Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 Plus aims to take mobile gaming to the next level this year

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 Plus aims to take mobile gaming to the next level this year
Qualcomm typically unveils only one new high-end smartphone chipset a year, but even though we still expect a proper Snapdragon 855 sequel to go official in the next few months for use on premium mobile devices in 2020, the semiconductor giant has surprisingly taken the wraps off an early upgrade of its latest flagship today.

This is obviously not called Snapdragon 865 or even 860 or 856, which makes it pretty clear off the bat that we're not looking at life-altering performance improvements here. Nonetheless, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus promises to "raise gaming to the next level", elevating its forerunner's experiences across 5G, AI, and XR as well.

Before you get too excited, we should probably mention the Snapdragon 855 Plus comes with the same integrated Snapdragon X24 4G LTE modem as the non-Plus 855, requiring extra effort from smartphone manufacturers in separately implementing the X50 5G modem to achieve the cellular speeds of tomorrow. That's not the only key thing the Snapdragon 855 and 855 Plus have in common, so instead of focusing on the two's shared traits, let's talk about what makes the new processor special.

Beyond bombastic claims of vague gaming enhancements for "elite gamers", the Snapdragon 855 Plus has a couple of concrete features improved over its predecessor. Namely, a 15 percent increase in Adreno 640 GPU performance (which is indeed likely to marginally raise the gaming bar), as well as a Kryo 485 CPU Prime core clock speed bump from 2.84 to 2.96GHz. 

Naturally, we'll have to wait and see how those theoretical upgrades translate in real-world experiences. Fortunately, the wait will apparently be over relatively soon, as Snapdragon 855 Plus-based commercial devices are scheduled to be released as early as the second half of 2019. Yup, that means the next wave of Android flagships, including the likes of Samsung's Galaxy Note 10, Google's Pixel 4, and the OnePlus 7T Pro, could come powered by this marginally improved SoC.

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17 Comments

1. Bankz

Posts: 2550; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Certainly not the Galaxy note.

2. Iodine

Posts: 1503; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Might get a little closer to the A12.

3. sgodsell

Posts: 7569; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The A12 is slower in a number of areas. Especially graphics when compared to the SD 855. A lot of the graphics test will still compare iOS Metal to OpenGL tests. That is so wrong, especially when they should be compared to Vulkan vs Metal.

5. alaw.14

Posts: 427; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

Exactly! People seem to ignore the whole soc. Sd 855 also beats the a12 in areas such as the modem, isp, dsp, npu, and physics simulations. Vulkan is definetly becoming more widespread, so the future is interesting. Sd 855+ is going to be a beast chip, but the a13 might walk it until the sd 865 comes out.

7. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

Vulkan vs Metal tests here. It doesn't even come close to A12. What are you smoking broski? https://www.anandtech.com/show/13786/snapdragon-855-performance-preview/5

11. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1177; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

A lot of people like to talk loud and hate the truth. The A12 absolutely smoked the 855 and will do the same to the 855+. I don’t see the point in comparing Android and iOS chips though, as both OSs work differently and prioritize their workloads differently to.

14. QuantumRazer

Posts: 159; Member since: Apr 27, 2019

SD855's graphics is slower than A12's running in a THROTTLED STATE with nearly 25 to 30% worse power efficiency, I have no idea where you got that information from. You really seem to be underestimating the power of Apple's SoC performance as a whole. If you want a benchmark chart on Android devices using Vulkan graphics and iDevices using Metal, sure, go ahead and take a look.https://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph14072/101670.png

16. vincelongman

Posts: 5748; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Note Apple sets a VERY high throttled state, similar to OnePlus https://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph14464/101670.png The A12 is about 9% faster in sustained performance, that's near margin of error The A12 does have a lead in efficiency as it has a wider GPU (4 cores vs 3 cores in the 855)

6. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

And will probably be even further ahead of the A12 in real world speed testing, like the 855 was. But you enjoy those cherry picked benchmarks.

13. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1177; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

In Phones that require 8-12GB of RAM, lol, I would fully expect a phone with x2 RAM to be far faster than a few split seconds in a speed test.

15. QuantumRazer

Posts: 159; Member since: Apr 27, 2019

App opening and general processing speed is a lot faster on iPhones though, especially in processor-intensive apps like photo editing apps. Sure, the RAM management of iOS isn't as good as it used to be(still a lot better than OnePlus could ever achieve with 6GB of RAM), but let's see how things will be improved once app developers optimise their apps' codes for iOS 13.

4. geordie8t1

Posts: 314; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

When will they even offer games that can utilise this raw power, is there a reason why we still don't have playstation level graphics on some flagships yet? I would be happy to pay to get some console level games, forget these stupid app style levels and mediocre play, some scaled down console level graphics with fully immersive play, otherwise these stupid chip races ended ages ago

8. Gamas_K

Posts: 88; Member since: Nov 02, 2013

An upcoming game from Mihoyo (China) has Apple's A11(iPhone 8) as the minimum requirement for the game to run. Their other game, Honkai Impact 3rd is also a game that require flagship power to run at its best

9. AngelicusMaximus

Posts: 762; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

It's very simple. Not everyone has a flagship device and the app developers need their games in as many hands as possible in order to make money.

12. mackan84

Posts: 631; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Some people actually keep their device for multiple years. Especially a flagship. Good chipset equals compatible with apps for years. Just look at apples declining selling numbers but growing active devices and growing services-figures.

10. baldilocks

Posts: 1545; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

"to the next level". Isn't that a Tim Cook catch phrase? He says that with EVERY product introduction.

17. Chrusti

Posts: 103; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

Unlike the closed apple ecosystem, you can actually unleash the power of the CPU and GPU on Android. Especially if you do a lot of emulation, GameCube, Wii etc every bit of power counts!

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