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Snapdragon 865

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 vs 855 – How is the new flagship platform better?

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 mobile platform is now officially announced and it is the next best chipset from Qualcomm that is going to be present in most of the flagship smartphones in 2020. The chipset is better in every way when we compare it with the Snapdragon 855 and the 855 Plus that were 2019’s flagship SoCs from the chipset manufacturer. In this comparison below, let’s check out how does the new Snapdragon 865 fare when compared to the Snapdragon 855.

CPU Comparison

The Snapdragon 865 has an octa-core CPU with the single primary ARM Cortex A77 core that is based on Kryo 585, and it has a clock speed of 2.84 GHz. This single core is dedicated to core performance, and then there are three similar A77 cores but they have the clock speeds of 2.42 GHz.

The four remaining cores are the A55 ones that are based on Kryo 385 and they have a clock speed of 1.8 GHz. The newly built A77 core brings in better performance with about 25% gain in the performance when compared to the Snapdragon 855’s Cortex A76 core.

GPU Comparison

It is the Adreno 650 GPU that is the new graphics processor, and this is said to be bringing 20% faster graphic processing when compared to the Adreno 640 GPU on Snapdragon 855.

Qualcomm had introduced the Snapdragon Elite Gaming pack for better graphic performance in heavy games and that was a part of Snapdragon 855, and this is now continued onto the Snapdragon 865 as well. But this time, the Elite Gaming has new features, including Desktop Forward Rendering, Snapdragon Game Performance Engine, Game Color Plus, Adreno HDR Fast Blend and updatable GPU drivers.

Memory Comparison

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 supports LPDDR5 RAM with the clock speeds of 2750MHz while on the other side, the Snapdragon 855 supports LPDDR4 RAM with the clock speeds of 2133 MHz. This makes the RAM speeds faster and thus, the read-write speeds are better.

Display and Camera Compatibility

We are now going to get better displays with faster refresh rates on the Snapdragon 865 powered devices. Earlier, the displays that we could find the best were 120Hz on Snapdragon 855 but now, the new processor will be able to offer support 4K displays at 60Hz while a better refresh rate will be possible at 144Hz on QHD+ resolution. The support for HDR 10+ will be available on both the chipsets and there will be no difference in that aspect, but the jump to 144Hz will be something new that we are going to see.

As for the cameras, the Snapdragon 865 is going to have the Spectra 480 ISP, which will not just improve the camera performance but also process images for up to 200MP or 64MP with zero shutter lag. Qualcomm calls the ISP’s speed as Gigapixel speed allows for the capturing of 64MP burst images and 4K HDR video simultaneously. On the other side, the Snapdragon 855’s Spectra 380 ISP supports 192MP captures or 48MP with zero shutter lag.

The new ISP would bring 16% lower power capture, 18% more texture, and a 40% increase in pixel processing for noise reduction.

For the video recording, there’s now unlimited 960 fps video recording at 720p resolution. And now with the new chipset, 4K videos can be captured at 120 fps, which is a big jump from the previous chipset.

AI Engine Performance

It is the 5th generation AI Engine that is given in the Snapdragon 865 while the 4th gen. AI Engine is present in the Snapdragon 855. While the 4th gen engine had 7 TOPS, the new AI Engine is the same to offer over double the number of operations, with about 15 TOPS. There’s also the Hexagon 698 DSP that has the Hexagon Vector eXtensions and new Hexagon Tensor Accelerator.


This is certainly one of the major changes in the new chipset. The Snapdragon 865 uses an external 5G modem, i.e. the X55 modem that becomes a multimode solution for the 4G and 5G smartphones. It also supports dual-mode SA/NSA 5G network and Dual SIM 5G technology.

The download speeds offered by this new modem are 7 Gbps while the upload speeds offered are 3 Gbps.

While the Snapdragon 855’s X50 modem offers 5G connectivity, that modem offers only the 5G and for 4G LTE connectivity, there’s a need for X24 modem that is able to offer 2 Gbps download speed and 316 Mbps upload speed.

With the new modem on Snapdragon 865, there’s a possibility to roll down to even 4G from 5G while there was a need for a separate modem for the 4G connection.

Overall – Is the Snapdragon 865 a big deal?

It sure is. The new modem that works backward is kind of a big deal and there are better CPU and GPU performances to see in the new chipset, and the ISP on Snapdragon 865 is much better to process the images and videos. Not that the Snapdragon 855 was a weak chipset in any way, but the new one is super strong to respond to heavier tasks on the CPU and GPU.

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