Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 is the latest mobile platform and it will power many Android flagship devices in 2019. We’re going to check out all the new features and the list of phones powered by this new processor.
Last year, the Snapdragon 845 was inferior as compared to the Apple’s A12 Bionic chip. Therefore, the Snapdragon 855 is Qualcomm’s endeavor to catch up with Apple. They even promised that the new Snapdragon could achieve twice the performance of the 7nm chip from Apple. This year, Qualcomm has moved from Samsung’s 10nm semiconductor manufacturing process to TSMC’s 7nm process, which leads to smaller chips and lower power consumption.
The CPU of the Snapdragon SoC is semi-custom ARM Cortex – Kryo 485 which includes 1x 2.84GHz (Cortex A76), 3x 2.42GHz (Cortex A76), and 4x 1.8GHz (Cortex-A55) cores. The new CPU design provides up to a 45% uplift in performance. Besides, the new Adreno 640 GPU also delivers up to 20% faster graphics performance.
Another notable improvement is the Qualcomm Hexagon 690 DSP (Digital Signal Processor) that will boost performance and power efficiency for 5G, AI and XR (VR and AR). They stated that the AI performance is 3x greater than its predecessor’s. The ISP (Image Signal Processor) is also faster; It supports 4K HDR video recording with Portrait Mode and HDR10+. Notably, it is the first mobile platform to support HDR10+, 120fps 4K, and 8K 360-degree VR/XR video playback.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 is also the first mobile platform supporting multi-gigabit 5G, however, it is not integrated into the SoC. The chip has LTE onboard but 5G devices will need to be equipped with the extra Snapdragon X50 modem. The modem supports both Sub-6 GHz and mmWave frequency bands.
List of Smartphones with Snapdragon 855
1. Samsung Galaxy S10, S10e, S10 Plus, and S10 5G
Samsung’s devices might not be the first ones debuted with new Snapdragon processors but they are always the first ones released to the public all over the world.
Samsung introduced 4 different versions of Galaxy S10 during the Unpacked event in late February 2019. This year, we have the Galaxy S10, S10e, S10 Plus, and S10 5G with screen sizes ranging from 5.8 to 6.7 inches. They all have interesting features like the Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED display with HDR10+ certification, Wireless PowerShare, Android 9 Pie with Samsung One UI, Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi 6, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 support, and either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9820 processor
Notably, the S10 and S10 Plus have 3 cameras on the back, including a primary 12MP sensor, a 12MP telephoto lens, and a new 16MP ultra-wide lens. The S10 5G is even equipped with an additional 3D depth-sensing camera for better photography and AR applications. Other impressive specs are the 1TB base storage, 12GB RAM, and 4,100 mAh on the Galaxy S10 Plus.
The base prices for off-contract phones are $749, $899, and $999 for the S10e, S10, and S10 Plus respectively. They start hitting stores in March 2019.
2. Samsung Galaxy Fold
Samsung Galaxy S10 was not the most exciting launch this year. The new Samsung Galaxy Fold steals all the attention with a foldable display that could transform from a 4.6-inch smartphone to a tablet with a 7.3-inch screen.
The phone/tablet hybrid features a hinge system with multiple interlocking gears, a 4.6-inch, HD+ Super AMOLED outer display, and a 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED inner Infinity Flex display. It is powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor, 512GB of internal storage, 12GB RAM, and a 4,380mAh battery.
The starting price of the Galaxy Fold is $1,980 and it is released in April 2019.
3. Sony Xperia 1
Sony has ditched the XZ branding completely, so we won’t have an Xperia XZ4. Instead, Sony Mobile started a new beginning with the Sony Xperia 1. They redesigned their flagship phones, so we no longer see outdated designs with large bezels.
The Xperia 1 is the world’s first smartphone equipped with a 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED display, moreover, it boasts a 21:9 CinemaWide aspect ratio and Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound. All of them are built to deliver the best movie experience ever on a smartphone.
Other specs include 6GB of RAM, 64GB/128GB of built-in storage, Snapdragon 855, triple rear camera setup, side-mounted fingerprint sensor, and IP68 rating for water resistance.
4. Xiaomi Mi 9
Xiaomi launched the Mi 9 in February 2019. This is their first smartphone coming with triple rear cameras and the main camera uses the latest 48MP Sony IMX586 1/2 sensor. The Mi 9 manages to take better photos than iPhone XS Max in almost all situations.
In terms of specs, the Mi 9 features 6GB of RAM, 64GB/128GB of internal storage, a 6.39-inch FHD+ (1080×2340) AMOLED display, and a 3,300mAh battery. It is available in Piano Black, Ocean Blue and Lavender Violet color options. Pricing starts at €449 ($510) in Europe.
5. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
The Mi Mix 3 5G is almost the same phone as the Mi Mix 3 released last year. It sports the same slider design, 6GB of RAM, 64GB/128GB of storage, a 6.39-inch OLED display, a dual rear camera setup, a dual front camera setup, a rear fingerprint scanner, and a dedicated Google Assistant key.
However, there are some important internal upgrades including the Snapdragon 855 SoC, a Qualcomm X50 modem for 5G connectivity, and a larger 3,800mAh battery.
The Mi Mix 3 5G launches in Europe for €599 ($680) in May 2019.
6. LG G8 ThinQ
The LG G8 ThinQ was introduced in February 2019 with some standout technologies. Firstly, it has a Z Camera which is a time-of-flight (ToF) camera for depth detection; It can be used for 3D facial recognition, a suite of Air Motion gestures without touching the phone, and unlock the phone by scanning the veins in your hand. Secondly, it has a Crystal Sound OLED which will vibrate the surface of the glass to generate audio.
Other specs are similar to other phones; It features 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, a 3,500mAh battery, a dual/triple rear camera setup, a Hi-Fi Quad DAC, and a fingerprint sensor on the back.
7. LG V50 ThinQ
The LG V50 ThinQ was unveiled in February 2019 and it is the first 5G device coming from LG. This is still a decent phone in terms of build and hardware. It sports a 6.4-inch QHD+ OLED FullVision display, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, a triple rear camera setup, and a 4,000 mAh battery.
The most interesting feature of the V50 is the Dual Screen accessory which is LG’s answer to the folding phone craze. That is a case with a second display but it is not so practical to use in real life.
8. Xiaomi Black Shark 2
Xiaomi announced the Black Shark 2 in April 2019, 1 year after the launch of its first generation of high-end gaming smartphones. The phone can deliver a solid mobile gaming experience with powerful hardware like a 4,000 mAh battery, 27W fast-charging, a vapor chamber for a liquid cooling system, 128GB/256GB of internal storage, 6GB/8GB/12GB of RAM, and a 6.39-inch Samsung AMOLED display. Besides, it has some interesting features like a glowing logo on the back, an in-display fingerprint sensor, 48MP + 12MP dual rear cameras, and optional accessories for gamers.
The Black Shark 2 is available for the Chinese market only and pricing ranges from CNY 3,200 ($476) to CNY 4,200 ($626).
9. OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7T
OnePlus is expected to launch the OnePlus 7 in May 2019 and OnePlus 7T a few months later. Between the two phones, only the OnePlus 7T could have 5G. They are still considering the 5G option since it would make the price about $200-$300 higher.
10. Lenovo Z5 Pro GT
Lenovo Z5 Pro GT is the successor of the Lenovo Z5 Pro and this is officially the world’s first smartphone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip. Lenovo started taking pre-orders in China in January and the first customers received their phones in February 2019.
The Z5 Pro GT sports a 6.39-inch Super AMOLED display panel from Samsung, in-display fingerprint scanner, 16MP and 8MP dual front camera setup, 24MP and 16MP dual rear camera setup, 6GB/8GB/12GB RAM, 128GB/256GB/512GB storage, and 3,350mAh battery. It comes in a stylish design with a near bezel-less display and a slider to hide the notch.
The Z5 Pro GT is available in China only and the base 6GB/128GB variant costs CNY 2,698 ($400).
iQOO is a sub-brand of Vivo and they released a new gaming smartphone called IQOO in March 2019. Among them, the top-end iQOO Monster sports 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Notably, this phone supports 44W fast charge which means you can charge to 50% of the 4,000 mAh battery in 15 minutes and a full charge takes just 45 minutes. Besides, the IQOO comes with a 6.41-inch OLED display with FHD+ resolution, a triple rear-camera setup, in-display fingerprint scanner, a vapor chamber cooling system, and two shoulder pressure-sensitive buttons on the side for gaming.
Pricing of the iQOO ranges from 2998 Yuan ($450) to 4298 Yuan ($650) for the Chinese market.
12. ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G
Announced in February 2019, Axon 10 Pro 5G is the first 5G phone from ZTE and it is launched for the European and Chinese markets. The phone features a modern design with an edge-to-edge screen, a small teardrop-shaped notch, in-display fingerprint sensor, and a triple-sensor camera setup on the back.
Some more smartphones that would be powered by Snapdragon 855 include Nubia Red Magic 3, Pocophone F2, OPPO Reno, Vivo Apex 2019, Samsung Galaxy Note 10, and Google Pixel 4.
This is a developing article, I will keep updating when new smartphones are announced officially.