You told us: The efficiency vs horsepower debate has one clear winner

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus 5G AnTuTu Benchmark

Modern smartphones need an equal helping of efficiency and power. Most chips from Qualcomm, MediaTek, and others accomplish this to different degrees, whether they’re flagship gaming SoCs or affordable processors for budget phones. But if you absolutely had to choose just one trait, would you want more horsepower or improved efficiency?

We posed this question to our readers in a recent poll, and the results are in!

Do you value efficiency or horsepower in your phone’s processor?

Results

We saw just under 1,400 votes on this poll published on September 17. The clear winner, with more than 69% of the vote, was “efficiency.” Just over 30% of the vote went to “horsepower,” or raw processing power.

See also: Everything you need to know about smartphone chipsets

It may be a somewhat surprising result for the obsessive benchmarkers and regular gamers out there. Although efficiency and power aren’t mutually exclusive — and we did stress this in our initial poll post — more users would instead take a more efficient chipset over a purely powerful one. This logic is largely understandable. If chipset makers focus purely on processing power, heat management and battery life issues may arise. Raw power isn’t needed to accomplish basic tasks, like sending a text or streaming music, either.

Arguably, smartphone processing power has reached a point where the average end-user may not notice gains. However, improvements to efficiency, especially as battery technology hasn’t seen marked advancements, are much more apparent. Of course, different users require different solutions. Peruse some readers’ comments below.

Your comments

  • Crericper: Efficency is more important. However, that said, I wish if we could have two modes that one aims for efficiency in which disables or reduces the performance of the cores, the other aims for the maximum performance in which maximize or even overclocks the cores. The efficiency mode is obviously for everyday usages so our phones last longer. The performance mode is gaming for me to run very demanding games. They might not exist now, but if you plan to use your phone long enough, they will appear. e.g. Sky & Genshin can still run on an SD835 after 4 years.
  • needa: Seems like as things get more efficient they add features to bring things back down. We’ve more or less been getting four hours of sot a day for a decade now. Yet every year the new flagship chip is always 20-40% more efficient.
  • roaduardo: It has to be efficiency for me. I’m not constantly running benchmarks all day. I’m not gaming heavily. I need my phone to run efficiently and smoothly. There is really nothing in my daily phone usage where I need raw power.
  • Shizuma: Efficiency, still chasing power on phones is pointless as basically nothing done on phones needs the extra power of the top-of-the-line chipsets, but everyone can make use of the extra battery life.

That’s it for this poll. Thanks for your votes and comments. If you have additional thoughts about the efficiency/power debate, or the results of this poll, be sure to drop a line below.

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