Final Words

In light of everything, it seems that Snapdragon 810 was not as the rumors claimed. In my experience, I didn’t notice any of the development devices getting hotter than what I’d come to expect from a modern SoC. In most cases, it appears that CPU performance is about what we’d expect from a cluster of four Cortex A57s at 2 GHz, although there are a few anomalous results that could be a concern. If anything, it’s clear that the CPU isn’t really an area of weakness on the Snapdragon 810, especially with all of the work that Qualcomm has done for an energy aware scheduler to maximize the performance and efficiency of their big.LITTLE implementation.

Outside of the CPU, it’s evident that Qualcomm will retain their traditional lead in the modem and RF space, as OEMs will continue to adopt parts of RF360 along with Qualcomm modems and transceivers to ensure maximum performance on flagship smartphones and other high-end mobile devices. I don’t believe any other company will really be able to beat Qualcomm in this space, as they strongly emphasized just how well-validated their modems are and the extent to which they implement standards properly to work with operators around the world without issue.

While my time with the Snapdragon 810 hasn’t revealed any significant issues, the real concern here seems to be more along the lines of the GPU performance. While ALU performance and compute performance in general are significantly improved with the Adreno 430, the performance uplift doesn’t really seem to be as large as one might hope. Although Qualcomm is trying to sell the idea of a 4K tablet with the Snapdragon 810, it feels as if it’s too early to try and drive such high resolutions when the GPU can’t handle it. In order to see an appreciable increase in performance this year, it’s likely that OEMs will need to stay with 1080p or at most QHD display resolutions to really deliver improved graphics performance for gaming and other GPU intensive use cases.

As we’ve mentioned before, it seemed that Qualcomm stumbled a bit with the launch of Apple’s A7 SoC. While it seemed that Snapdragon 810 might have relatively little competitive advantage over other SoCs, in the past few months it’s become clear that Qualcomm has been leveraging their strengths to ensure that they remain a strong choice for SoCs this year. Although the GPU and memory subsystem appear to be a bit weak, overall 2015 remains promising for Android flagships, even if an OEM can’t design their own SoC.

GPU Performance
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  • twizzlebizzle22 - Thursday, February 12, 2015 - link

    The speed on modern/flagship SoCs are phenomenal. The right implementation and power savings are what I'm focussed on this year.
  • ddriver - Thursday, February 12, 2015 - link

    Either there is a typo in the "PNG Comp ST" test, or Exynos 5433 is ~1000 times faster than the competition...
  • MrCommunistGen - Thursday, February 12, 2015 - link

    Probably a comma instead of a decimal point. You'll see that the Multithreaded PNG score for the Exynos 5433 is roughly in line with the other SoCs and much "lower" than the Single Threaded score.
  • Mondozai - Thursday, February 12, 2015 - link

    "The speed on modern/flagship SoCs are phenomenal."

    Yes, but not this chip. It's going to be Qualcomm's main chip in 2015, it's still getting beaten by year old tech. Then again, the OEMs want a "total solution" and while Nvidia is crushing them in the GPU benchmarks, Nvidia still doesn't have a good integrated LTE solution, for example.

    Nevertheless, GPU power matters. This SoC will struggle with 4K and its supposed to be the high-end. Disappointing.
  • Makaveli - Thursday, February 12, 2015 - link

    Does 4k really matter that much on a 5' display?
  • fokka - Thursday, February 12, 2015 - link

    i say no, but sadly that is where the market will go, especially onphablets and tablets. there already are rumours about an lg g4 with a 1800p screen and as we see on qualcomm's reference platform, i'm pretty sure we'll see some 4k tablets enter the market pretty soon.
  • Frenetic Pony - Friday, February 13, 2015 - link

    Then don't buy their bullshit, that's easy enough. Anything beyond 1080 for subs 6" is ridiculous and wasteful.
  • Uplink10 - Friday, February 13, 2015 - link

    I think anything beyond HD for a smartphone is worthless, difference is not worth the price and energy. Do people need 4K, FullHD, QHD screens because they edit photos and videos on their smartphone which we then see in the cinemas?
  • xnay - Saturday, February 14, 2015 - link

    I totally agree with you. And I'm waiting impatiently for the new HTC M9 because it's said to be using 1080p display.
  • Laststop311 - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    Im with you. I wish they woul stick to standard full HD and focus on improving reflectance of outside light to a lower percentage (better performance in this area is critical it allows easier viewing in sunlight without having to crank the brightness up and use more power), Luminance per watt for either brighter screen or same brightness but less power (which is easily possible if they quit using smaller pixels that block more of the backlight), better color accuracy and gamma with even a higher bit screen to display more color while keeping accuracy high. Pre calibrated with professional tools at the factory the way dell does with their high end u3014.

    Almost 100% of people I know would trade a couple extra hours of battery life to have less pixels. Less pixels = less power used by gpu, lower power backlight needed, less heat from backlight generated, smaller backlight needed (can make phone a bit thinner), more responsive phone when scrolling less pixels have to be renedered for the scroll animation so it's smoother and faster and uses less energy. And there isn't really a downside. You would have to have super human eagle eyes to see this difference between 1080 RGB strip and 1440 RGB stripe. Many more benefits sticking with 1080. Anything higher is utterly ridiculous for a 5-6 inch phone.

    I could honestly get by with 1280 x 720 or 1366 x x756 or whatever it is. I loved the screen on my 5.5" galaxy note 2 with RGB stripe 1280x720 AMOLED. Everything looked plenty crisp and switching to the note 4 sure things do look a bit more crisp but just imagine the battery life saved if it was 1280x720. Bet hours would be added to it.

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