In December of 2018, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 855 mobile platform. It’s the company’s most powerful chip designed for smartphones and tablets, and over half a year later, we’ve already seen it ship in devices like the U.S. Samsung Galaxy S10, Xiaomi Mi 9, OnePlus 7 Pro, and ASUS ZenFone 6. We’ve also seen the 855 appear in gaming-centric smartphones like the Black Shark 2 and Red Magic 3. Seeing this upward trend of mobile gaming, especially in huge markets like India and China, Qualcomm decided this year that they needed to better target mobile gamers. That’s why they designed the Snapdragon 730G, an SoC for upper mid-range gaming phones, and why they’re now announcing the Snapdragon 855 Plus. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus mobile platform is basically the Snapdragon 855 we’ve seen in over a dozen new smartphones this year, but it’s got an overclocked CPU and GPU to deliver better gaming performance.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus vs 855
Let’s get the main differences between the new Snapdragon 855 Plus and the standard 855 out of the way.
- The lone “Prime” CPU core has been clocked at up to 2.96GHz in the 855 Plus versus 2.84GHz in the standard 855. This ~3GHz core clock speed finally matches the configuration that ARM initially projected.
- The Adreno 640 GPU in the 855 Plus offers a 15% performance increase over the Adreno 640 in the 855.
Besides these changes, the 855 Plus and 855 are otherwise identical, at least according to the information provided by Qualcomm in the press release. That means the 855 Plus will have 1 Kryo 485 (ARM Cortex A76-based) “Prime” CPU core clocked at up to 2.96GHz, 3 Kryo 485 (ARM Cortex A76-based) “Performance” CPU cores clocked at up to 2.42GHz, and finally 4 Kryo 385 (ARM Cortex A55-based) “Efficiency” CPU cores clocked at up to 1.8GHz. The 855 Plus will also support the dual 14-bit Spectra 380 ISP, have an integrated Snapdragon X24 LTE modem with optional Snapdragon X50 5G modem support, use the Hexagon 690 DSP for machine learning, be Wi-Fi 6 ready, and much more. You can read our prior coverage on the Snapdragon 855 to learn about its full feature list.
In our benchmark comparisons with the Snapdragon 845 and Kirin 980, we found the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 offers superior theoretical CPU, GPU, and AI performance. We will likely find that to also be true for the Snapdragon 855 Plus, but its overclocked “Prime” CPU core and faster GPU will only help widen the gap between it and the other processors. Fans of high-end gaming phones looking to play the most performance-intensive Android games (yes, there are actually a few on Google Play that can bring even the highest-end phones to their knees) or retro game console emulators should look forward to phones with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus mobile platform. According to Qualcomm, commercial devices with the new mobile platform are expected to be announced later this year, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the next OnePlus flagship and every major Android gaming device ships with it.
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