Qualcomm announced their latest flagship system on a chip on December 3rd, 2019 as a successor to last year’s version, Snapdragon 855 or 855 plus if you consider a slightly overclocked plus a variant made public mid this year.
It was worth noting that Snapdragon 855 plus was geared towards gamers who took advantage of the slightly higher core clocks, Qualcomm claims 15 % more GPU performance, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865. Smartphones that had this SoC mainly had copper heat sink with active liquid cooling to dissipate heat generated while gaming on the device. Snapdragon 855 came packing Adreno 655 GPU clocked at 700MHz while the 855 plus came with four Kryo 458 Silver and three Kryo 485 Gold clocked at 1.8GHz and 2.42GHz respectively with one more performance core Kryo 485 Gold clocked at 2.84GHz. For variants with 5G, it needed an external modem, x50 5G chip with millimeter-wave support, from Qualcomm to work. Other variants had a 4G modem built into the SoC. Snapdragon 855 came 16GB of LPDDR4x-4266 memory support at 2133 Mhz, dual-screen support, X24 LTE modem, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 and up to 48-megapixel single camera support.
This year’s Version, Snapdragon 865 comes updated with main features which include:
- 25% increase in GPU performance with updatable drivers to increase performance and better suit upcoming games.
- 5th Generation AI Engine with Qualcomm® Hexagon™ Tensor Accelerator which is two times better compared to last years Snapdragon 855
- Qualcomm Spectra 480 which can process 2 Gigapixels per second ISP (Image Signal Processor) up to 200MP Camera support, 4K 120 FPS HDR videos with up to 64 Megapixel photos as you record a 4K video, 4K 960 FPS slow-motion videos for 10 minutes and 8K videos at 30FP
- X55 5G Modem-RF System that can achieve speeds of up to 7.5 Gigabits per seconds. This modem also comes with improved 4G capabilities hence making it much better than last generation’s SoC integrated modem.
- Display – Supports up to 4K at 60Hz and QHD+ at 144hz with HDR10+ and 10-bit color support
- Connectivity – Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, USB 3.1 which can transfer data up to 10 Gbps
- 3D Sonic Max that comes 17 times larger with two-finger sensing capability at the same time
- LPDDR5 memory support at a clock speed of up to 2750 MHz
- Quick Charge AI and Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 4+ technology
It is worth noting that unlike the Snapdragon 765 that was announced together with it, the 865 oddly doesn’t come with a 5G modem integrated into it but instead a second-gen X55 modem that will sit come bundled with it. Qualcomm, however, puts the two as a package so it will mean coming in 2020, flagship smartphones with Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 will come with 5G albeit the concerns of slightly higher power consumption from the additional chipset required for 5G capability, X55 modem, but these were laid to rest as the modem has a significantly higher power efficiency compared to last years X50.
Also announced at the event was Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 and Qualcomm Snapdragon specifically targeted at smartphone gamers. Vendors that showed interest utilizing the 7 series of Qualcomm snapdragon include Motorola, LG, HMD Global, Realme, Redmi, Vivo, and OPPO.