NVIDIA’s marketing department is desperately trying to convince the world that their quad core Tegra 3 chip is the pinnacle of human achievement. The thing is, it isn’t. The Tegra 3 uses four ARM Cortex A9 chips. Qualcomm’s new S4 Snapdragon on the other hand uses a pair of custom made Krait cores that deliver performance somewhere between ARM’s Cortex A9 and ARM’s next generation Cortex A15. While on the subject of the A15, don’t expect to see that inside any smartphones or tablets until 2013. But back to the Snapdragon S4, why is it important? Because it’s going to power a majority of the Android hero phones that’ll be launched in North America this year. Why? Because it comes with a 4G LTE modem built-in, something that NVIDIA isn’t going to be able to match until their next generation Tegra. How does a dual core S4 perform compared to a quad core Tegra 3? Thanks to Android Central forum member “phonegeek”, we know that it’ll probably smoke everything that’s currently on the market. Looking at the Vellamo Mobile Web Benchmark, the S4 inside the HTC One XL is easily about 150% faster the Tegra 3 inside the Transformer Prime.
The real test will come when professional reviewers like the folks at AnandTech get their hands on the global HTC One X and the American One XL. They’re the same phone on the outside, but on the inside they couldn’t be more different. Europeans and Asians will get the Tegra 3 packing One X, while Americans are going to get the dual core S4 variant that has 4G LTE connectivity. Usually it’s European smartphones that get crippled when they make their way across the pond, now it looks to be the other way around.
This author, based out of Finland, hopes this isn’t a sign of things to come!