The Snapdragon 855 comes with 5G support, improved performance, richer multimedia capabilities

The Snapdragon 855 comes with 5G support, improved performance, richer multimedia capabilities
As expected, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 855 at an official media event in Hawaii on December 4. A day later, the company revealed all the details you might want to know about its most powerful mobile chip yet.

First and foremost, the Snapdragon 855 brings the most substantial leap in pure computational capabilities a Snapdragon chip has ever delivered, with up to 45% improved CPU and 20% greater GPU performance compared to the Snapdragon 845. As before, we're dealing with an octa-core CPU design, but the way the cores operate has been rethought.

The 855 introduces us to a concept Qualcomm calls Prime Core – one where a single high-performance core kicks in to handle single-threaded operations. Meanwhile three medium-performance and four energy-efficient cores handle loads that don't require peak performance. As a result, the new chip is expected to provide better sustained performance with tasks like gaming, as well as shorter app loading times.

To no surprise, the Snapdragon 855 is built on a 7nm process, which is one of the reasons it is more power-efficient than its predecessors. 



Paving the way to 5G


Quite a lot of time during the event was dedicated to 5G and the benefits it promises to deliver once the 5G networks of the future go live. It is worth pointing out that the Snapdragon 855 itself does not have 5G built in. Inside it is the Qualcomm X24 modem capable of up to 2Gbps peak speeds over LTE – not quite 5G, but still the fastest rates around.

However, manufacturers who choose to use the Snapdragon 855 together the new X50 modem (as a separate chip) in their devices will be able to offer 5G speeds at extremely low latency – all while still connected to 4G for additional throughput capabilities. The X50 modem would make speeds of up to 5Gbps theoretically possible, achieved through advanced antenna designs, as well as with support for up to 7x carrier aggregation, allowing devices to pull data from multiple carriers and frequency bands for greater data speeds.



It is worth pointing out that the Snapdragon 855's 5G capabilities extend across the millimeter wave bands which are faster and the sub-6GHz frequency range which has better range.

Additionally, the Snapdragon 855 offers support for the new Wi-Fi-6 standard, which has improved capacity, coverage, and range. And the newly added support for 60GHz Wi-Fi makes it possible to hit up to 10Gbps speeds with wire-equivalent latency.

AI all the things


Artificial intelligence may seem like little more than a buzz phrase right now, but there is substance behind the hype. AI and machine learning applications enable and improve features like face and object recognition, text detection and translation, as well as advanced image and video processing. The Snapdragon 855 brings up to 4 times greater performance with tasks requiring specialized AI and machine learning computations; tasks that were previously done in software will now be done at a hardware level for greater speed and lower power consumption.

Advanced imaging, video, and gaming capabilities


The enhancements in the Snapdragon 855 extend into the realm of digital imaging. Qualcomm's new chip brings support for the HEIF imaging file format, which is an alternative to JPEG that Apple has been using for a while. Using HEIF instead of JPEG not only makes files of smaller size, but also enables cool features like HDR imaging, embedding depth information, and having multiple images (bursts or from different cameras, for example) into a single file.

When it comes to video, the Snapdragon 855 enables HDR10+ video playback and recording. Furthermore, its image processing abilities allow you to do fancy tricks like having Portrait Mode (bokeh) in videos or replacing the entire background behind a person with something totally different. 



Speaking of HDR, Qualcomm highlighted the capabilities of its Snapdragon 855 to render games in HDR – with 10-bit color depth and support for billions of colors.

Snapdragon 855 release date


When is the Snapdragon 855 coming out? Smaprtphones powered by Qualcomm's latest chip are expected to be announced in the coming months and released in the US – with 5G support and all - before the end of the first half of 2019. The Samsung Galaxy S10 and the OnePlus 7 are expected to be two of the first Snapdragon 855 smartphones.

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53 Comments

1. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

Tons of phones will use this CPU. There was no need to mention s10 in title.

3. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Agree they should mentioned Exyons Samsung Soc.

12. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I can't wait to see Qualcomm's new under the display finger print scanner which will be using ultrasound. It will be more secure than Apples FaceID. Because the ultrasonic scanner scans in 3D, so it includes some of your fingers internal structure. Which is impossible to duplicate.

26. bucky

Posts: 3794; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

whats the point in all that log in security if you are still signing into a google product...

27. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Where was it mentioned that it will be more secure than FaceID? Or did you make that up yourself...??

30. Feanor

Posts: 1410; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

FaceID is not particularly secure, already by concept. We know already from many instances that people that share a similar face with similar bone structure and colours can unlock your FaceID equipped iPhone.

40. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

I know that. Twins can fool FaceID easily. But does that confirm it's more secure than Qualcomm's solution?

6. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2474; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I know right?? Total iPhoneAre- ....errr SamArena! *joking*

10. mdolphins9998

Posts: 17; Member since: Sep 19, 2012

THANK YOU.....I said the same exact thing!!!!

48. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

"The Samsung Galaxy S10 and the OnePlus 7 are expected to be two of the first Snapdragon 855 smartphones" Yes a lot of phones will, but these 2 will be tbe first of them. And it doesn't mention the s10 in the title anyway.

2. Fred3

Posts: 574; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Could never believe what Lenovo Vice President Chang Cheng says. He provided false information a few times.

4. adecvat

Posts: 652; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Pffff, already beaten by A11 and A12.

9. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Total BS. Especially when the the SoCs today are much more than just a CPU. Plus many of the benchmark tests are a pile of crap like Geekbench and 3DMark. Some of those tests like single score and multi score tests from Geekbench for instance don't reflect real world test or experiences, especially when those tests can completely run from the SoCs cache. Which definitely isn't real world. Then there is other tests that compare graphics using Metal on iOS, but then they compare the same test on Android using OpenGL. You may as well compare Apples to Oranges. Apples Metal is very similar to Androids Vulkan Graphics. So why don't they use tests like that instead (here looking at you PhoneArena). Then there is things like AI. Apple claims 600 billion operations per second. But other mobile AI processors have already reached up to 4 trillion operations (Huawei). Google's Pixel 2's reach 3 trillion operations per second, which is 5 times faster than Apples AI on their A11. If Apples Ax SoCs are really so fast, then why doesn't Apple put their money where their mouth is, and make and support an AR headset and/or VR headset right now. Why wait? Could it be Apples current SoCs overheat too soon? Sustainability is a great feature found on any Snapdragon 820 (2016) and above. If your using a VR or AR headset for 30 minutes or longer, then it can't crap out, or throttle down too soon. Plus driving higher resolutions are needed in order to get better realistic AR and VR headsets. Apple has always been slow at adopting higher resolution displays. Apple and many of it's zealots we're always telling everyone that it's stupid to have a resolution higher than Apples retina displays (326 ppi). Yet back in 2013 the competition already had 4.7" full HD displays with a density of (469 ppi). And in 2014 the competition starting using even higher resolution QHD displays. By 2015 there was even 4k mobile smartphones (Sony Z5 premium). It will be interesting to see where Apple goes with AR/VR headsets in 2019 or 2020. That will be the true test.

16. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Still singlecore and multicore are crap.

34. alaw.14

Posts: 427; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

Means nothing if it can't sustain its performance, not just the A series chips, but all cpus.

53. baldilocks

Posts: 1542; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

?? They are right on par with the A12 Bionic.

24. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

You're a pure Qualcomm fanboy. Or Apple hater. Or both.

39. perry1234

Posts: 652; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

I agree with most of your points, even that real world tests are in fact the most important parameters to gauge performance. (Looking at speedtest G by Gary Sims) Just out of curiosity though, can you direct me to to the source which says that the AI chip on the Pixel 3XL can do 3 Trillion operations per second?

55. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Since the Pixel 2's have an AI chip called the Pixel Core, and that is rated at 3 trillion operations per second. Then why wouldn't the Pixel 3's have the same 3 trillion operations per second or higher, right?

31. Fred3

Posts: 574; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

SD 362,292 is not far from A12 Bionic 363,525. As i stated before SD will soon be ahead most likely in 2020

32. alaw.14

Posts: 427; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

It will likely have a higher score than that, just wait until it comes out. Also if you go by antutu the sd 845 was ahead of the a11, so what do you mean by soon ahead?

33. alaw.14

Posts: 427; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

A11 gpu was beaten by the sd845 and the sd845's gpu trades blows with the a12's, so be more specific.

36. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Do you think it'll best them in real world speed tests, like the 835 and 845 did with competing Apple SOCs?

42. alaw.14

Posts: 427; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

Sure, the main determining factor of speed test though is i/o devices.

5. path45th

Posts: 407; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

It’s going to be several years behind the A 13. Even the A9 like in iPhone SE and 6s beats Samsung s9. In a month the A9 is going to be 4 years old but still beats the s9. Amazing. Have a look at this YouTube review to see what I meanhttps://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HKUHNbxs_8g

7. jacure619

Posts: 45; Member since: Aug 16, 2018

Beat it in opening the game app? The S9 beats the se in like 98% of the other apps.lol how is the A9 faster than as 845? The A9 also lost at booting up with se 300p screen resolution from your vid.

8. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

All these stupid speed tests don’t prove whether a device is faster than other.(still A series processor are faster LOL)

13. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1459; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Based on what? Geekbench? The only way to determine which hardware is actually faster you'd need to run the exact same software on both devices so you can get an accurate comparison. Since that isn't gonna happen anytime soon, best you can say is that its just inconclusive.

28. alaw.14

Posts: 427; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

No they are not faster since it only takes a couple of minutes to throttle. Qualcomm cpu's have alot of endurance. A series gpu's are not quite top notch.

14. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I wonder if the A12 will beat the 845 in overheating quickly and crashing when the battery is older than 1.5 years old like the A9-A11 lol

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