Choosing a processor for a smartphone or tablet

When choosing a smartphone or tablet, the question of its performance often arises. We want to get a high-quality device that does not slow down and does not give up even before new games. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about mobile processors, as well as learn how not to fall for the tricks of marketers.


The ad headlines are full of inscriptions about 4 cores in the budget model itself, sellers convince of high performance, but in fact the device slows down. Quite an unpleasant situation isn’t it? How can 2/4 cores at more than 1 GHz not scroll smoothly through the contacts menu? The point is that we evaluate these processors by the standards of their large desktop counterparts, forgetting that their heat dissipation and power consumption are very limited. The material below will detail individual characteristics in mobile SoCs.

SoC system on a chip. In mobile devices, all “hardware is housed within a single integrated circuit to optimize power consumption and heat dissipation, and simplify placement.”

Analysis of characteristics

Architectures and kernels

How to choose?


There are many manufacturers in the SoC market. Below you can explore the table with the main manufacturers of processors for mobile devices.

Mobile SoC ManufacturersManufacturerArchitectureGraphic AcceleratorsRepresentatives

Apple * ARM PowerVR A8, A9X
Qualcomm ARM Adreno Snapdragon 810, Snapdragon 615
MediaTek ARM Mali, PowerVR MTK6795 (Helio X10), MTK6755 (Helio P10)
Samsung ARM Mali, PowerVR Exynos 7420, Exynos 5433
Huawei * ARM Mali Kirin 950, Kirin 650
NVIDIA ARM GeForce Tegra 4, Tegra K1
Intel X86 HD Graphics, PowerVR, Mali Atom x7-Z8700, Atom x3-C3445

* marked manufacturers who use their processors only in their own products.

It should be noted in advance that the video accelerator for a certain SoC model is always the same.

If you want to know better about the marking of Intel Atom processors, then you are here.

Different manufacturers have specific technologies that can help you choose one of the manufacturers.

Performance comparison

The same manufacturer may have processors from a different segment, which may have different performance.
As a rule, special synthetic benchmark tests are often used to measure performance and compare it.
We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the results in such programs:

  • Geekbench 3 (CPU)
  • 3D Mark (GPU)
  • AnTuTu (comprehensive test)

It is desirable to have the results of not just this processor, but the results of this smartphone / tablet, since different models may have different quality cooling (imagine, it is passive there), which can affect stability.


It makes sense to think about buying a smartphone with a newer processor (new generation), since they often improve the architecture, process technology, graphics core and new chips appear with the same market position.

Underwater rocks

Not everything is as good and simple as it seems. Below are the aspects to which you need to pay attention, since they can be invisible, but at the same time very important.

  1. Even if your model has a lot of RAM (> 3 GB) you may have problems with the applications. This means that applications will often be unloaded from memory, and when you select it in the task manager, it will be re-enabled. In this case, it turns out that all this huge volume is idle. We advise you to inquire about such problems in advance.
  2. We also advise you to learn from the stability of the smartphone / tablet and its heating level. It depends both on the crystal itself and on the cooling of the gadget. The thing is that at high temperatures the processor starts dropping frequencies to save it, otherwise there is a possibility of overheating. Because of this, performance drops. This is called throttling.
  3. We also advise you to look at the tests for autonomy, in some models it may be better due to the software part, which can compensate for a smaller battery.


We hope that our article helped you in choosing a gadget. If something is not clear, you found an error, you want to add or just thank you, then you can write a comment, we will be very pleased.

Also in the comments you can write the model of your smartphone / tablet and the processor that is in it.

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