Semiconductor giant Qualcomm launches its much-awaited yearly upgrade dubbed as Snapdragon 865 at Qualcomm Tech Summit 2019 in Hawaii, USA. It replaces last year’s Snapdragon 855 and slightly upgraded Snapdragon 855+ chipsets. Qualcomm is single handly ruling the smartphone industry with different kinds of processors. Which covers all the segments whether it is entry-level or flagship phones. But the competition doesn’t stop here. There are many chip designers, who do not supply chips to the third party use. But create powerful SoCs for their own smartphones.
Apple and Huawei are two major examples. Apple recently introduced one of the most powerful mobile processors called Apple A13 Bionic. On the other hand, Huawei has Kirin 990 5G chipset. These two chipsets comprehensively beat the Snapdragon’s old chipset, that is what we have found in over earlier testing. In this article, we will be comparing Snapdragon 865 vs 855 / Plus vs Apple A13 Bionic vs Kirin 990 5G. So, without any further delay, let’s get started!
Snapdragon 865 vs 855 / Plus vs Apple A13 Bionic vs Kirin 990 5G Specifications Comparison
|Snapdragon 865||Snapdragon 855 Plus||Apple A13 Bionic||Kirin 990 5G|
|Release Date||December 5, 2019||July 15, 2019||September 13, 2019||September 6, 2019|
|CPU||Tri-cluster octa-core (1x Kryo 585 @2.84 GHz|
3x Kryo 585 @2.4 GHz
4x Kryo 385 @1.8 GHz)
|Tri-cluster octa-core (1x Kryo 485 @2.96 GHz|
3x Kryo 485 @2.42 GHz
4x Kryo 385 @1.78 GHz)
|Dual-cluster hexa-core (2x Lightning cores @2.66 GHz|
4x Thunder efficiency cores)
|Tri-cluster octa-core (2 x Cortex-A76 cores @2.86GHz
2x Cortex-A76 cores @2.36GHz
4x Cortex-A55 cores @1.95GHz)
|GPU||Adreno 650||Adreno 640, 700MHz||Apple-designed quad-core||Mali-G76MP16, 700MHz|
|Process||TSMS 7nm (N7P)||TSMS 7nm (N7)||TSMS 7nm+||TSMS 7NM+ EUV|
|AI||Qualcomm Hexagon 698 with Hexagon Vector eXtensions and new Hexagon Tensor Accelerator|
5th generation AI Engine
Qualcomm Sensing Hub
|Qualcomm Hexagon 690 with Hexagon Vector eXtensions and Hexagon Tensor Accelerator|
4th generation AI Engine
|octa-core Neural Engine||2 + 1 Da Vinci (three cores)|
External 5G Modem
D/L speed 7.5Gbps (5G), 2.5Gbps (4G LTE)
U/L speed 3Gbps (5G), 316Mbps (4G LTE)
NSA, SA, TDD, FDD
|Snapdragon X50 External 5G modem|
D/L speed 5Gbps (5G), 2Gbps (LTE)
U/L speed 316 Mbps
|LTE||Integrated Balong 5G
D/L Speed 2.3 Gbps
U/L Speed 1.25 Gbps
Multi-Core: 12915 (at testing phase)
|Antutu||N/A||- 3,96,813 points (v7)|
- 4,97,179 point (v8)
|4,55,452 (v7)||4,62,098 points (v8)|
|ISP||Spectra 480 dual-core ISP||Spectra 380 dual-core ISP||Apple-designed ISP||ISP 5.0|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 uses the custom-designed Kryo cores. Those are based on the latest Cortex-A77 powerful and Cortex-A55 power-efficient cores. It has one Kryo 585 prime core clocked at 2.84GHz, three cores @2.4GHz and four power-efficient cores @1.8GHz. The Snapdragon 855 packs a similar kind of CPU. But Snapdragon 855 Plus has overclocked Kryo 485 core @2.96GHz. There are three other Kryo 485 cores clocked @2.42GHz and four efficiency cores @1.78GHz.
The Apple A13 has a dual cluster Hexa-core CPU. Where 2x Lightning cores are clocked @2.66 GHz and the remaining 4x Thunder efficiency cores clock speed is unknown. HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G chipset carries a tri-cluster octa-core CPU under the hood. The core structure used on Kirin 990 is slightly older than the 865. But it is comparable to 855 and 855 Plus. It implements 2 x Cortex-A76 cores @2.86GHz, 2x Cortex-A76 cores @2.36GHz and 4x Cortex-A55 power-efficient cores @1.95GHz.
Moreover, Snapdragon 865 utilizes the latest TSMS’ N7P 7nm EUV processing node. Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 855 has an older 7nm node. Apple A13 is manufactured on TSMS 7NM+ and Kirin 990 5G using TSMS 7NM+ EUV. Based on the provided information, we can expect great power efficiently on the latest chipsets. Indeed, all the chipsets packing a very powerful CPU, but Snapdragon 865 has the advantage of updated CPU cores.
The company claims that Snapdragon 865 gets 25% faster CPU performance and 25% better power efficiency. However, Apple A13 looks not so powerfull on paper, but real word usage results are outstanding. Apple has a big advantage to customize the SoC according to their need. While Snapdragon chipsets are being used by various manufacturers, otherwise Qualcomm chipsets are so strong.
Graphics (GPU) Performance
The GPU is the key criteria for gaming lovers as well as those who use video or photo editing apps on their smartphones. The Snapdragon 865 brings the latest Adreno 650 GPU; which according to the company is 20% faster than its predecessor Adreno 640 and 35% greater GPU power efficiency. Apple A13 brings to the own-designed quad-core GPU as we have seen on other Apple chipsets. But the generation gap saw a lot of improvements over the A12 Bionic chip.
Apple claims to deliver a 20% faster speed and 40% excellent power efficiency over the A12’s GPU. Lastly, the Kirin 990 adopts Mali-G76MP16, which is 16 cores GPU. But we were surprised to see why the company didn’t update CPU & GPU hardware. There is no doubt that Adreno 650 is well capable of beating Mali-G76. But it will be interesting to see how it performs against Apple GPU. At the current scenario, we don’t have enough data to compare both GPUs. But we can assume both will give hard competition to each other.
AI is the future of the tech industry and mobile phones have become an integrated part of the tech world. Nowadays, we see the deep implication of Artificial Intelligence in our smartphones to complete different tasks. Qualcomm fully focusing on AI with its latest launch of Snapdragon 865. There is a 5th generation AI engine, which is as much twice powerful than its predecessor.
It is well capable of handling 15 trillion operations / per second with maximum efficiency. The AI engine integrates Qualcomm sensing hub. Which accurately detects the voice always-on contextual awareness for smarter virtual assistants. There are other features included which we have seen on Snapdragon 855 such as real-time translation, scene detection, text recognition, super resolutions in snapshots, face authentication, dual and single-camera bokeh.
Apple A13 incorporates an octa-core Neural Engine to handle AI tasks. It has Deep Fusion technology, which takes four photos before pressing the shutter. While the other 4 when you do and then one long exposure. Then it picks the best shots and combines them all. However, the company didn’t reveal more features of its AI engine. But it is enough to perform different tasks smartly.
The Kirin 990 5G packs three-cores Da Vinci NPU divided into 2 Big + 1 Tiny core. Bigger cores are present for demanding high power tasks. The tiny power efficiently core manages the small AI tasks. Da Vinci NPU can render real-time videos based on the new Real-Time Multi-Instance Segmentation. All in all, Snapdragon 865 brings the way more advanced AI engine.
Before the launch of Snapdragon 865, we were expecting an integrated 5G modem, but it didn’t become reality. The Snapdragon 865 uses the external X55 modem, which is one of the most advanced 5G modems available at present. It supports dual-mode SA/NSA 5G connectivity. It can provide up to 7Gbps download and 3Gbps upload speed on the 5G network. Apart from that, the 5G network range has been greatly improved with the X55 modem. On the other hand, the X50 modem used on Snapdragon 855 series offers 5Gbps upload speed and supports only the Standalone (SA) networking model.
Apple A13 chipset only includes 4G LTE connectivity modem, which could be a drawback for some users, even though 5G hasn’t yet become mainstream in most of the countries. Finally, Kirin 990 5G has the advantage of offering an Integrated Balong 5G modem. It can deliver up to 2.3Gbps download and 1.25Gbps upload speeds under the 5G network. Overall, Snapdragon 865 and Kirin 990 5G implement the latest technologies, while, Apple is still struggling with 4G LTE.
Antutu-Geekbench Benchmarking scores
Indeed, Snapdragon 865 benchmark scores are not yet updated. But recently an unknown Snapdragon chipset was surfaced on Geekbench with codename “KONA”. However, we can’t consider it as final scores because of the testing phase, but good for reference purposes. Suspected Snapdragon 865 powered device managed to score 4,179 points in single-core and 12,915 points for multi-core results at Geekbench.
The Apple A13 Bionic processor scores 5,472 points in single-core and 13,769 points in multi-core results. Snapdragon 855+ has 3,623 points in single-core and 11,365 points in multi-core. Lastly, Kirin 990 5G scores 3,851 points for single-core and 12,638 points for multi-core on Geekbench. Based on the Antutu scores, Apple A13 is the winner and Snapdragon 865 remains on 2nd positions.
Furthermore, Apple A13 scores 4,55,452 points on Antutu V7 results. Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus scores 3,96,813 points. Kirin 990 5G scores 4,62,098 points, but these are obtained using Antutu v8 which isn’t a fair comparison. Apart from that, Snapdragon 865 Antutu scores are not yet available. As soon as we get the data, we will be updating this article.
Final Conclusion – which one is better?
Snapdragon 865 greatly improved in many areas when compared to Snapdragon 855. There are a more powerful CPU and GPU combinations as well as AI features. The company has cleared that they are fully focused on future technologies. Hence, Qualcomm is heavily investing in Artificial Intelligence. When compared to Apple A13, there is no comparison if Apple A13 used on Android devices. Otherwise, it is highly customized for iOS devices. Therefore, it produces great results due to specific optimizations.
Qualcomm is a global leader in the smartphone industry for a reason that it can adapt the environment according to the need of manufacturers. Now, it is a personal choice whether you like iPhone or Android devices, otherwise on paper Snapdragon 865 comprehensively beat the Apple A13 chipset. Lastly, comparing it with Kirin 990 would be unfair. Because Kirin 990 uses older Cortex-A76 cores; Therefore, it will fall behind in multitasking and other CPU tasks for sure.
The Mali-G76 GPU is doing great, but the latest Adreno 650 GPU is more powerful and optimized for different graphics-intensive apps. To be honest, Qualcomm chipset always brings better optimizations and stable experience compared to Kirin chipsets. Most of the app developers also use the Snapdragon framework to design their apps. So we can expect fewer crashes on Snapdragon-powered devices. What are your thoughts? Do let’s know in below comment section!