Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 is here, combines 5G, AI, and XR for consumers

We previously talked about how an early report from TechCrunch had spilled the beans on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC. Well, Qualcomm has now officially launched the latest flagship processor. Announced on Day 2 of the Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit, the processor is the first chipset in the world to bring 5G capabilities to consumer devices. What’s more is that it also brings forth improvements for AI and XR.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: Architecture

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 is based on the 7nm architecture. It comes with the Qualcomm Adreno 640 GPU alongside a tri-cluster octa-core Kryo 485 CPU. As for connectivity, it makes use of the Snapdragon X24 modem alongside the Spectra 380 ISP for 5G support. Lastly, there’s also the Qualcomm Processor Security chipset which offers better fingerprint support.

Also read: Exynos 9820 vs A12 Bionic v Kirin 980 v Snapdragon 845: the flagship SoC battle

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: CPU

Speaking about the CPU, the Snapdragon 855 packs in an octa-core Kryo 485 CPU. This is a tri-cluster chipset. It makes use of 3 performance cores clocked at 2.42GHz. As for power efficiency, there are 4 efficiency cores clocked at 1.80GHz. Lastly, there is a single Prime Core which is clocked at a whopping 2.84GHz. 

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: 5G Connectivity and more

As for the basic connectivity module, the Snapdragon 855 makes use of LTE Cat.20. It improves upon the LTE Cat.18 sported on the Snapdragon 845. However, that’s not all. The Snapdragon 855 will be the world’s first chipset to feature support for 5G spectrum. Additionally, it also makes use of a new WiFi chipset. It will offer speeds up to 10Gbps with support for 60GHz WiFi frequency.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: 3D Sonic Sensor

The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 comes with a Secure Processing Unit featuring mobile payments and Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor. It is, essentially, an under-display fingerprint sensor solution that uses ultrasonic waves, unlike optical under-display fingerprint sensors which use light. This should make the sensor more secure and accurate than its alternative. Qualcomm states that there’s also an on-device Qualcomm Mobile Security chipset. It is said to be similar to Google’s Titan M chipset to preserve’s the user’s secure data.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: 4K Portrait Videos

Qualcomm showcased a demo where the Snapdragon 855 will support portrait videos in real time. The feature tracks the main subject, so you can even swap out the background for something else, say a tropical island setting. Even with all the computational muscle required, Qualcomm claims you’ll still see at least four times the power savings. As for normal videography, the Snapdragon 855 chip can capture 4K video at 60fps. The company also promised that the chipset will now support 4K with HDR10+. Moving up from the HDR gamut already available on the Snapdragon 845.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: More storage space

With smartphones now offering higher storage space, we know that users still prefer storing data physically as opposed to the cloud. Qualcomm understands that. That is why the company is betting big on offering more space for storing photos. This is done thanks to the support for HEIF. HEIF, or high-efficiency image format, squeezes down your photos to half the size of an ordinary JPEG. What’s more is that it does so without any loss in photo quality. As such, you will be able to store a lot more images.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: Snapdragon Elite Gaming and Entertainment

The company is betting big on entertainment and gaming. And that is why they’ve rolled out Snapdragon Elite Gaming platform. It is basically a marketing banner that encompasses a host of new features. First off, the new platform brings support for Vulkan 1.1 API. Qualcomm says it’s a 20 percent performance improvement over the competing OpenGL ES. What’s more is that the company claims that the Snapdragon 855 will be able to churn out steadier FPS at a constant rate.

Next up, the Snapdragon 855 will now support the HDR10+ and Dolby Vision standards for brighter, more vivid displays. There’s also hardware-accelerated H.265 and VP9 video support. The company claims that users will see a 7x power savings compared to playing back video without it. 

Also read: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 vs Snapdragon 845: What’s new?

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 availability

OnePlus’ co-founder Pete Lau was on stage during the launch of the Snapdragon 855. He has confirmed that OnePlus will officially be the first OEM to launch a device in 2019 with the Snapdragon 855 SoC. They will, however, be followed by ever manufacturer later on. We have both CES 2019 and MWC 2019 scheduled for next year in January and February respectively. As such, it wouldn’t be surprising to see most OEMs announce, and even launch, their Snapdragon 855 equipped smartphones. Especially thanks to the improvements it offers over the Snapdragon 845 processor.

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Varun Mirchandani

Varun is your go-to guy for everything related to technology. Someone with a keen interest in the Android world, he installs a new custom ROM every week and is always living on the bleeding edge of technology. When not writing for Mr. Phone, you can find him gaming on his beastly gaming rig which is also his prized possession.