Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 announced

Snapdragon 865 SoC has been announced at the Qualcomm annual Tech Summit in Maui, Hawaii. This is the successor to the Snapdragon 855 and 855+ chips. It is a 5G exclusive chipset and will be powering flagship phones in 2020. However, as the title mentions, it doesn’t have an integrated 5G capability. Instead, OEMs will have to couple it with a separate 2nd gen X55 Modem-RF 5G modem.

So, Qualcomm will sell both chipset and modem as a bundle. And, manufacturers will not be able to stow in this chipset inside a 4G-only device and use a different 4G modem.

Snapdragon 865 vs Snapdragon 855: Specs

Mobile Platform Snapdragon 865 Snapdragon 855
Processor Cores 2.84GHz Kryo 585 Gold Core (Cortex A77- based), 512KB L2 Cache

2.4GHz 3x Kryo 585 Gold cores (Cortex A77-based), 256KB L2 Cache each

1.8GHz 4x Kryo 585 Silver Cores (Cortex A55-based), 128KB L2 Cache each

4MB L3 Cache

2.84GHz Kryo 485 Gold Core (Cortex A76- based), 512KB L2 Cache

2.4GHz 3x Kryo 485 Gold cores (Cortex A76-based), 256KB L2 Cache each

1.8GHz 4x Kryo Silver Cores (Cortex A55-based), 128KB L2 Cache each

2MB L3 Cache

Process 7nm TSMC (N7P)  7nm TSMC (N7)
GPU Adreno 650 Adreno 640
  • 4x 16-bit CH @ @ 2133MHz LPDDR4X
  • @ 2750MHz LPDDR5
  • 3MB system cache
  • 4x 16-bit CH @ 2133MHz LPDDR4x
  • 3MB system cache
Modem Snapdragon X55 Snapdragon X24 LTE
  • Dual 14-bit Spectra 480
  • Supports up to one 200MP sensor
  • Supports up to 2 64MP sensors
  • Supports 64MP burst capture
  • Dual 14-bit Spectra 380
  • Supports up to one 48MP sensor
  • Supports up to two 22MP sensors
  • Hexagon 698 with integrated tensor accelerator unit (or NPU)
  • Voice assistant AI Module
  • Hexagon 690 with integrated tensor accelerator unit (or NPU)
  • Voice assistant AI Module
Encode/ Decode
  • 8K30/4K12010-bit H.265
  • Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG
  • 720p960 infinite recording
  • 2160p60 10-bit H.265
  • HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
  • 720p480

Snapdragon 865 Highlights

Here are a few reasons why you should be excited about the Snapdragon 865?

The good:

  • Snapdragon 865 upgrades prime and performance cores to new Cortex-A77-based architecture and promises 25% performance improvement along with a 25% improvement in power efficiency.
  • Power cores remain the same. L3 cache has been doubled for improved performance and better power efficiency (light tasks).
  • Qualcomm claims improvements in memory subsystems. The SD 865 also has support for LPDDR5 RAM which will make it to flagship phones next year.
  • The Snapdragon 865 also gets Dolby Vision and HGL format support.
  • The new chipset will support up to 144Hz display refresh rate.
  • SD 865 shows remarkable improvement in camera capabilities. There’s now support for up to 200MP sensors, 8K230fps, and the time cap on 720@960fps slow-motion recording has been removed (so, it would be easier to shoot slow-motion footage).
  • AI capabilities get a significant bump from 7 TOPs to 15 TOPs.
  • Adreno 650 GPU sees a 25% improvement in graphics rendering over Adreno 640. Power efficiency improves by 35%
  • Snapdragon 865 is also one of the first chipsets to support Google’s IdentityCredential API that will be a part of the upcoming Android 11.
  • According to AndroidPolice, SD865 supports Google’s Project Mainline, which means driver updates will hit the device via Play Store instead of Over-the-Air.

The not so good: 

  • Qualcomm isn’t customizing ARM’s Core architecture as it wasn’t generating enough return on investment.
  • Qualcomm is using TSMC’s 7NP process to manufacture Snapdragon 855, which isn’t as cutting edge as the new EUV process (7+) that’s used on Kirin 990 5G and Exynos 990.
  • The SD 865 does not have an integrated 5G modem, but Qualcomm still claims better power efficiency while using 4G networks as compared to SD 855.

The chip manufacturer also laid out the future roadmap for ushering 5G into the Mainstream in 2020.

But, we know the names of the phones that are likely to ship with the latest silicon inside.

Snapdragon 865 Phones

Here are the phones with Snapdragon 865 to look out for in the coming year –

1. Xiaomi Mi 10

Xiaomi’s Co-founder and President Lin Bin announced the upcoming Mi 10 will helm the new Snapdragon 865 SoC. Although a definite date isn’t given, it will be here “very soon.”

Incidentally, there will be a Mi 10 Pro variant too, whose existence has been confirmed by none other than Mr. Bin via a Weibo post.

Both the phones are expected to debut early next year, somewhere around the CES 2020.

2. Titanium M6 5G

There is a high chance that this phone might have gone under your radar. It is from a Chinese luxury smartphone and watchmaker maker 8854 and was announced back in October this year. So, the Titanium M6 5G is the first 5G phone, if you will. It will come out in early 2020.

It boasts a spec sheet including 12GB RAM, 1TB of storage, 64MP camera, et cetera.

Other Snapdragon 865 phones to look out for

Lenovo-owned Motorola has announced that it will launch the “fastest phone on Qualcomm’s flagship platform”. At the event, Motorola’s President Sergio Buniac said, “Thanks to the new technologies announced today, we’ll have new premium products to announce in early 2020.”

Oppo has officially announced an upcoming Snapdragon 865 phone for Q1, 2020.

Nubia has also declared the Red Magic 5G as a Snapdragon 865 phone which also supports Dual Mode 5G.

Further, names like Galaxy S11, Galaxy Note 11, OnePlus 8, Pixel 5, etc are a no-brainer.


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