OPINION: The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is a particularly exciting chipset not only because of its raw performance gains, but also because of its focus on Generative AI. However, it’s next year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 I’m most excited for.
Announced at Snapdragon Summit 2023, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is the new flagship chipset that’ll likely be used by most premium smartphones set for release in 2024. As well as the usual chipset gains – a 30% boost to CPU, 25% boost to GPU speeds and a whopping 98% increase on the NPU front – the chipset focuses on Generative AI with some pretty cool tricks.
The chipset should allow smartphones to run Generative AI tasks like photo expansion, removal of elements from photos in a similar way to Google’s Magic Eraser, improved AI zoom, better AI companions and much more, and with such huge gains in AI performance, this is all done on-device with no cloud connectivity required.
But while that’s exciting, it’s next year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 that I’m most excited about. While a total mystery for now, Qualcomm did tease one particularly interesting feature about it at Snapdragon Summit; it’ll use the Oryon CPU that’s present in the new Snapdragon X Elite PC chipset that the company claims can best even Apple’s M2 Max chipset in benchmark tests.
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While Snapdragon-equipped Android smartphones aren’t exactly slouches, they do still fall quite behind Apple’s A17 Pro and even A16 Bionic in most benchmark tests – and by quite some way too. Take a look at how the iPhone 15 Pro bests the competition in our benchmark tests below:
However, that could all change with the introduction of a Qualcomm Oryon CPU. We’re only now being treated to glimpses at what the Snapdragon X Elite can do on the PC front, with claims that the CPU can not only best the most popular ARM chipsets and even x86 CPUs like the Intel i9-13980HX in both single-tread and multi-thread tasks, with both better power capabilities and better power efficiency, but even Apple’s top-end M2 Max.
While the iPhone doesn’t sport Apple’s desktop-level M-series chips – that’s just for Macs and a select few models of iPad – it’s clear that the DNA lives strong within the A16 Bionic and A17 Pro chipsets, helping them secure those huge gains over the Snapdragon competition.
However, given just how well the Snapdragon X Elite seems to perform on PC, we could expect similar gains from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 alongside all the cool Generative AI features introduced on this year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. Combined, they could pose a serious threat to Apple.
So, while I can’t wait to get my hands on a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3-equipped smartphone – likely the Xiaomi 14, which has been teased for later this week – it’s next year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 that’ll truly change what’s possible on an Android smartphone.