If you follow smartphone trends like we do on this platform, you should know 2018 was the year of the Snapdragon 845. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 has powered majority of the most powerful high-end phones released this year. We’re talking the LG G7 ThinQ, Pixel 3, OnePlus 6 / 6T, LG V40 ThinQ, HTC U12+… to mention but a few.
A few hours ago Qualcomm Snapdragon unveiled their next generation 7 nano meter SoC, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. The leap from the 10 nano meter Snapdragon 845 to the 855 is a vivid hint that there must be some serious improvement here.
When we talk about the Snapdragon 855 we mean an entire System-on-Chip (SoC) that comprises of the CPU cores and Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). The Snapdragon 855 brings serious improvement over the previous SoC with yet again 8 core but more powerful than before. It features the Kryo 485 CPU that has 1 Prime Core clocked at 2.84Ghz, three performance cores clocked at 2.4Ghz and the last four efficiency cores all clocked at 1.8Ghz. A combination of these eight cores boost a 45% increment in performance over the previous Snapdragon 845 chip. This more like adding a whole Snapdragon 800 SoC onto the current Snapdragon 845.
The chip features the new Adreno 640 GPU that registers a humble 20% improvement over the previous Adreno 630 GPU. With the new Adreno 640 GPU, Qualcomm is focusing on what it’s calling the Snapdragon Elite Gaming Experience which delivers rich cinematography color grading during game-play and new technologies aimed at reducing dropped frames by 70%.
The new SoC also targets camera hardware with an upgraded computer signal processor capable of allowing users record 4K HDR video at 60 frames per second and save video into the new heif file format which reduces file size by 50%.
There is also significant improvement in hardware based depth mapping in video that provides means for real-time object replacement for example ability to swap the background of the subject in focus when shooting and also ability to take portrait mode video at 60 frames per second.
5G connectivity is the next new thing we are yet to see frequently embraced in coming year as this new SoC supports 5G using the company’s X50 5G modem that Qualcomm has been working on for over three years. In theory, this implies downloading 4K movies in seconds and streaming PC quality games in cloud.
The new SoC also brings major improvement on Wi-Fi speeds with the industry’s first 802.11AY platform that boosts Wi-Fi speeds of up to 10Gbps compared to the current phones 802.11AC that maxes out at 3.5Gbps.
Qualcomm has also taken emphasis on proving AI and with this new SoC. It marks it’s forth iteration of the AI engine that has improved performance at 300% higher than the previous generation. This avails benefits like new camera shooting options and far more advanced scene recognition and added features like noise reduction in photos.
This new AI bundled with this SoC is powerful enough to upgrade the resolution of photos and further more remove grain or noise, add depth and bokeh effects to images downloaded from the web.
The new chip has also been designed to prolong battery life compared to it’s predecessor. The company has also added what it calls Truly Wireless Audio tech that not only reduces bluetooth latency but also targets power consumption when listening to music. The new SoC also supports HDR 10+ which not only make videos look better but also consume less power than before with more efficient video file formats.
Qualcomm has also targeted virtual reality during the development of this chip and has aimed at blurring the gap between physical and virtual worlds with 8K virtual reality running experiences at 120 frames per second.
With a number of manufactures embracing in-display fingerprint sensors, the Snapdragon 855 brings advanced 3D sonic fingerprint recognition. Qualcomm has been working on the very first ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor which can take a 3D image of the user’s fingerprint going deep into taking images of it’s ridges and pours and capable of reading through dust and oil.
Before the Snapdragon 855 and after the commonly used Snapdragon 845 in present flagship phones, the Snapdragon 850 was development but mainly used to tablets to power operating systems as powerful as Windows 10. This we’ve seen in tablets like the Samsung Book2 which gives us hints that the company has been working with Samsung in development of these chips even more so that the Snapdragon 845 was built in collaboration with Samsung. Having this in mind, we do expect the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 to be one of the first devices to use the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC.
OnePlus CEO has also confirmed that the first phone to use the Snapdragon 855 will be a OnePlus phone.
You can watch the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Keynote below.