Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 vs Snapdragon 865 vs Snapdragon 888: Flagship Chips Compared

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Qualcomm usually launches a single 800-series flagship chipset, followed by a slightly souped-up Plus variant, each year. We made the leap from Snapdragon 865 SoC to the Snapdragon 888 SoC earlier last month. This is a significant jump as Snapdragon 888 is built on the 5nm process node, and also includes a prime ARM Cortex-X1 core. Now, we expected Qualcomm to unveil a new Snapdragon 700-series 5G chipset, a successor to the Snapdragon 765G, sometime in 2021. But today, the chipmaker has surprised us with the launch of another 800-series flagship chipset – the Snapdragon 870.

The Snapdragon 870 chipset is a successor to Snapdragon 865 and will power budget flagships in 2021. It can be called a rebranded version of the Snapdragon 865+ from last year. Qualcomm has merely increased the prime core clocked speed by 0.1GHz or 3% as compared to the Snapdragon 865+. The rest of the specifications remain pretty much the same. You can check out our in-depth comparison between the Snapdragon 870, Snapdragon 865, and Snapdragon 888 right here:

Snapdragon 870 vs Snapdragon 865 vs Snapdragon 888 Chipset: Specs Comparison

If you’re wondering how the Snapdragon 870 5G fits into Qualcomm’s flagship chipset lineup then you can check out our in-depth specs comparison and find out yourself:

 Snapdragon 865Snapdragon 870Snapdragon 888
CPUocta-core, Kryo 585octa-core, Kryo 585octa-core, Kryo 680
CPU cores1x 2.84GHz (Cortex-A77)
3x 2.4GHz (Cortex A77)
4x 1.8GHz (Cortex A55)
1x 3.2GHz (Cortex-A77)
3x 2.4GHz (Cortex A77)
4x 1.8GHz (Cortex A55)
1x 2.84GHz (Cortex-X1)
3x 2.4GHz (Cortex A78)
4x 1.8GHz (Cortex A55)
Process Node7nm FinFET7nm FinFET5nm Samsung LPE
GPUAdreno 650Adreno 650 (same clock speed as 865)Adreno 660
Machine Learning and AIHexagon 698Hexagon 698Hexagon 780
ISPSpectra 480Spectra 480Spectra 580
Memoryup to 16GB 2750MHz LPDDR5 RAMup to 16GB 2750MHz LPDDR5 RAMup to 16GB 3200MHz LPDDR5 RAM
Display Supportup to 4K @ 60 Hz
QHD+ @ 144 Hz
HDR10+, HDR10
up to 4K @ 60 Hz
QHD+ @ 144 Hz
HDR10+, HDR10
up to 4K @ 60 Hz
QHD+ @ 144 Hz
HDR10+, HDR10,
Dolby Vision, HLG
Camera CapabilityUp to 200 MP ; 25MP dual cameraUp to 200 MP ; 25 MP dual cameraUp to 200 MP; 64MP dual camera and 28 MP triple camera
Video Capability8K @ 30fps
4K @ 120fps
720p @ 960fps
8K @ 30fps
4K @ 120fps
720p @ 960fps
8K @ 30fps
4K @ 120fps
720p @ 960fps
ModemSnapdragon X55 5GSnapdragon X55 5GSnapdragon X60 5G
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.1Bluetooth 5.2Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-FiWi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 6E
Charging SupportQuick Charge 4+Quick Charge 4+Quick Charge 5

As you can see in the table above, the Snapdragon 870 5G brings minor improvements over the Snapdragon 865 chipset. It is manufactured on a 7nm process node, includes the Adreno 650 GPU, Hexagon 698 DSP, Quick Charge 4.0+ support, and more — the same as its predecessor.

The Snapdragon 888 5G chipset is still ahead in terms of raw performance and power efficiency. It is based on a newer 5nm process node, supports the ARM Cortex-X1 core, Quick Charge 5 (for up to 100W charging speeds), and Wi-Fi 6E support in tow. Now, this begs us to question – why did Qualcomm launch the Snapdragon 870 chipset?

Snapdragon 870 5G: Budget Flagship Chipset for 2021

This is possibly the first time Qualcomm has refreshed an older-gen Snapdragon 800-series chipset and given it a minor boost to make it look new. The Snapdragon 870 5G chipset has launched to give consumers the impression that Qualcomm has brought a new budget flagship chipset in the market. It comfortably sits between the Snapdragon 765G 5G and Snapdragon 888 5G.

Snapdragon 870 offers a meager 0.1GHz boost in clock speed in comparison to last year’s Snapdragon 865+ chipset.

Is Snapdragon 870 5G a ‘new budget flagship chipset’ though? It is Snapdragon 865+ with a meager 0.1GHz boost in clock speed. Qualcomm has worked with TSMC to offer a little more juice with the Snapdragon 865+ chipset. It isn’t essentially a new chipset. But, it has been named Snapdragon 870 5G to attract users to a new chipset in 2021. I mean, Qualcomm is helping out its OEM partners ‘destigmatize the launch of budget flagship phones’ with a year-old chipset.

In the coming weeks, you will see news articles state so-and-so Xiaomi phone arrived with the “recently launched Snapdragon 870 chipset.” This gives users the impression that they are getting the latest and greatest with the device. But, if the company chose to include the Snapdragon 865+ in its phones in 2021, then the articles would say that the phone has last year’s chipset. This depreciates the value of the phone in the user’s eye, who’s looking to buy the latest technology.

Snapdragon 870 helps the phone makers break free of this image and launch budget flagships without having to worry about the judgment. We can expect to see a larger number of budget flagships launch in 2021 as compared to last year.

What Phones Will Be Powered by Snapdragon 870?

Currently, there are three companies that are expected to launch Snapdragon 870 5G phones in the coming weeks. This includes Motorola, Xiaomi, and OnePlus, as per the rumors making rounds on the Internet. Read on to find out more details about these phones:

  • Motorola Edge S

Motorola has already confirmed that it will unveil the Motorola Edge S (codenamed Nio for global markets) powered by Snapdragon 870 in China on 26th January. It will feature a dual-camera punch-hole cutout for selfies, quad rear-cameras, side-mounted fingerprint sensor, and more.

motorola edge S teaser - snapdragon 870

  • Redmi K40 Series

Though the Redmi K40 series is confirmed to arrive with the Snapdragon 888 chipset in tow, the rumor mill suggests that there will be another model with the Snapdragon 870 chipset under the hood. This leak comes from reliable tipster Digital Chat Station and it mentioned an ‘unreleased sub-flagship processor,’ which has been unveiled by Qualcomm today.

  • OnePlus 9 Lite

Last but not least, the rumors of OnePlus 9 Lite launching alongside the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro have been around for a long time now. We assumed it will arrive with last year’s Snapdragon 865 or 865+ chipset in tow. But, Qualcomm has confirmed that OnePlus is also working on a device with the Snapdragon 870 under the hood.

So yeah, stay tuned for the launch of a plethora of Snapdragon 870 5G-powered budget flagship phones in 2021. Which phone launch are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below.

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