As it turns out, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 still beats the 8 Plus Gen 1 but it's a much closer race than you might've expected. There are some pretty big improvements when it comes to the GPU, but with the CPU, depending on how you're using it, the performance seems to be more or less the same.
About this comparison: We compared the OnePlus 11 to the OnePlus 10T. Both devices were factory reset, no Google accounts were linked, and Wi-Fi was only enabled to install update packages for benchmarks that required it. Benchmarking applications were installed via adb, and all tests were run on airplane mode with device batteries above 50%. Both devices had OnePlus' performance mode enabled to remove the artificial limit on the clock speed of these chipsets.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1: Specifications
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1|
|Memory||LPDDR5X @ 4200MHz, 16GB||LPDDR5 @ 3200MHz, 16GB|
|Charging||Qualcomm Quick Charge 5||Qualcomm Quick Charge 5|
|Manufacturing Process||4nm TSMC||4nm TSMC|
Given that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is an iteration above the last generation, the design differences are minimal. In fact, the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 is basically just the same chipset as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but on a different fabrication process. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2's primary core was upgraded from a Cortex-X2-based design to a Cortex-X3-based one. Interestingly, Qualcomm also moved from having three performance cores to four, significantly increasing the computational power.
Qualcomm does remove one efficiency core, which I was worried about because it could impact the overall efficiency of the smartphone. As you'll see later, though, it doesn't seem to. Performance is still great, power consumption is well within a normal range, and the only question mark concerns the inclusion of two A710 cores rather than four A715 cores.
With the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, we saw massive improvements in both performance and efficiency in a way we would only typically see with a year-on-year improvement. Putting the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 versus the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, as a result, shouldn't see as large of a leapfrog in performance as we would when moving from the 8 Gen 1 to the 8 Gen 2.
- GeekBench: A CPU-centric test that uses several computational workloads, including encryption, compression (text and images), rendering, physics simulations, computer vision, ray tracing, speech recognition, and convolutional neural network inference on images. The score breakdown gives specific metrics. The final score is weighted according to the designer’s considerations, placing a large emphasis on integer performance (65%), then float performance (30%), and finally, cryptography (5%). We used both Geekbench 5 and Geekbench 6 for these tests.
- GFXBench: Aims to simulate video game graphics rendering using the latest APIs. Lots of onscreen effects and high-quality textures. Newer tests use Vulkan, while legacy tests use OpenGL ES 3.1. The outputs are frames during the test and frames per second (the other number divided by the test length, essentially) instead of a weighted score.
- Aztec Ruins: These tests are the most computationally heavy ones offered by GFXBench. Currently, top mobile chipsets cannot sustain 30 frames per second. Specifically, the test offers really high polygon count geometry, hardware tessellation, high-resolution textures, global illumination and plenty of shadow mapping, copious particle effects, as well as bloom and depth of field effects. Most of these techniques will stress the shader compute capabilities of the processor.
- Manhattan ES 3.0/3.1: This test remains relevant given that modern games have already arrived at their proposed graphical fidelity and implement the same kinds of techniques. It features complex geometry employing multiple render targets, reflections (cubic maps), mesh rendering, and many deferred lighting sources, along with bloom and depth of field in a post-processing pass.
- CPU Throttling Test: This app repeats a simple multithreaded test in C for as short as 15 minutes, though we ran it for 30 minutes. The app charts the score over time so you can see when the phone starts throttling. The score is measured in GIPS — or a billion operations per second.
- Burnout Benchmark: Loads different SoC components with heavy workloads to analyze their power consumption, thermal throttling, and maximum performance. It uses Android’s BatteryManager API to calculate the watts used during testing, which can be used to understand the battery drain on a smartphone.
These tests were conducted using both Geekbench 5 and Geekbench 6, and we intend on phasing out Geekbench 5 testing in the future.
As expected, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 scores better than the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. It's not by an insignificant amount either: one can expect roughly 25% better CPU performance, according to Geekbench, in multithreaded use cases.
Burnout Benchmark allows us to easily measure the power consumed by a chipset in a smartphone. The following tests are run on different components of the SoC as part of the Burnout Benchmark.
- GPU: Parallel vision-based computations using OpenCL
- CPU: Multi-threaded computations largely involving Arm Neon instructions
- NPU: AI models with typical machine learning ops
First and foremost, here are the power metrics that we collected.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 consumes more power when loaded with GPU, CPU, and NPU operations, but that's not the whole picture.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also significantly beats the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1's GPU while also achieving a higher peak CPU performance. They both level out to about the same in CPU performance, but the GPU shows a significant performance increase.
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 2||Snapdragon 8 Gen 1||Percentage change (from 8 Gen 1 to 8 Gen 2)|
|CPU FPS (peak)||19.22||17.76||8.2% increase|
|GPU FPS (peak)||27.47||16.61||65% increase|
|Wattage (peak)||13.67W||11.5W||19% increase|
These statistics say that Qualcomm has managed a 65% increase in GPU performance and an 8.2% increase in CPU performance while only increasing power consumption by 19%. In other words, to achieve the same performance as last year's Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, you're very likely going to be consuming less power overall.
All of this is to say that if you have a device like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with a "light" mode then you should definitely use it. You're very likely going to see massive efficiency gains in doing so.
However, GFXBench GPU testing tells a different story regarding GPU performance. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is an upgrade, but these results are nowhere near as significant an upgrade as a 65% increase would suggest. The biggest improvement is in the 1440p Aztec Offscreen test, indicating a 26% improvement in GPU performance. Other improvements seem to hover around 15% to 20%.
In other words, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 still has a more powerful GPU, but I'd temper expectations when looking at its capabilities in gaming versus last year's model. Burnout Benchmark's GPU test represents more of a best-case scenario of raw computational power, but GFXBench represents a more accurate result that's more akin to normal gaming usage.
CPU Throttling Test
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 manages to maintain its performance for longer than the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, though they achieve similar peak values. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can maintain its performance better than the 8 Plus Gen 1, though both of these chips are excellent regardless.
The Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 is more than enough
When I first tested the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, I said that it felt like a generational improvement and not just a souped-up "Plus" variant as we would normally see. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has solidified that feeling because while the jump from the 8 Gen 2 to the 8 Gen 1 is astonishingly large, the jump from the 8 Plus Gen 1 is much milder.
That's not to say a generational improvement should be big. Most people don't (and shouldn't) upgrade yearly, and this is just one of many reasons why. The Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 clearly improved massively on an already-struggling chip, and then the 8 Gen 2 just makes smaller improvements. The CPU improvements, for example, are significantly smaller than one would expect, and it seems quite similar to the last generation in both Burnout Benchmark and the CPU Throttling Test.
GPU is a different story, but not everyone is a mobile gamer. If you want to game on the best smartphone then the RedMagic 8 Pro is probably the best currently, but otherwise, any other Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 device will do. Alternatively, go with a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 smartphone like the OnePlus 10T or, my personal favorite, the Asus Zenfone 9. There's a lot to choose from, but the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 is clearly a phenomenal chipset that you can't go wrong with: same with the 8 Gen 2, for that matter. The last generation is just cheaper.