Snapdragon 850 for Windows 10 on ARM is already in trouble

While the idea definitely had lots of appeal, Microsoft's Windows 10 on ARM, specifically on Snapdragon, fell flat on its face during its first generation. It was largely attributed to performance problems which was, in turn, attributed to the not-so-recent Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 used in that first batch. Back in June, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 850 that would fix that mistake. Benchmark sightings, however, aren't exactly encouraging.

Qualcomm's spiel was that the Snapdragon 850 would offer a 30% improvement over the Snapdragon 835 in terms of CPU performance. And that's when running Windows 10 version 1803. While that in itself is a moderate improvement given the disappointing performance of the ASUS NovaGo and HP Envy x2, reality might actually be even worse.

WinFuture spotted a Geekbench listing for a certain LENOVO 81JL that is believed to be running on that very chipset. The benchmark site gives it a single-core score of 2263 and a multi-core score of 6947. The numbers look OK except when compared to the ASUS NovaGo's respective scores of 1802 and 6475.

That amounts to improvements of 23% and 7.3%, respectively, way below Qualcomm's advertised 30%. The Snapdragon 850 is already based on the current Snapdragon 845, so there isn't really any other new SoC to look forward to. If these numbers are what we'll be seeing on new Windows 10 on ARM devices later this year, then those two might end up dead on arrival.

Of course, there are other factors to consider. Perhaps Qualcomm's numbers were based on Windows 10 on ARM devices using only UWP apps and not the emulated x32 apps that make the OS actually useful but painfully unusable. As it stands, Microsoft's attempt at leaving a mark on the ARM device market still lacks direction and, more importantly, an audience.