Bleep Qualcomm right in their Qualcomm-hole


That’s cool. But even in this case, Javascript makes for an awkward platform for benchmarks. Especially when it’s a platform like iOS where we have absolutely no visibility into the system.

  1. The micro-architectural changes in A11 are all general purpose, but happen to be far more effective for Javascript code (as executed by JSC)
  2. There are actual changes to the ISA which JSC is able to take advantage of on A11 due to being a JIT, while natively compiled programs aren’t.
  3. As a more extreme variant of the previous, those could even be instructions specifically designed for Javascript. For example, maybe they added architectural support for NaN-boxing? I don’t think we’ve had explicit tagged pointer instructions since 32-bit Sparc; they’re due for a comeback.
  4. There are differences in software: we can’t know if they’re actually running the same code even with both phones updated to the latest iOS. Maybe the last year’s worth of Javascript performance changes are only enabled for iPhone 8. Maybe for cynical marketing reasons, maybe for solid technical ones.

(I think it’s probably the third option. Apple have a unique level of integration. They absolutely should be taking advantage of it by having the hardware provide exactly what the software people need. Meanwhile Intel just gives us yet another batch of AVX instructions with limited use cases, and which we have to wait 5 years to actually be commonly deployed.)


Here’s the Snapdragon 835. Spoiler alert: still shitty.



When I was going through one of the India airports, there was a huge Android phone billboard with a Qualcomm Snapdragon logo at the lower left. I was gonna take a picture of me giving it the finger just for you guys, but I didn’t have time. So just imagine that in your mind grapes and … enjoy.


Not particularly surprised there.

What’s the actual page load times? Those can’t be actual load times because my S6 (the horrors!!!) is faster than that 835 time.


Reasonable summary of the issue here:

I’ll TL;DR it for you:

  1. Apple started on 64-bit way earlier than everyone else, delivering 64-bit ARM in 2013.

  2. Apple’s integrated pipeline lets them deliver SoCs faster because they are tightly coupled to Apple’s device release schedule.

  3. Apple’s CPUs are big, twice the size of other mobile SoCs. Since Apple sells phones, not chips, they can get away with this extra cost.

  4. Apple’s CPUs have huge L2 and L3 caches which goes back to point #3, size.

  5. Apple chose wide pipelines and lower clock speeds.

Not mentioned, but should have been, is the way that Apple didn’t give a fuck about “moar c0res” but built faster cores, which leads to significantly better real world performance. Other than that, it’s a credible list and it seems correct at first read. However…

The “it’s expensive to build a large mobile SoC” argument is logical in terms of Qualcomm selling CPUs, but let me ask you this, then: why is the Samsung Galaxy S8 the same price as the iPhone 8?

I think it’s totally defensible to have a OnePlus 3 or OnePlus 5 situation where the unlocked device is hundreds of dollars cheaper than an iPhone, and performs a bit worse, but the value is still there because the cost is more in-line with a less premium device. But the Galaxy S8 and other leading “big manufacturer” android handsets are not meaningfully cheaper than an iPhone, which means this “let’s save costs on the SoC” argument falls flat.


Numbers 3 and 5 ring true. Didn’t realize Apple’s SoCs were larger dies than Quallcomm’s.


You could infer that from the cache sizes, which are indeed Very Large.


Well you can sacrifice other stuff like memory pipelines to fit cache. But yeah it does imply a large die.

Qualcomm just has different priorities than Apple. Their poor single threaded performance certainly hasn’t hurt them in the marketplace! But it could have, if a credible competitor appeared.


The other option is

Hey, how about instead of 8 craptacular cores, we build 4 decent cores in the same exact space?

But nahh fuck that noise, 8 craptacular cores FTW


There’s a few separate holes in this observation.

First, the real-world cost paid by the customer for Galaxy S8 vs. iPhone 8 absolutely is meaningfully cheaper. You rarely see significant deviation from iPhone MSRPs, but it’s trivial to find $150-off-with-no-strings purchase offers on Samsung devices, or buy-one-get-one-free when switching two lines.

Second, the price advantage increases further if you want more than 64GB of storage. Personally, I think 128GB is the current sweet spot for my next phone purchase. On Android, this is either the base-model standard, or a $40 microSD card away, rather than a $150 upgrade.

Third, if you want to look at roughly equivalent models, the S8 (5.8" screen) is much closer to the iPhone 8+ (5.5") than it is to the base model (4.7"). That adds another $100 to any like-for-like comparison.

Finally, as impressive as Apple’s SoC advantage is, it isn’t the only component in the phone. As I think you’ve mentioned yourself, the iPhone 8 might as well be the 6sss; much of the rest of the design is several generations old. The screens are the biggest difference when looking at them side by side – 1334x750 resolution LCD with chunky bezels vs. 2960x1440 edge-to-edge OLED. The iPhone X catches up to the 2017 state-of-the-art in smartphone design, but obviously that further torpedoes any hope of price equivalence.


Maybe on older Samsung devices, but then an older iPhone 6s is going to absolutely destroy every single flagship Android device ever released in terms of performance. That is how far ahead Apple is; their 2015 device still demolishes all late 2017 flagship Android devices. This is fucking crazy.

Per the DisplayMate tests and data, Apple LCDs are still exceptionally good, so this isn’t a credible complaint. As for design, yes, the top forehead and bottom chins could be tightened up a bit, but as you have seen, “edge to edge” is a lie on every device. There is always a camera cutout of some kind, or smaller forehead / chins.

In general I agree there is more choice of options on Android but price wise Android flagships are not half the price of the iPhone 7, and that is what they would roughly need to be to have proportional cost to performance value. Forget about even getting close to the iPhone 8 in perf, that’s not even a possibility until the future craptacular Snapdragon 845 is released much later in 2018…


Anecedotally, I got my S8+ for ~$300 from Buy 2 for the price of 1 for any T-Mobile account, no new account or contract required, shipped direct from Samsung themselves. Promotion was running for a few weeks at least and they’ve had others. You never get anything close to this with Apple.

(Even if I hadn’t been able to sell the second phone for a good amount, it would have been half retail price.)

I wonder if Samsung was subsidizing the S8+ after their battery mishap? They went for 400 something retail at BestBuy for awhile too.


If you can get an Android (unlocked?) flagship for $300 that is an excellent price, it will be one third the performance of an iPhone 8, so that’s proportionate at least.


It’s not unlocked but I chose my carrier when I purchased it, which I think is the same for any phone bought retail?

(I believe T-Mobile will unlock any phone after you use it for a month but I bought it for the network anyway)


Is it one third the performace? On that Chrome benchmark it’s 12k vesus 18k, or about 50%?


If you were going to disbelieve anything that doesn’t fit your preconceptions, you could have just replied “FAKE NEWS” and saved us both some time.

Anyway, here’s 5 minutes worth of searching for deals on 2017 Android devices:



As far as I saw when putting checking stores just now, all the substantial deals on iPhones require either trading in a relatively new phone or having a DirecTV subscription for 24 months, so they’re not really comparable.

I use both an iPhone 6s and a Galaxy Note 5 every day. The iPhone display is perfectly fine, but noticeably worse in sharpness and vibrancy when directly compared. As far as I’m aware, they’ve tweaked the brightness and color accuracy for the 7 and 8, but the resolution is the same, so it would still be a downgrade. That’s how far behind Apple is; the 2017 Samsung device still demolishes the late 2017 iPhone 8

Yes, yes, nobody’s gotten rid of the top and bottom completely, but we’re talking 83% vs. 65% screen-to-body ratio. That’s not a trivial difference – it’s double the proportion of bezel taking away from usable screen space.

And iPhone 8 is not one quarter the price of the Galaxy S8, and that is what it would roughly need to be to have proportional cost to resolution value. 6,089 pixels per dollar vs. only 1,429. Sad!


Try a modern web benchmark like we have a dedicated topic for it.

@thraeg it seems like some of your personal manhood is tied up in your dedication to Android. It is not a good look. I’m dealing with this because my business depends on good JS performance, but you have no such excuse.


Go on a tedious and quixotic crusade, ignore inconvenient facts while refusing to concede the smallest point, and then jump to personal attacks when called on your bullshit. Nice.

Anyway, sorry you founded your business under faulty assumptions. Hopefully you can find a way to pull through somehow.

(For the record, Discourse performs great on both my phones, so you’ve successfully solved the age-old intractable computing problem of how to display text and images without a supercomputer. I guess you really did change the course of history.)


Sigh. OK, let’s examine this.

They don’t have a 6s rating, sadly, only the 6… so I’ll pick the iPhone 7.

It says

iPhone 7 Display has Top Performance Across the Board

As we list in detail in the Lab Measurements Comparison Table section below, the iPhone 7 delivers uniformly consistent all around Top Tier display performance: one of a small number of displays to ever to get all Green (Very Good to Excellent) Ratings in all test and measurement categories (except for Brightness variation with Viewing Angle, which is the case for all LCDs) since we started the Display Technology Shoot-Out article Series in 2006, an impressive achievement for a display.

How does that rate in your “inconvenient facts” category, there, @thraeg? I’m definitely aware OLEDs are good, but only recently have they gotten very good versus LCDs. And the Note 5 is an old device, from mid-2015. So yeah, I’m calling your bullshit with data. Again.

I’m not against higher resolution, but aside from e-peen measuring, I’m unclear what the practical advantages of 500+ DPI are on a mobile device. Outside of VR, where it definitely would matter since you strap the thing about 2 inches in front of your eyes.

Gift cards? Seriously? I believe you when you say that there are more deals possible on Android devices because there are simply more vendors, whereas Apple is just a single vendor.

I care about Qualcomm performance because I literally have millions of dollars of capitalization riding on it. And it’s obvious to anyone who puts eyes on a fraction of the data that Qualcomm is woefully behind in performance, and needs many public swift kicks in the ass to move things forward.

So, @thraeg, why do you care so much about this, exactly, such that you’re compelled to dig up all this random nonsense and fight the good fight on behalf of poor old Qualcomm and the glorious Android fatherland?


You mean this data?

Overall Galaxy Note 5 Display Grade is Excellent A
The Best Performing Smartphone Display that we have ever tested.
The Galaxy Note 5 display delivers excellent image quality, has both Color Accurate and Wide Color Gamut Vivid Color modes, has high Screen Brightness and low Reflectance, has good Viewing Angles, and is an all around top performing Smartphone display.

I’m not disputing that Apple does a great job with their displays in a number of categories. But I personally notice individual pixels and edges on the 6s, particularly when reading text, so given the choice I would prioritize substantially higher resolution over a fractional improvement in absolute color accuracy. Even the site you linked cites “But only 1 mega pixel” as a negative for the iPhone 7.

Again, it’s visibly sharper and individual pixels aren’t visible. Maybe my eyes are a bit better than average, but I clearly notice the difference at normal reading distances. I agree that 500+ may be overkill, and there’s probably a happy medium somewhere in between after which I can’t notice the difference.

My statement was obviously facetious, but it’s no more ridiculous than expecting the price of a phone to be proportional to the speed of one component within it. What matters is the experience of the package as a whole.

Seriously? That’s your takeaway? A gift card at a place you were going to spend money anyway is as good as cash. And there were plenty of actual cash discounts in the list as well.

And you’re missing the point – it’s not that there are more deals because there are more vendors, but a deliberately different strategy. Apple jealously guards its MSRP; Samsung sets an equivalent MSRP to anchor the product’s perceived value, and then encourages aggressive discounting. I’m not saying this is a moral issue or Samsung is a good guy looking out for the customer – they both just want our cash – but all else being equal, I’d rather save the money. And if you’re going to make the claim that Android phones aren’t meaningfully cheaper, then you’re wrong unless you’re looking at the bottom-line price people actually pay. If I wanted to buy a large phone with at least 128GB storage, the comparison would be ~$600 for a discounted S8 and an SD card, vs. $950 for an iPhone 8+ with upgraded storage.

Eh, you’re probably right – I should have learned by now that engaging with you in these threads is like wrestling a pig. I don’t give a shit about Qualcomm per se, and I don’t pay much ongoing attention to Android other than what filters into general tech news, and research when it’s time for a new phone. But for whatever reason, your combination of smug condescension and myopic obsession grated enough to not let the bullshit pass unchallenged. And for a while it was an entertaining conversation.

What I don’t understand is why the best way to protect your millions of dollars of capitalization is to rant at random nerds on a gaming forum about it. Surely the CEO of Qualcomm is familiar with your Wikipedia entry, and would be honored to take a meeting with you so you could tell him how he’s doing his job wrong and destroying the entire future of the Internet.