Apple’s A9 processor did incredibly well to outperform rival chipsets from the likes of Samsung and Kirin last year, despite sticking to a dual-core architecture while others are using as many as eight. But three months into 2016, it has lost its crown.
In a list of top chipsets published by AnTuTu, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus chip is narrowly beaten by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 820, which powers Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge — and other high-end Androids of 2016.
The new Snapdragon 820 chip, which features four cores and Adreno 530 graphics, scores an average of 136,383 in AnTuTu’s CPU performance test, making it number one on the site’s top ten chipsets list. Apple’s A9 processor scores 132,656.
In third is Samsung’s new Exynos 8890 chip, which also powers the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge in select markets, scoring 129,865. There’s a big gap between third and fourth place, with the Kirin 950 scoring just 92,746.
It should be noted that this is overall CPU performance, so it’s unclear how well these chips perform on average in single- and multi-core tests individually.
Single-core performance is arguably one of the most important performance metrics for smartphones, with every app benefiting from single-core performance. Only those optimized to take advantage of multiple cores benefit from multi-core performance.
The results in the GPU test are even more impressive for the Snapdragon 820. Its new Adreno 530 graphics give it an average score of 55,098, while the A9’s graphics score just 39,104. Samsung’s Exynos 8890 scores 37,545 to maintain third place.
Of course, high-end Android devices need a more powerful GPU to power sharper, Quad HD displays. We should also remember that software plays a huge role in everyday performance, so faster chips doesn’t automatically make for a faster phone.
Nevertheless, Qualcomm’s new processor is clearly a powerhouse. Not only does it power the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, but also LG’s new G5, Sony’s new Xperia X, Xiaomi’s new Mi 5, and more. You can expect to see a lot of it in 2016.
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