Snapdragon vs Bionic: Which smartphone processor is best for techies

As Apple introduced iPhone 13, techies were excited to pit the latest A15 Bionic against the Snapdragon 888. Here are the results.

At the iPhone 13 series launch, Apple introduced its flagship A15 Bionic chipset that’s going to redefine the boundary in the smartphone world once again.

Before we do a deep dive into the specifics of each chipset, here’s a specifications comparison table for the A15 Bionic vs Snapdragon 888.

1. CPU
Hexa-core CPU
Snapdragon- Kryo 680, Octa-core CPU

2. CPU Cores

  • 2× Avalanche (High-performance)
  • 4× Blizzard (Energy-efficient)


  • 1x 2.84GHz (Cortex-X1)
  • 3x 2.4GHz (Cortex A78)
  • 4x 1.8GHz (Cortex A55)

3. Process Technology
TSMC’s 2nd-gen 5nm process
Snapdragon- Samsung’s 5nm process

4. GPU
Apple-designed five-core GPU
Snapdragon-Adreno 660

5. Machine Learning and AI
16-core Neural Engine; 15.8 TOPS
Snapdragon- 6th-gen AI accelerator featuring Hexagon 780 DSP; 26 TOPS

6. ISP
Apple-designed New Image Signal Processor
Snapdragon- Spectra 580

7. Camera Capability
Snapdragon- Up to 200 MP; 28 MP triple camera with Zero Shutter Lag; Triple 14-bit ISPs

8. Video Capability
4K HDR Dolby Vision @ 60FPS
Snapdragon-8K @ 30 FPS, 4K HDR Dolby @ 60FPS, 720p @ 960FPS

9. Modem


  • Qualcomm X60 5G Modem (Speculated)
  • 7.5 Gbps Peak Download
  • 3 Gbps Peak Upload


  • Qualcomm X60 5G Modem
  • 7.5 Gbps Peak Download
  • 3 Gbps Peak Upload

10. WiFi Support
Wi-Fi 6-ready
Snapdragon- Wi-Fi 6E-ready

Let’s take a deep dive into the top 5 parameters:

1. CPU
The A15 Bionic’s CPU architecture uses the traditional Hexa-core CPU design and is built on TSMC’s 2nd-gen 5nm process node (N5P). The CPU has two high-performant cores and four power-efficient cores. Apple has also doubled the system cache, which means the SoC now has access to 32MB SLC. That should result in much better performance.
The Snapdragon 888 has an octa-core CPU featuring the powerful new Cortex-X1 core clocked at 2.84GHz. The flagship Qualcomm chipset is also built on the 5nm process and has been manufactured by Samsung.

The last year’s A14 Bionic already had a lead of 30% to 40% over the Snapdragon 888. With the new A15 Bionic, Apple claims that its latest processor is 50% faster than the leading competition.

2. GPU
A15 Bionic comes with a newly-designed 4-core GPU (on the non-Pro variants). It is said to bring 30% performance gains against the best competition across the aisle.
The Snapdragon 888 chipset saw an improvement of 35% in the GPU department last year.

When the new GPUs arrive on Snapdragon and Exynos chipsets, A15 Bionic will have to face a lot of competition.

3. ISP
Apple does not talk much about its ISP, but the company has said that the A15 Bionic comes with a newly-designed ISP that does a great job with Apple’s computational photography, the new Cinematic Mode feature, live filters, and more. The ISP is also capable of shooting 4K HDR Dolby Vision videos at 60FPS, which is just amazing. Not to mention, the ISP can also handle ProRes RAW footage at 4K 30FPS.
Coming to Snapdragon 888, the Spectra 580 ISP supports concurrent HDR operations on its triple-cluster ISP architecture. This allows the ISP to collect more light and create an image stack quickly for a better shot. The Spectra 580 ISP can shoot images up to 200MP and record videos up to 8K at 30FPS.

4. AI & ML
A15 Bionic has seen a healthy improvement, and it can perform 15.8 TOPS (trillion operations per second). Compare Apple silicon’s prowess on AI & ML against Qualcomm and Samsung, the figure falls short.
The 6th-gen AI accelerator, along with the Hexagon 780 DSP, on Snapdragon 888 can deliver up to 26 TOPS.

It’s safe to say that the Snapdragon 888 is much ahead of the A15 Bionic when it comes to AI and ML operations.

5. Modem and Wireless Technologies
When it comes to radios and 5G, Qualcomm leads the industry. Since last year, Apple has been using Qualcomm’s modem. And this year too, it’s being speculated that Apple has utilized Qualcomm’s X60 5G modem, the same modem available on Snapdragon 888.

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