The first Snapdragon 865 benchmarks are out, here's how it compares to Apple's A13

The first Snapdragon 865 benchmarks are out, here's how it compares to Apple's A13
 Just two weeks ago, Qualcomm officially announced the Snapdragon 865 chipset, which is set to power most of next year’s premium Android handsets. While the 865 will bring widespread 5G support, improved battery efficiency, and more powerful AI processing, the first reported benchmarks give us a glimpse of how much of a raw speed boost the new Snapdragon will offer. 



According to Forbes, the Qualcomm’s reference device for the Snapdragon 865 scores an impressive 3445 on the Geekbench 5 multi-core benchmark in performance mode, boasting performance just slightly behind the venerable A13 Bionic-powered iPhone 11 Pro. On the other hand, the latests Snapdragon thus offers a significant boost over this year’s Snapdragon 855, which powers most current flagships and scores around 2500-3000. So we know the 865 processor will rival the A13, at least. 



Another major benchmark is AnTuTu 8, where the 865 scored shockingly well. Android Authority reports a score of 540,000- not only is that a huge boost over the 855-powered Pixel 4’s 420,000 score, it’s significantly higher than the iPhone 11 Pro’s 506,000. No benchmark can perfectly simulate real usage, both in day-to-day use and more demanding tasks, but these high scores are incredibly promising. 

Of course, one other way the Snapdragon 865 offers a marked boost over this year’s chipsets is with its increased focus on AI, including support for a new neural core processor. In AImark, an artificial intelligence-based benchmark, the Qualcomm reference device scored a sky-high 108,650, completely blasting the iPhone 11 Pro’s 59,330 out of the water. As more and more software takes advantage of AI systems, the Snapdragon 865 may have a serious edge on many of its competitors. 

What does this mean? Well, first things first- the Snapdragon 865 is not so game-changing that it somehow makes all current chips obsolete. With the exception of some niche tests, it performs roughly similarly to its peers, like Apple’s A13 Bionic, Samsung’s Exynos 990, or Huawei’s Kirin 990. So in actual everyday usage, you might not notice that the Snapdragon is markedly faster than any other 2020 flagship- the difference will likely depend more on specific hardware and software configurations.

On the other hand, Apple’s house-made chipsets have historically always been at the top of the hill, and this is the first time a Snapdragon rival has come close to having it beat- let alone actually outperforming it in a major benchmark. That means iPhones and Androids are more neck-and-neck than ever before.

But the Snapdragon 865 is next year’s chip, while the iPhone 11 is here already, you say? That’s true, but consider this- the Snapdragon 855 is already a year old, while the A13 was only announced three months ago. Apple’s A13 will power the latest iPhones for the majority of 2020, just as the Snapdragon 865 will do on the Android side of things. The two release cycles are not timed to be in sync with each other, which causes some misconceptions about which chipsets are comparable generation-wise.

In any case, it’s important to appreciate that all flagships across manufacturers and operating systems are becoming more and more advanced- they’ll need all the extra oomph they can get to power 5G connectivity and all the extra consumption that’ll bring with it. In all honesty, we still can’t know for sure if the Snapdragon 865 is the be-all, end-all chipset of 2020, but we do know that it’ll give Apple a run for its money for sure. The playing field is level now- let the games begin.

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31 Comments

1. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1226; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Title says A14 (as of the time I posted this), lol, we still in Dec 2019 while PA in Dec 2020.

3. Eugene_Jeong

Posts: 14; Member since: Oct 08, 2019

This is embarrassing. Thanks for the catch!

2. ahmadkun

Posts: 692; Member since: May 02, 2016

We will wait and see how will perform in real life, optimization is important too !

20. Tizo101

Posts: 644; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

It will be faster without a doubt

25. PartTimePhoner

Posts: 55; Member since: Jun 03, 2019

Speedtest G has proven that the real world usage is similar, even though it doesnt win against the A13 but rather go neck-n-neck

4. jellmoo

Posts: 2678; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

The A13 was a very incremental upgrade over the A12. It's interesting to see that the SD865 is a solid leap over the Sd855. Real world performance needs to be measured though as the separate 5G chip could be both a battery killer and/or a heat creation issue.

5. Wazupmrg

Posts: 213; Member since: Apr 10, 2017

The a13 wasn't anything new really either. Just like everything Apple, they give you 1 nice thing while you readout another year for stuff others already have

6. stulla

Posts: 100; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Then 2 years down the road we hear it can't support the latest OTA software update

17. vincelongman

Posts: 5813; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

iPhones can't support new camera features after only 1 year lol The OG Pixel's "weak" 821 from 2016 can support Night Sight, but the iPhone Xs' A12 from 2018 can't support Night Mode The iPhone Xs has aged very poorly, didn't get Night Mode or Deep Fusion

19. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1226; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

I believe this is all part of Apple trying to push people to new devices? Considering how powerful the A12 is it could probably support Deep Fusion, on the other hand Night Mode is supported through 3rd Party apps and many of us have noticed an improvement in night photography since getting iOS 13, seems Apple added a subtle upgrade to the camera. Anyway, it will still get updates for the next 5 to 6 years or so, longer than any of my current Androids. :/

21. vincelongman

Posts: 5813; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

What's the point of Apple making great SoCs if they won't utilize them after 1 year lol That third party Night Mode app is very poor, not on par with the OG Pixel or Galaxy S9's Night Mode Also its limited to extremely low resolution on the iPhone X and older iOS 13 did slightly improve low light photography, but very subtle compared to Night Mode which is game changing Meh, I prefer the Android update model over Apple's 3 years of updates including major features like Night Sight, Astrophotography, Super Res Zoom, ... 4-5 years of updates is cool, but its most likely just security updates and minior UI changes. Apple never brings major features to older iPhones, e.g. Smart HDR, Night Mode, Deep Fusion, ... As an enthusiast, I upgrade phone every 2-3 years anyways

29. foldablephone

Posts: 78; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

You raise a good point. One of Apple’s supposed selling points is that owners can keep their phones longer (I’m typing this on an iPhone 7 before the prices got crazy). While I appreciate getting the latest iOS update, I wish things like Night Mode or Animoji’s etc would be supported on older iPhones. My A10 Bionic chip (from 2016) still scores fairly well or even higher than many 2019 low mid range phones but what’s the point if I can’t really do much with it! Certainly a strategy of Apple to get me to upgrade.

7. alaw.14

Posts: 431; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

After A11/Sd 835, we really didn't need anything of extra power, just better efficiency.

8. torr310

Posts: 1728; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

SD835 on my Galaxy S8 has encountering some lags, but still much better than my other Galaxy Tab S5e (SD670, I guess.)

18. alaw.14

Posts: 431; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

There is a little animation glitches on my note 8 aswell and they are rare, but not even close to the lags of the old touchwiz days. Every phone has these little glitches from time to time.

9. mackan84

Posts: 689; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

So now that all high-end SoCs are pretty much equal can we just start and end all debates with “my Smartphone is better suited for me and I just find any other smartphone to be s*it” and be done for the day?

10. Fred3

Posts: 611; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

That would be nice but sadly it would not happen. It's not even just Apple vs Android but Android vs Android now.

11. Plutonium239

Posts: 1262; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

That is how I feel. No other phone other than an older note is suitable as a replacement for my note 10+.

26. Vancetastic

Posts: 1883; Member since: May 17, 2017

I don't know...I don't feel fulfilled until someone makes a comment about my wife or mother.

12. tedkord

Posts: 17513; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

As I've said before, even mid level phones are more than fast enough these days.

13. LCR_eldjango

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 28, 2019

I want to know if the performance in terms of rendering files like 4K videos will be better, the A13 is a monster on that category.

22. Tizo101

Posts: 644; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

Yes it better... You can read other reviews who have done those type of test. Overall processing is actually better than on the A13

14. TheAccountant unregistered

CPU: SD865 > A13 GPU: A13 > SD865 for reference, go to Gary Explains Youtube channel

15. Reviewerofstuff

Posts: 136; Member since: Jun 02, 2018

Even with that. You have to keep in mind that the snapdragon referral device has a 1440p screen, while the iphone 11 pro max has a 1240p screen. So the snapdragon is pushing more pixels meaning a lower score. A 1080p snapdragon 865 phone might be able to match the a13 in GPU.

16. QuantumRazer

Posts: 216; Member since: Apr 27, 2019

Nah, off-screen GPU test results suggest that 865 is ever so slightly faster than A12 but still massively behind A13 both in terms of power efficiency and raw performance. It's not about the screen pixel count.

23. Tizo101

Posts: 644; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

Lol salty? The GPU is still behind though but not by much

27. PartTimePhoner

Posts: 55; Member since: Jun 03, 2019

Still trusting Antutu kinda tests?

31. Fred3

Posts: 611; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

On Gary Explains he used a IPhone vs a non brand Android phone with unknown specs so it might differ if it's in a flagship phone. I want to see the 11Max Pro go against the S11+

24. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 746; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

Every year. There's new processors, new display tech, more ram, more storage space, and others. Meanwhile, the battery tech for smartphone still remains un-upgraded for more than a decade! WTH are these companies thinking?!

30. foldablephone

Posts: 78; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

Great comment. The biggest negative with my phone is having to charge it every night, sometimes earlier. Oppo’s new Reno 3 is being marketed as the slimmest 5G device but I wish they would just give us more battery. To be fair to that company does have crazy fast charging, but still I just my battery didn’t need charging every day in the first place!

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