Each year a there is a common trend of Huawei owned Hisilicon announcing their flagship system on chip then Qualcomm to launch theirs a few months later which then beats it. While there is only a 3-month difference between announcements Huawei launch their flagship Mate series device in October while Qualcomm based devices don't come out until March almost 5 months after. So half the year is spent saying the Qualcomm is better than the Kirin then vice versa.

So it comes as no surprise that the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 benchmarks indicate that it is better than the Kirin 980 in several banchmarking apps as well as all the other chips before it including the Exynos 9810 and Snapdragon 845.

Several publications were able to get access to the Qualcomm SD855 Reference Device (QRD) during CES last week and many of them got to benchmark the device. So the following results are not a real-world device but assuming Qualcomm hasn't been up to any funny business it should represent what you will see in coming devices this year.

AnTuTu

This test was carried out by Android Authority where a direct comparison was made against the Kirin 980 and the current Mate 20 series dominates the top of their charts with the RoG Phone and OnePlus 6T in fourth and fifth spot.

AnTuTu tests all aspects of the phone and uses three scores for its final mark, one for CPU, another for UX which represents user experience and a third for 3D which represents the graphics capabilities.

The Reference Device which uses the new Adreno 640 GPU scored 360,444 — 17 per cent over the Huawei Mate 20 and 44 per cent faster than the Exynos 9810 in the S9 Plus.

Looking at the individual results reveals where it dominates though, the CPU score is only 5% ahead of the Kirin 980 but the GPU score is 156356 compared to 110372 which is a 41% improvement.

GFXBench

Both Android Authority and Anandtech did tests using GFXBench with Anandtech having the most details results. There are too many to mention here but the Manhattan 3.1 Offscreen test shows a 30% improvement over the Huawei Mate 20 Pro (Kirin 980) though it is still third behind the Apple XS using the A12.

Similarly, in the T-Rex Offscreen test, the results show a 23% improvement over the Huawei Mate 20 Pro (Kirin 980) but still behind the Apple XS.

Perhaps the most significant results of this test was not its raw performance but its power efficiency, which its average power use being one of the lowerest of any flagship chip, only beaten marginally by the iPhone XS (A12) on the Manhattan test.

According to Anandtech the Snapdragon 855 is posting a ~30% efficiency boost over the Snapdragon 845, all while slightly improving performance.

Geekbench

Android Authority did some Geekbench but did not compare to the 980. According to GSMArena the Huawei Mate 20 Pro scores 3291 for single-core and 9793 for multi-core.

For the Single core test, the Qualcomm Reference device scored 3518. A 46% leap over the Snapdragon 845, and 6% faster than the Exynos 9810 and just shy of 7% improvement over the Kirin 980

The Snapdragon 855 in the QRD scored 11178, 26% faster than the Snapdragon 845, 29% faster than the Exynos 9810 and 14% faster than the Kirin 980.

Conclusion

Overall, unsurprisingly the Snapdragon 855 beats all other chips before it that are available on Android, and the cycle continues.

For me, the raw performance of a phone is rarely a concern nowadays, for the vast majority of users no one is going to notice the difference between the performance of the Snapdragon 855 compared to the Kirin 980. The most promising feature of the Snapdragon 855 is the power efficiency improvements, while phone batteries are increasing in size, and phones are comfortably lasting a full day, any improvement made here is welcome.