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Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 benchmark results are in

Got a need for speed?

Published onMarch 22, 2023

Update, March 2023: A new section on consumer device benchmark results has been added, and some text has been amended accordingly.

Smartphones packing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 smartphones landed in our hands in early 2023, giving us a full look at how the latest flagship silicon performs in the real world. Paired with our early look at a reference phone during Qualcomm’s 2022 Tech Summit, we can now see whether consumer devices live up to initial expectations.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 initial benchmark results

First, some housekeeping before we start with the initial numbers gleaned from Qualcomm’s summit. Qualcomm’s reference device is intended to show off the chip’s real-world potential but may not reflect the results we see in retail products. For instance, we saw notably lower performance from retail Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phones compared to Qualcomm’s reference unit in 2021. Partners may choose to make further optimizations to performance or power consumption as they see fit, so treat this as a ballpark rather than an absolute reference. Secondly, Qualcomm’s reference phone packed 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, a pretty common setup for a flagship handset.

We had time to run Geekbench 5, AnTuTu, and 3DMark Wildlife tests on the handset. Qualcomm also provided expected results for other benchmarks based on its own testing, which we’ve included in a section of this article for your reference. As you’ll see, the results we were able to run closely matched Qualcomm’s claims, so we’re fairly confident its in-house benchmark results are accurate.

As you’d expect from Qualcomm’s latest chip, the handset outperforms its predecessor. With a powerhouse Arm Cortex-X3 core and four, rather than three, middle-tier CPUs, there’s a notable uplift in Geekbench 5 multi-core scores compared to previous years. The unorthodox quad-performance core (2x Cortex-A715 + 2x Cortex-A710) approach clearly pays dividends in this multi-core CPU test, which sees the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 fly past previous generation smartphones and close the gap on Apple’s A16 Bionic.

Qualcomm’s reference handset comes in 23% faster in the Geekbench 5 multi-core test than the ROG Phone 6 and outmuscles the Galaxy S22 Ultra by a colossal 51%. That goes to show just the extent of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’s overheating issues but also reminds us to be cautious that the results scored by Qualcomm’s reference phone might not translate over to retail handsets.

Geekbench 5 single-core scores are a little more muted in their uplift but still fairly notable. An Arm Cortex-X3 clocked at 3.19GHz bests a similarly clocked Cortex-X2 in the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 by 13.8% — a healthy win. Compared to the lower-clocked 8 Gen 1, there’s a 22% single-core performance boost in this benchmark. That said, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 still lags Apple’s A16 Bionic here, which retains a healthy 25% performance lead.

Qualcomm's 1+4+3 CPU setup scores big wins in CPU-based benchmarks.

Qualcomm’s PC Mark Work 3.0 score eclipses the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and 8 Plus Gen 1 smartphones we tested throughout 2022. The highest score we clocked in 2022 was 17,089 from the ROG Phone 6 running in X-Mode with a cooler attached, so Qualcomm’s reference phone comes in around 8.5% faster than the best Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 score we’ve seen. Once again, this looks like a major win for the new chipset, particularly if Qualcomm has finally kicked the overheating issues to the curb.

Turning to graphics, Qualcomm’s promise of a 25% performance boost appears to be quite modest. 3DMark Wildlife showcases a roughly 37% uplift over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and a 29% win over the fastest 8 Plus Gen 1 phone we tested. Qualcomm’s reference phone eclipses Apple’s latest iPhone in this test as well, marking a major achievement for gaming potential. However, whether this performance can be sustained in retail handsets remains to be seen.

GPU benchmarks surpass Apple, but we'll reserve judgment for sustained performance tests.

We went back to look at some old GFXBench results and compared those to Qualcomm’s estimates and again came up with a similar 40% win over the 8 Gen 1 and 27% boost over the 8 Plus Gen 1 in GFXBench’s Aztec Ruins test. But more on that in the next section. Of course, benchmarks aren’t representative of real games, but clearly, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 looks like a very capable piece of gaming kit, at least in reference form. We’ll have to wait and see how ray tracing performance stacks up once titles appear in 2023.

Qualcomm reference phones compared

As we noted earlier, 2022 flagship phones handed in significantly lower benchmark scores than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 reference unit. So we’ve dug up last year’s results to compare against Qualcomm’s latest reference unit for a bit more of an apples-to-apples comparison.

To quickly summarize, CPU single-core and multi-scores jumped 20% and 38% between Gen 1 and Gen 2 reference phones, respectively. That falls pretty close to Qualcomm’s 35% claimed CPU uplift and might be more reflective of the gains we see in actual devices.

System-testing Antutu sees a 24% uplift, while PCMark Work 3.0 sees a far more modest 10% gain between the first and second-generation chipsets. Once again, these figures aren’t quite as impressive as when we compared Qualcomm’s reference phone against retail handsets, so we should keep real device expectations in check for now.

Some benchmarks are a little less impressive when compared to Qualcomm's previous reference phones.

Finally, graphics. A 30% gain for 3DMark Wildlife and a 40% lead in GFXBench’s Aztec Ruins shows that gaming may be the biggest winner for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. However, the older GFXBench T-Rex barely moved the needle at all, with a 1.9% improvement. This suggests that older APIs and game engines won’t see the same performance improvements as those using the latest OpenGL and Vulkan graphics APIs.

Qualcomm’s expanded benchmark results

For completeness, below is a list of additional benchmark expectations that Qualcomm provided to Android Authority at the Snapdragon Tech Summit 2022. While we didn’t have time to verify all of these results, we observed similar scores in the tests we had time to run. We’ll be able to run more tests once phones launch in the coming months.

Expected benchmark results provided by QualcommSnapdragon 8 Gen 2 reference design
Geekbench 5
Single-core: 1,485 - 1,495
Multi-core: 5,050 - 5,200
1,270,000 - 1,280,000
18,500 - 18,900
167 - 170
144 - 146
219 - 220
Manhattan 3.0 Offscreen: 329 - 332
T-Rex Offscreen: 481 - 484
Manhattan 3.1 Offscreen: 224 - 226
Car Chase Offscreen: 129 - 130
Aztec Ruins Vulkan High Tier Offscreen: 65
Aztec Ruins OpenGL High Tier Offscreen: 60
Aztec Ruins Vulkan Normal Tier Offscreen: 178
Wildlife Unlimited: 82 fps
Wildlife Extreme Unlimited: 23 fps
MLPerf (AI)
Image Classification: 3,915 - 3,920
Object Detection: 1,765 - 1,800
V2.0 Image Segmentation: 945 - 950
Language Understanding: 185
Image Classification Offline: 4,980 - 5,020

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 benchmark leaderboard

With Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 smartphones now on the market, we’ve been able to go back and see how our initial benchmarks compare to how consumer devices perform. Let’s dive right in.

Starting with the CPU, there’s a bit of variation in devices we’ve seen in the wild. The souped-up Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy inside our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra slightly surpasses Qualcomm’s reference unit for single-core results, thanks to the clock speed boost, and offers comparative multi-core scores. Likewise, the REDMAGIC 8 Pro and Xiaomi 13 Pro offer comparable scores overall, although their multi-core and single-core scores deviate a little from Qualcomm’s unit.

However, the OnePlus 11 and OPPO Find X6 Pro offer notably lower scores, however, particularly in the single-core department. This is likely down to energy efficiency optimizations, which hints that some partners may have lingering concerns over peak power draw. Still, the results are more consistent with the reference device than the previous generation was.

Real smartphones are often close to Qualcomm's reference phone, but it depends on the workload.

This discrepancy is more noticeable in the PCMark Work 3.0 heavily mixed workload. No device comes close to reaching the reference phone’s 18,500 score. Perhaps Qualcomm’s memory or task scheduling engineers were not as concerned about battery drain as its partners are. The Galaxy S23 comes closest but is still some way behind. Again, OPPO and OnePlus score lower than some of last year’s devices, owing to a more conservative performance point.

3DMark’s Wild Life GPU test yields more even results, with most phones falling within a few percentage points of the reference device. Once again, the slight clock speed boost pushes Samsung’s flagship to the head of the pack. The Xiaomi 13 Pro is the exception, with a much lower result than its rivals when left in its out-of-the-box state. We can perhaps see why when turning to stress testing.

While not as worrisome as 2022’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 fiasco, the 8 Gen 2 still runs a little hot without adequate cooling, when maxed out for long periods. The REDMAGIC 8 Pro and OPPO Find X6 Pro provide robust cooling solutions and perform well above other handsets in this test. The Galaxy S23 Ultra is particularly troublesome, showcasing a similar gradual decline as its predecessor. That clock speed boost isn’t much use if it throttles during prolonged gaming sessions.

Xiaomi has opted for a different approach entirely, sacrificing peak performance for a highly consistent stress test result. We’ve not seen such aggressive downclocking before, but it does hint that the large gains in Adreno GPU performance seen in recent years come with a cost to both power and heat generation.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2: Impressions on benchmarking

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip red backdrop
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Benchmark results from Qualcomm’s reference handset were initially promising, revealing a substantial uplift in multi-core CPU performance, owing to the novel CPU arrangement. Meanwhile, gamers looked forward to notable wins too, even without considering the prospect of ray tracing. But it did leave a few unanswered questions, particularly after the throttling issues that plagued the previous generation.

With real devices now in hand for comparison, Qualcomm’s reference unit represented an ideal but not an unrealistic goal of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s potential. We’ve seen a couple of retail handsets, including the Galaxy S23 and various gaming phones, land within the same ballpark as the reference phone, putting them right at the top of the pack for best-in-class smartphone performance.

Importantly, sustained performance and energy efficiency appear improved over the Samsung 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and even the TSMC N4 8 Plus Gen 1. However, some issues linger on, depending on the handset’s implementation. A large battery seems essential to encourage partners to push for Qualcomm’s advertised peak performance, while robust cooling is required to sustain these levels in demanding workloads.

Qualcomm’s flagship chipset continues to test the limits of energy and thermal efficiency then, but would performance enthusiasts have it any other way?

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