This week Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The week before MediaTek announced its Dimensity 9200. And, of course, Apple’s iPhone 14 series came out recently, but only the Pros got the new chipset. The next generation flagship chips are ready to prove their mettle in benchmarks – but do flagship chipsets even matter ?
After years of impressive improvements smartphone chipsets are showing no signs of slowing down. Right now ray tracing support is becoming standard on high-end GPUs and the AI accelerators are improving by leaps and bounds. CPU efficiency is going up too. However, picking the right semiconductor node has proven vital in how well a chip will actually perform. Sometimes newer also means hotter (in a bad way).
A flagship chip remains competitive for years to come. The Snapdragon 865, which morphed into the 870, stuck around longer than most smartphone chips. And why shouldn’t it, it’s fast and efficient. The GPU is one of the components that ages the slowest on a flagship chip as mid-range GPUs are often quite under-powered. So, some think that getting a flagship chip from a year or two ago is a better deal, now that all the price premium has disappeared while performance is still on the level.
There is a special case that we should mention – gaming phones. For those peak performance is a key part of their identity. There have been some lower cost offerings that use an older chip (e.g. the Snapdragon 870 mentioned above), but for the most part the latest gaming phones pack the latest flagship chipset, even if it means cutting corners on the camera setup.
Then there are those who say “whatever, as long as the camera shutter lag isn’t too bad”. You don’t need a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 or a Dimensity 9200 to scroll through an app drawer or Facebook, a mid-range chip will handle that just as well. And if it can cover your camera and connectivity needs, there’s no need to pay extra for a potentially power-hungry flagship chip.
Where do you stand on this topic – is the latest and greatest chipset a must-have for you? Vote below or if that doesn’t work you can use this page.