Snapdragon 8s Gen 3: is it better than 8 Gen 3, what’s the difference?

The newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 launched in March, and phones sporting the chip are now starting to come out. But what is it — an upgrade to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, or a different beast?

Well, as it happens, the “s” moniker here does not signify a more powerful version. But, in fact, a more budget variant for the “affordable flagships” out there, or the more obscure gaming phones.
OK, fine, where does it stand? We’ve already started reviewing phones with the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 here in the office. Those being the Honor 200 Pro and Motorola Edge 50 Ultra. The benchmarks are out, but the results won’t give us much unless we put them in context.

So, let’s track some scores compared to a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. We picked results from OnePlus phones — they seem like a good middle-of-the-road choice. Samsung phones have that “For Galaxy” tuning, and ROG Phones have superb thermal control inside. But, feel free to use the drop-down menu below the table to add any phone of your choice to compare to.

The phones and processors in the list are as follows:

So, the numbers don’t lie — in CPU power, the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 is somewhere between 8 Gen 3 and 8 Gen 2, regrettably closer to the latter. When 3D testing kicks in, it falls below the 8 Gen 2’s power. However, it’s worth taking a look at the 3DMark Highest and Lowest scores — this is a test designed to stress the phone and force it to throttle.

Since the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 doesn’t have that much headroom, it also does not lose much steam when throttling down — not comparatively. The more powerful processors kick off with much higher scores, but also shave off a lot when throttling.

What is the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 made for?

As we’ve already seen from the Motorola Edge 50 Ultra — it’s a perfect choice for more budget-friendly flagships. It won’t wow you with incredible peak power, but it’s stable and solid throughout, and definitely offers an upper-tier punch.

It could be the better choice instead of buying an old flagship with a Gen 2 or Gen 1 in it — it’s been updated to more modern perks like LPDDR5X, Wi-Fi 7 support. Where Qualcomm didn’t cut corners is AI capabilities — with the same NPU features to play with the big boys, the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 is meant to bring AI features to budget phones.

Well… that’s potentially there — depends on how manufacturers straddle it. The upgrades are honestly minor, but they can still give modern budget phones slightly more headroom, a bit of an advantage over a flagship from yesteryear (or two).

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