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Snapdragon 865 5G vs 855+ vs 855: 4 talking points

Qualcomm unveiled its next-generation mobile platform with the Snapdragon 865 5G at their annual Snapdragon Summit in Maui, Hawaii. With the new SoC, the silicon giant is making 5G a compulsory inclusion for devices with a dedicated modem and have introduced notable upgrades to its AI engine, image signal processor, processor and GPU, which now supports driver updates.

With the announcement of each new generation, users tend to wonder about what they stand to gain and if an upgrade to their device is worth it. With the help of this article, you can find out about all the significant differences between three of the latest processors from Qualcomm — the Snapdragon 855, 855+ and the 865 — which will help you make your decision and at the same time learn what is new.

The major difference between the Snapdragon 855 and 855+ are only in terms of clock speeds, the rest of the features and hardware remained the same.

“Snapdragon 865 supports the world’s most advanced 5G connectivity and features, raising the bar for what a mobile device should be. It’s the culmination of Qualcomm’s more than 30 years of wireless leadership and innovation,” said, Alex Katouzian, Senior VP and GM, Mobile, Qualcomm.

Also read: Snapdragon 855 Plus vs Snapdragon 855

Connectivity

Over the past year, the market has seen a handful of phones with support for 5G, though this addition was optional. With the Snapdragon 865 5G, Qualcomm has left out an integrated modem — unlike the X24 LTE on the Snapdragon 855 and 855+ — which means that the new dedicated X55 5G modem has to be included which does not allow OEMs to exclude an additional part that will consume power making the battery lives of the next generation devices a questionable factor.

The Snapdragon 865 is a 5G only chip with no integrated modem being present. | Source: Qualcomm

The X55 5G modem, unlike the X50, has standalone functionality allowing users to access 5G download speeds of up to 7Gbps and LTE speeds which peak at 2.5Gbps for downloads and 316Mbps for uploads. The X24 LTE modem provides peak speeds for 2Gbps and 316Mbps for downloads and uploads respectively and can be tied together with the X50 or X55 to make 5G connections possible.

Graphics

Coming to the performance of the chipsets, Qualcomm revealed that they are using a cluster design similar to the last generation. Still, the prime and big cores in the Snapdragon 865 5G processor have been upgraded to the new A77 Cortex architecture — this allows for the improvement in performance although the clock speeds remain similar to the last generation.

We have listed the exact specifications in a table below but to quantitatively understand the improvements that have been made, Qualcomm unveiled that the new Kyro 585 CPU is 25 percent faster than the Kyro 485 in Snapdragon 855 (not the upgraded Kyro 485 clocked at 2.96Ghz in the 855+), while the new Adreno 650 GPU offers 25 percent better performance when compared to the Adreno 640.

Gaming

The rising trend of mobile gaming has led to two notable improvements in the Snapdragon 865 5G which separate it from the 855 and 855+. The first of which is the fact that the new chipset can now power displays which refresh at 144Hz while having QHD+ resolution. The last generation has been known to support displays which refresh at a maximum of 120Hz and are FHD.

The second addition is the ability to allow OEMs to update the Adreno GPU via the Play Store or other third-party stores, to better optimise the performance of the device when new titles come out. Until now — that is for the Snapdragon 855, 855+ and its predecessors — these upgrades were only pushed with version updates or irregular patches.Snapdragon 865 5G vs 855+ vs 855: 4 talking points Also read: Kirin 710 vs Snapdragon 660

Camera

The camera improvements that Qualcomm has made to its new chipset were one of the many highlights from the summit. Snapdragon 865 5G’s new image signal processor, the Spectra 480 brings with a slew of improvements, the headline of which is the ability to support speeds of up to 2 gigapixels per second.

Some of the other notable features that differentiate the new processor from the old ones are the abilities to shoot 200MP images, record 8K footage at 30 frames per second and videos with the Dolby Vision codec allowing for deeper colours with HDR10+ support. But the last generation is no letdown, as it can shoot images up to 192MP, but it can only shoot 4K footage — at 60 frames per second — and lacks the support for the Dolby Vision codec. The new processor also allows for 720p video to be recorded at 960 frames per second whereas the predecessor could only shoot this at 480 frames.

Artificial Intelligence

The Snapdragon 865 5G was unveiled with the fifth-generation Qualcomm AI Engine which doubles down on the performance of the fourth, which was used in the 855 and 855+. The older chips are capable of performing 3.5 trillion operations whereas the 865 5G can do 7 trillion. The new chipset is also 35 percent more efficient in terms of power.

An advantage that the new chip has over the old ones is the presence of the all-new Qualcomm Sensing Hub which allows the device to be on a constant lookout for wake words for AI Assistants, like Google Assistant or Alexa, without consuming a lot of power.

Category Snapdragon 865 Snapdragon 855+ Snapdragon 855
CPU 1x Kryo 585 clocked at 2.8GHz,
3x Kryo 585 clocked at 2.4GHz, and
4x Kryo 585 clocked at 1.8Ghz
1x Kryo 485 clocked at 2.96GHz,
3x Kryo 485 clocked at 2.42Ghz, and
4x Kryo 485 clocked at 1.80Ghz
1x Kryo 485 clocked at 2.84GHz,
3x Kryo 485 clocked at 2.42Ghz, and
4x Kryo 485 clocked at 1.80Ghz
GPU Adreno 650 Adreno 640
(with improved performance)
Adreno 640
Connectivity  Qualcomm® Snapdragon™
X55 5G modem-RF system
Qualcomm® Snapdragon™
X24 LTE modem
Qualcomm® Snapdragon™
X24 LTE modem
Camera  Qualcomm Spectra™ 480
image signal processor,
allows for sensors upto 200MP to be implemented
Qualcomm Spectra™ 380
image signal processor,
allows for sensors upto 192MP to be implemented
Qualcomm Spectra™ 380
image signal processor,
allows for sensors upto 192MP to be implemented
Bluetooth Suppor for Bluetooth 5.1 Support for Bluetooth 5.0 Support for Bluetooth 5.0
WiFi Standard WiFi 6 WiFi 6 capable WiFi 6 capable

Also read: Snapdragon 855 vs Apple A12 Bionic vs Exynos 9820 vs Kirin 980

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