snapdragon 8S Gen 3 and MediaTek Dimensity 8300. Likewise, the Tensor G3 offers a solid price-to-performance ratio for the mid-range price point and is expected to feature in the Pixel 8a.


Nanometer or nm refers to the size of transistors used in a processor, mobile or otherwise. A smaller nm value generally equals a more modern manufacturing process.

A hexa-core processor refers to a chip with six CPU cores. Most smartphones have six or more cores these days, so the quality of individual cores matter more than the number.

If you see Octa-core on a smartphone spec sheet, it just means that the chip has eight CPU cores.

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