Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 1: performance test

Every time a new processor is announced, the manufacturer calls out “we have x percent better performance, y percent better power efficiency”. That’s all fine and dandy, but we — the consumers — can’t really check if those numbers are close to reality. Specifically in the world of smartphones — different manufacturers take those processors and slap them on different systems, with their own cooling solutions, internal designs, and software.

So, in the case of Snapdragon + Gen 1 vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, Qualcomm claimed:

  • 10% faster CPU and GPU
  • 30% better power efficiency
  • 20% better performance per watt AI engine

We did test a few phones with the new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, and we know it performs great, but how can we compare it cleanly against the 8 Gen 1? Well, we need two phones that are very, very close.

This is where Red Magic helps

Red Magic is a company that specializes in making gaming smartphones — edgy designs, top-tier specs, and shoulder buttons for comfortable gaming are all in the mix. And, this year, the manufacturer released two phones — the Red Magic 7 and Red Magic 7S. You guessed it, one is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the other — Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

And eventhough they run very similar software and probably have very similar internals, we have another thing in these phones that will equalize results — internal fans.

With cooling taken care of, we can confidently push the two Snapdragons through multiple benchmarks, knowing that they will (or should) barely throttle. Thus, we will get a much clearer image of what their max performance is, as well as how much battery they actually drain. Fun, no?

Step 1: 3DMark torture test

3DMark results (Image Credit – PhoneArena)

3DMark’s Wildlife Extreme is a pretty… well, extreme test, well deserving its name. It runs a set of very demanding graphical scenes, and it circles through them a total of 20 times, tracking performance, throttling, and battery drain for the entire process. Yep, that sounds perfect for what we are trying to do! So, here goes:

OK, how did we do on the first test? On the highest loop score, we got about 7% better performance on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which is close to that 10% promise. On the lowest loop score, we got an actual 14.5% improvement with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, so it looks like this chip is tougher to scare with heavy graphics.

Now, what about energy efficiency?

We started the whole ordeal with 72% in both phones (we purposefully chose not to charge them to 100%, as that may introduce more battery reading deviations). The Red Magic 7 dropped by 26%, the Red Magic 7S lost 17%. Lo and behold — that is actually 34.6% better battery endurance!

Step 2: Geekbench 5

Geekbench 5 results (Image Credit – PhoneArena)

We let the phones cool down and moved to the next one. Geekbench is a strictly CPU-oriented benchmarking tool, which runs the processor through a set of calculations and determines how fast it was to complete them. This one doesn’t do repetitions on its own, so we ran Geekbench 3 consecutive times per phone, and tracked both result deviations and battery drop:

We got pretty consistent points throughout all 5 loops — maybe the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 throttled by a little bit, but such a score deviation is negligible. Let’s compare the first loop results and see if the performance promises were realistic.

For single-core performance, the 8+ Gen 1 had a 7.2% better score. On multi-core, it got a respectable 13% bonus points. So, again, we can say Qualcomm’s promises have been kept.

On to battery drain during the Geekbench 5 test:

This is too small of a change to make any conclusions, but we can see where the trend was going with this one — the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 was draining less power, even though it was crunching better numbers.

Step 3: GFXBench

GFXBench results (Image Credit – PhoneArena)

After another cooldown, we moved on to GFXBench. This tool is quite long in the tooth — modern smartphones are pretty good at eating its benchmarks up. But the Aztec Ruins scene is relatively new and still pretty heavy. Again, GFXBench doesn’t do cycles on its own, so we ran Aztec Ruins 5 consecutive times on both phones, then tracked results:

Qualcomm says we should observe a 10% better GPU performance, just like with the CPU. So, results? A consistent 8.5%-9.8% improvement in framerates through all 5 loops. Again, pretty close!

Again, not a huge drop, but we definitely see the trend repeat itself — again, the 8+ Gen 1 drained by exactly 30% less than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 did.

Conclusion

Red Magic 7S and Red Magic 7 

Wait a second, what about the AI performance? We are going to have to leave you hanging on that test, as the Red Magic 7S doesn’t seem to be giving benchmarking apps proper access to its Neural Processing Unit at the moment, resulting in some pretty low scores on the benchmarks. We’d love to revisit if this gets solved by a patch down the line.

But so far, we managed to test the performance of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 on a pretty level playing field — or as equal as we can get, standing on the consumer end of the market. Did the 8+ Gen 1 live up to what was promised? Well… yes.

Of course, we have some deviation from test to test, it’s not realistic to expect exact 10% or 30% improvements. But we got very, very close, no complaints there! Is Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 the king of Android chips? Well… it could be, but that MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ seems like a very worthy competitor.

Feel free to drop a line in the comments if you want to see how the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 stacks up against the Dimensity 9000+!

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