Looks can be deceiving. And early signs suggest that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor may be struggling to live up to its early hype. The latest of Qualcomm’s ARM-powered chip was claimed to boost performance by 27 per cent with a 40 per cent reduction in power consumption.
However, an early performance review by Anandtech at the firm’s San Diego’s headquarters spat out a mixed bag of results. Testing the chip in a basic smartphone to gauge its performance, Anandtech revealed that the Snapdragon 835 runs slower than its 820/821 predecessors.
Ditching its working model used in the 820 and 810 chips – where Qualcomm based its 64-bit custom designs around its Kryo CPU – Snapdragon 835 did not build on Kryo’s success. While the 835’s CPU is named Kryo 280 it is in fact an ARM design (mostly). Working under a ‘Built on ARM Cortex Technology’ agreement, the chip maker has a contract in place not to share the specifics of Kryo 280 with other customers.
In terms of performance, this means that the 835 is much closer to other ARM designed chips. It has little relationship to its predecessor, and is now much more comparable to other Cortex-based chips, such as Huawei's Kirin 960, which uses the Cortex-A73 design unmodified. Most importantly it has improved some areas, but slowed up others.
Compared to the Snapdragon 821, most integer performances have improved, by up to 60 per cent in some areas. However, certain tasks are running slower on the new processor, particularly those around image processing. The 835's integer performance appears to be a couple of per cent better than Kirin 960/stock Cortex-A73, and 22 per cent over Kryo, on a per-megahertz basis. The new chip is, however, some 23 per cent down on the old one, on a per megahertz basis.
The 835 is in many ways a compromise from Qualcomm. Trading in better floating point performance for better integer performance is useful for tasks such as web browsing and probably worth the sacrifice.