Later this month at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the first set of smartphones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC will become official. The chipset which is the successor to Snapdragon 835 was announced in December at an event in Hawaii.
The Snapdragon 845 is an octa-core chipset with four high-power Cortex A75 cores and four power-efficient Cortex A55 cores. The chipset is based on the second generation LPP (Low-Power Plus) process and is mass produced by Samsung on 10nm FinFET architecture like its predecessor. The San Diego-based chipmaker says the new Kryo 385 custom CPU at the heart of Snapdragon 845 brings 25 percent improvement in performance and improves the battery by around 3 percent.
With Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm is not just focusing on performance improvements but has renewed focus on imaging capability and security elements. Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 also brings the new X20 LTE modem, the successor to X16 modem found on Snapdragon 835. Qualcomm claims that X20 LTE modem will have a maximum throughput of 1.2Gbps with 12 streams of data and supports 5x carrier aggregation and it will acts as the precursor to X50 5G modem expected to be inside the smartphones launching in 2019.
Other key features included with Snapdragon 845 include a new image signal processor called Spectra 280 ISP supporting 4K video recording at 60fps and support for 10 bit color, high dynamic range and Rec 2020 color space. It will also enable shooting 720p slow-motion videos at 480fps and support for up to 7 cameras on a single device. The Snapdragon 845’s single major feature is akin to Secure Enclave on Apple’s A-series chipsets allowing for biometric data to be securely stored on device.
The Snapdragon 845 is a major improvement over Snapdragon 835 and it paves way for the future technologies that Qualcomm is working on including Augmented Reality and 5G wireless communication. While Qualcomm’s claims show massive gain in performance, the chipset has been put through benchmarks for the first time.
Qualcomm invited a select set of journalist to test the chipset on a reference device. The reference device featured a 5.5-inch LCD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, 6GB RAM and Snapdragon 845 clocked at 2.8GHz. It featured dual rear camera setup with 12-megapixel and 13-megapixel sensors and a 12-megapixel selfie camera. It uses USB-C port an misses out on headphone jack.
According to AnandTech, which has a detailed benchmark of the chipset, the Snapdragon 845 is faster than Snapdragon 835, Huawei’s Kirin 970 and Samsung’s Exynos 8895. In PCMark Work 2.0 benchmark, which tests how the device will perform in normal work scenario including web browsing, the Snapdragon 845 scored 7,946 compared to 6,908 scored by Huawei Mate 10 Pro and 6,618 scored by Pixel 2. As evident, the Snapdragon 845 is faster than any other mobile chipset powering Android smartphones in the market. In PCMark Work 2.0 Performance benchmark, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 recorded 17 percent improvement over Google Pixel 2 XL powered by Snapdragon 835.
In GeekBench 4, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 scored 0.97 in Single Threaded test measuring integer score per MHz. Its performance is better than 0.89 scored by Exynos 8895 and 0.84 scored by Snapdragon 835. The Snapdragon 845 is not bringing any significant performance gain to beat Apple iPhone X powered by A11 Bionic chipset, but it seems to be packing a better graphics processor.
The Snapdragon 845 scored 5,834 in 3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited, a synthetic benchmark used to test peak graphics performance. The score is significantly better than the 4,428 scored by iPhone X and 4,412 scored by Pixel 2 XL. The benchmark scores paint a clear picture that the Snapdragon 845 will bring major performance and graphics improvement to flagship smartphones launching later this month. However, readers must note that most benchmarks tell only half the story and real value is in how the software is optimized to handle all that raw power available from the new processor.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is expected to launch with Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ on February 25. The chipset is also likely to power Xiaomi’s updated Mi Mix 2S likely to launch at MWC 2018. Other smartphones expected to use the chipset include OnePlus 6, Xiaomi Mi 7, LG G7 and Nokia 10.