iPhone 14 Pro’s A15 Bionic may have a worthy new opponent

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip betters A15 Bionic by spec – but will that matter in the real world?

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
(Image credit: Qualcomm)

It was mere weeks ago that we reported on Apple's M2 processor having a rumoured Qualcomm rival coming down the tracks. Now, the American chip-maker has officially revealed its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform for mobile – which could be seen as a clear opponent to the A15 Bionic as found in the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Apple has staggered the power structure of its recent flagship phones: the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus feature the generation-older A14 Bionic processor on board, while the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max bring the A15 Bionic. Either way, neither of those are as powerful as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform. 

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Not that you'll find this Qualcomm chip in Apple's phones (the exception being 5G modems, of course). As is increasingly common, big brands are going in-house and maintaining control of their own chipsets: Google has Tensor; Samsung has Exynos; while Android's presence of MediaTek and Qualcomm chips gives the platform's phone-makers a wide range of power options.

So that's good news for those who are fans of the best Android phones, such as the rumoured forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S23. But while Apple's A15 Bionic may be a whisker less powerful when it comes to graphics, given Qualcomm's Adreno GPU, there's a lot to be said for Apple's end-to-end ecosystem and software in delivering the experience users want.

Key specs of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 include a 3.2GHz prime core, complemented by a trio of 2.8GHz performance cores and four 2.0GHz efficiency cores as part of its Kryo CPU. There's a big push towards enhanced artificial intelligence (AI), with a suite of systems able to auto-recognise and activate contextually, plus power-saving efficiencies. In the right hands this chipset is a clear rival to Apple's current best-on-market, although the iPhone 15 is expected to raise the bar once more in late 2023.

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor and AV Editor at T3.com. He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone products (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech aficionado his beat for T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a stone unturned that he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for a 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.