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☕ Good morning! It’s Halo Infinite release day and a friend has taken three days off work to play it, and the entire series ahead of it dropping! Also, I’ll link to a really, really interesting review that’s less about Halo and more about exactly what we’re doing with reviewing games these days.
December 8, 2021
Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 benchmarks
Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 Hero Image
Supplied by Qualcomm

Early Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 benchmarks are out, and it’s early because they’re not coming from final hardware like the Xiaomi 12 series we’re expecting sometime in December, or the Samsung Galaxy S22, or whatever. 

  • Instead, shops like HotHardwareand PCMag and XDA and Notebookcheck got their hands on the Qualcomm reference designs shown off in Hawaii, which are probably missing a little bit of refinement, drivers, and so on, plus the benchmarks sometimes look a little tricky to gauge, depending on performance modes used.
  • In any case, exacting scruples aside, we do get a pretty good idea of what’s to come from the 8 Gen 1.
  • And that looks like this: CPU struggles, but significant GPU, AI, and gaming gains for next-gen flagships.
  • The test device, by the way, seemed to be the Qualcomm reference prototype handset, with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, paired to 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage.

Sample benchmarks:

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 AnTuTu Overall Results Watermarked
XDA-Developers
Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Geekbench Multi Core Overall Results Watermarked
XDA-Developers

Quick view:

  • Without wading into these early numbers and each individual benchmark too far, CPU performance is a headline lackluster result.
  • From XDA, above, AnTuTu results are solid, Geekbench 5.0 results are not.
  • And accordingly, there’s going to be a lot of hand-wringing at the lack of major CPU gains here. Apple remains a long way ahead.
  • But on the CPU, the best hope is that if performance is only increased by a small percentage, that efficiency and heating are more significantly reduced — with Notebookcheck indicating longer performance runs are clearly better and approaching Apple A15 Bionic success.
  • And the other wins are major. GPU performance in these benchmarks is a significant improvement, with impressive results, especially as shown in the image above with the GFXBench results from HotHardware.
  • AI gains seem significant too, with HotHardware digging into these best, showing big gains.
  • Other areas of improvement, the ISP and camera system and connectivity, weren’t tested in these early benchmarks.
  • Those are real-world things that matter most, versus minor benchmark percentage point gains.

What they said — quotes:

  • HotHardware on AI performance: “Up until now, the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Smartphone For Snapdragon Insiders boasted the best AITuTu scores, and by wide margins. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, however, whipped them both by more than 142%. That is nothing short of impressive, and it bodes well for the chipset’s 7th Gen AI engine that Qualcomm speaks so highly of.”
  • Notebookcheck, in conclusion: “As expected, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 improves in all areas over its predecessors. The CPU gains are not particularly big, but the situation is different with the Adreno 730. The new GPU is at least on par in most areas with Apple’s seemingly formidable competition.”
  • XDA in conclusion: “The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 brings a ton of improvements over last year’s chipset, especially when it comes to AI. While there is definitely some weirdness in the CPU-bound results from Geekbench, it’s clear that there are across-the-board improvements. If you’re upgrading from a device that’s two years older (or older) then the improvements will likely be noticeable, though the massive gains in AI performance will likely go unnoticed by most. Companies seldom leverage the full potential of AI when it comes to Qualcomm’s chipsets, and it’s likely that will be the same again here.”

More to come on this, including all-important comparisons to the MediaTek Dimensity 9000…

Roundup

🔓 Telegram update brings several features that WhatsApp should copy, including better group privacy (Android Authority).

🐅 A Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra shot this wildlife documentary short(Android Authority).

🤔 Samsung Galaxy S20 FE one year later: Is it still worth buying? (Android Authority).

😬 Report: Apple CEO Tim Cook engineered a secret $275 billion deal with China back in 2016, leading to the rise of Apple in China (Ars Technica).

📦 Amazon’s AWS US-East-1 outage yesterday took out everything from Amazon warehouse workers and delivery drivers(Vice), to McDonald’s self-service terminals to Netflix, Disney Plus, Tinder, and IMDb. Everything’s back, for now… But aren’t we a fragile society sometimes?

🍎 Kuo: Second-generation Apple AR headset to launch in 2024 with lighter design, redesigned battery system, and more, and the AirPods Pro 2 will launch in Q4 2022 (MacRumors).

🎮 Jeff Gerstmann’s Halo Infinite review on Giantbomb tackles the question: “what the heck am I actually reviewing here, anyway?” (Giantbomb h/t Axios).

😎 Snap (Snapchat) keeps working away on its AR glasses, interesting stuff though still a ways away (The Verge).

📌 Not a fan of these slideshows but I learned stuff from about half of these points: 10 Google Maps settings you probably don’t know about (Gizmodo).

🏃‍♂️ Huh: “I tried running in a robotic exoskeleton so you don’t have to” (Wired).

🚽 “Why isn’t the flush lever on *every* toilet a foot pedal?” (r/nostupidquestions).

Wednesday Weirdness

Oh boy, weird Christmas trees! Of course, America is not alone in these endeavors but hooray for these efforts:

Look, a tumbleweed tree made from 1,000 tumbleweeds, complete with lights and 65 pounds of glitter in Chandler, Arizona:

weird christmas trees 3

Then there’s the ol’ keg tree in Rochester, NY from Genesee Brewery:

weird christmas trees 2

And I liked this crocheted effort made by a bunch of locals in Berea, KY, with 900 individual squares and 1,200 person-hours of effort:

weird christmas trees 1

Mostly admiring rather than decorating,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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