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Two of the most important chip makers in the mobile world are Apple and Qualcomm. Apple has excelled at building its own A “system on a chip” (SoC) for its iPads and iPhones, while Qualcomm has managed to power nearly every “high-end” Android smartphones with its Snapdragon series of chips.

Today we’re going to compare the Apple A9 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, in order to see which one comes with better specifications.


Apple has moved to the 64bit mobile chips starting with its iPhone 5s back in 2013. In order to get to a 64bit architecture, Qualcomm had to shelve its custom cores in the Snapdragon 810 and adopted “off-the-shelf” cores from ARM, the quad-core Cortex A53 and quad-core Cortex A57.

However, now Qualcomm has returned to its own 64bit custom-built CPU cores, Kryo. The Snapdragon 820 comes with a quad-core design, clocked at 2.2GHz. According to Qualcomm, the new Kryo cores are as twice as fast as the cores found on the Snapdragon 810 and consume 30% less energy.

Apple has worked with two different chip manufacturers to build the A9: Samsung and TSMC. TSMC has made the chip using the 16 nanometer process, while the Samsung opted for the 14nm process. However, it seems that dual-sourcing the A9 led to some minor differences in performances, as third-party benchmark tests showed that the TSMC-built A9 chips gave the iPhone 6s devices up to two hours more battery power than the A9 chips that were manufactured by Samsung.


4K resolution has finally made its wait to the mobile devices. We remind you that since Qualcomm has released its Snapdragon 810, its chip had the ability to stream and capture at 4K resolution. The new Snapdragon 820 is using Adreno 530, which is Qualcomm’s graphics processing unit. According to Qualcomm, the Adreno 530 GPU will be 40% faster and it will consume 40% less power than the Adreno 430 found on the Snapdragon 810 chipset. In addition, the new Adreno 530 supports 4K video resolution at 60 FPS.

LTE Modem

One of the most important technologies that Qualcomm has brought is the advanced LTE cellular modems. This allowed Qualcomm to become such an important company in the mobile world. In addition, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are using Qualcomm’s MDM9625M Baseband Processor, which allows the devices to download at a maximum speed of 3000 Mbps and upload at a maximum speed of 50Mbps, which is double than the maximum speed supported by the modem inside the iPhone 6.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 comes with an X12 modem, which allows the device to download at a maximum speed of 6000 Mbps and upload at a maximum speed of 150Mbps. In addition, the Wi-Fi radio is supporting Wi-Fi calls and it’s able to connect between the Wi-Fi and cellular networks or even aggregate LTE and Wi-Fi radios to boost the overall data speed.