Smartphones are getting ridiculously powerful. To put things in perspective, the same Snapdragon 835 chipset that powered the majority of flagship Android devices in 2017 will also be powering laptops and tablets running full Windows 10 in 2018. Now, the Snapdragon 845 is getting ready to hit the market, and benchmarks have finally landed.

This week, Qualcomm sent out Android devices to a select few members of the media to do some initial testing on its latest processor, the Snapdragon 845. This new chipset, set to make its debut in a smartphone this month, has been shown off before, but all we had to go on at the time were the specs on paper.

Now, thanks to a handful of benchmarks and other tests, we know a bit more. Android Police took a look at the demo device, with benchmarks laid out comparing the 845 to 2017’s Snapdragon 835-powered Pixel 2, OnePlus 5T, and Galaxy S8.

Qualcomm’s demo devices run on top of Android Oreo with 6GB of RAM alongside the Snapdragon 845 at the center. Typical benchmarking apps such as GeekBench, AnTuTu, and 3DMark were run on this device alongside several others, and the results speak for themselves. Generally speaking, there’s a huge boost in performance on this new chipset, as there obviously should be. Head over to Android Police’s post for a more in-depth breakdown of those results.

Anandtech further looked at the Snapdragon 845, this time with a more in-depth look at its graphics capabilities. The Adreno 630 that comes alongside of the Snapdragon 845 is, simply put, a powerhouse. In testing, the outlet discovered that, based on graphics alone, the Snapdragon 845’s Adreno 630 even catches up (mostly) with Apple’s A11 Bionic chipset, which blew every other Android device out of the water when it debuted (and still, unfortunately, does).

But none of the tests matter…

The important thing that needs to be noted in all of this, however, is that the tests don’t really matter. Benchmarks are a good way to give us a general idea of how powerful these processors are, but they don’t tell the whole story.

In this instance, this is especially true. Every benchmark you’ll find on a Snapdragon 845 right now is on reference hardware. This means a lot, as this hardware is designed solely for the purpose of testing and benchmarking. This isn’t a phone someone will use in day-to-day life, and it doesn’t have the software and hardware that consumer devices have.

For example, some of last year’s smartphones, such as the LG G6, arrived with a heat pipe to help dissipate the heat from the CPU to prevent throttling. Others didn’t, and many devices relied on other methods to do the same thing.

This reference device from Qualcomm doesn’t have any of that, because it doesn’t need to. What I’m trying to say is that while, yes, the results we’re seeing today are impressive and spell out a great future for this year’s Android devices, they don’t mean anything yet.

Samsung will apparently be the first with a consumer-ready smartphone with a Snapdragon 845 in the Galaxy S9. That will be Qualcomm’s true proving ground.

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Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

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