The processor which will power the next wave of Android flagships — Snapdragon 855 — is now official. At a two-hour-long keynote, Qualcomm today introduced its new high-end chipset and detailed a gazillion features it has managed to pack in a unit that weighs just a hair over a gram, most of which you can not find even on Apple’s A12 Bionic. Therefore, here’s everything the Snapdragon 855 has that the A12 Bionic doesn’t.
The Snapdragon 855 is a stepping stone for Qualcomm’s quest into dominating the 5G space. For the past few years, the company has been trying to figure out all the hurdles 5G presents on mobile such as developing QTM052 mmWave antenna modules to overcome the spectrum’s short range.
The processor features both the Snapdragon X50 and Snapdragon X24 modems to offer both LTE and 5G compatibility. Apple’s A12 Bionic, on the other hand, is limited to 4G for now and the iPhone maker is not planning to announce a 5G-enabled one before 2020. While that’s probably the right decision, it is reassuring to know that the $1000 flagship phone you buy in 2019 won’t feel dated when 5G networks come out.
In addition to 5G, the Snapdragon 855 also brings a host of advancements for WiFi connectivity. It supports the latest WiFi 6 standard that promises 67% better power efficiency, much more secure connections through WPA3, and more. Plus, the 802.11ay-based platform can connect to 60 GHz Wi-Fi through which you can achieve speeds of up to 10GBps.
2 Billion More Operations Per Second
With manufacturers adding an artificially intelligent element to nearly corner of your phone, it’s more critical than ever that the processor underneath them is capable of handling all those demands. To accommodate the soaring machine learning trends, Qualcomm has fitted its 4th generation AI Engine on the Snapdragon 855 which can execute a staggering 7 trillion operations per second which is roughly two trillion more than Apple’s 12 Bionic.
3D Sonic Sensor
The Snapdragon 855 can also be paired with Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Sensor, an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint technology. The reason why the chip maker believes its solution stands out from the rest is the fact that it can map your finger’s most infinitesimal qualities like the ridges and pores that are unique to you. What’s more, Qualcomm says that unlike other implementations, the 3D Sonic Sensor can function even if your finger is wet or oily. Since it’s ultrasonic, the company claims they’ve also managed to overcome the delays and common challenges in-display sensors carry.
A Videographer’s Paradise
The camera is one of the cornerstones of the Snapdragon 855 but the biggest engineering feat it comes with is the ability to record 4K HDR clips at 60fps with Portrait Mode. If that sounds like a lot to take in, that’s because it is and nothing short of a technical marvel. The new processor can take videos at the highest quality possible on phones and at the same time, sense depth to produce continuous bokeh. Previously, the depth-of-field modes were restricted to still shots but with the Snapdragon 855, Qualcomm changes that.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 also takes a step forward from HDR10 and brings support for HDR10+ playback as well as video recording. The most critical difference between HDR10 and HDR10+ is essentially the presence of more colors (1 Billion+). Unlike HDR10, HDR10 Plus’ metadata can also be dynamically tuned for specific scenes to produce a more natural and balanced output.