Qualcomm unveiled its newest flagship chipset, the Snapdragon 888 5G, at its virtual Snapdragon Tech Summit just yesterday. The chipmakers shared a few highlights and advancements that Snapdragon 888 5G brings in tow, but it did not dive deeper into the details. Today, Qualcomm has opened up and shared everything there is to know about the Snapdragon 888 in detail.

So, let’s not waste any more time and take a look at the internal specifications of the Snapdragon 888 5G chipset:

Snapdragon 888 5G: All You Need to Know

  • CPU – Kryo 680 Cores

Snapdragon 888 5G is an octa-core chipset based on the 5nm process node. The chipset marches forward with the same 1+3+4 architecture as its predecessor, Snapdragon 865. It is, however, important to note that the Kryo 680 CPU now also includes a new Cortex-X1 core apart from the usual ARM Cortex-A series cores.

Snapdragon 888 5G chipset includes four high-efficiency Cortex-A55 cores clocked at up to 1.8GHz, three high-performance Cortex-A78 cores clocked at up to 2.4GHz, and one extreme performance Cortex-X1 core clocked at up to 2.84GHz. Qualcomm boasts that Kryo 680 will deliver up to 25% improvement in overall CPU performance.

Snapdragon 888 Block Diagram

  • 5G Connectivity

Unlike last year’s Snapdragon 865 where phone makers had to include a separate 5G modem alongside the chipset, Qualcomm has integrated the Snapdragon X60 modem aboard the Snapdragon 888 chipset.

As we discussed yesterday, the Snapdragon X60 5G modem supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G networks and can deliver speeds up to 7.5Gbps. The modem also supports global 5G multi-SIM, Dynamic Spectrum Sharing, carrier aggregation, and more.

Also, the Snapdragon 888 comes equipped with the Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 Mobile Connectivity System that was announced quite recently. It supports Wi-Fi 6 (offering up to 3.6Gbps speeds), new Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz), and Bluetooth 5.2 to deliver a crisp and reliable audio experience.

  • Adreno 660 GPU

The Kryo 680 CPU cores are backed by the new Adreno 660 GPU, which Qualcomm says “achieves its biggest performance leap yet, delivering up to 35% faster graphics rendering” compared to the previous-gen Snapdragon 865.

Building upon features like HDR gaming, 144FPS support, and updatable GPU drivers from last year, Snapdragon 888 5G brings impressive new gaming features. It supports variable rate shading, a feature that was earlier limited to PC games and consoles. It improves the rendering speeds by up to 30%, says Qualcomm and that’s just insane. This essentially means games should be able to run at higher frame rates for a longer period of time.

Other gaming improvements include a new Quick Touch feature and Anti-howl. While the former will be helpful in FPS games like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty, offering you 20% faster touch response, the latter will ensure you don’t get audio feedback (shrill sound) when playing multiplayer games on speaker in the same room.

We have shown off the new gaming, as well as camera features (discussed below), in the YouTube video right here:

  • Camera Improvements

In its official press note, Qualcomm boasts that Snapdragon 888 SoC will “transform mobile devices into professional-quality cameras.” The chipset comes equipped with a new Spectra 580 ISP. The biggest upgrade this time around is a triple Triple Image Signal Processor (ISP), which means you will be able to capture 4K HDR videos from three cameras at the same time.

The Spectra 580 ISP allows “users to capture photos and videos at 2.7 gigapixels per second or roughly 120 photos at 12MP resolution,” as revealed yesterday. It supports up to 200MP photos, 10-bit color depth, slo-mo at 960FPS, Dolby Vision video recording, multi-frame noise reduction, and a lot more.

camera - snapdragon 888

Snapdragon 888 phones will also enable you to capture burst photos in 120fps to make it simpler for you to click moving objects. The highlight will, however, have to be the new low light architecture that can apparently capture (bright) photos in as low as 0.1 lux lighting (near darkness). I can’t wait to get my hands on a Snapdragon 888 phone that would offer even better Night Mode to users.

  • AI Capabilities

Snapdragon 888 chipset also comes equipped with a 6th-Gen Qualcomm AI Engine, along with the new Hexagon 780 processor. The fused AI-accelerator architecture here helps provide an astounding 26 TOPS (tera operations per second) performance. Also, if we are to talk about the supported display specs, you will find up to QHD+ displays with 144Hz refresh rate and 4K displays with 60Hz refresh rate aboard phones powered by the new Snapdragon 888 chipset. It supports HDR10, 10-bit color depth, and more.

  • Security Upgrades

Apart from the standard security features such as Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit, Trusted Execution Environment, and cloud-based Wireless Edge Service, Snapdragon 888 5G brings two impressive features in tow.

First up, Snapdragon 888 supports Hypervisor, enabling the chipset to run multiple operating systems and keep their data isolated from each other. This means if you have personal, work, and other profiles – each with their own data, then you can instantly switch between them and they will remain completely separate from each other. This is great for security and privacy.

hypervisor - snapdragon 888

Also, Snapdragon 888 is “the world’s first camera compliant with the Content Authenticity Initiative”. This has been made possible by a collaboration with the leading photo and video verification platform, Truepic. Phones backed by this chipset can capture cryptographically-signed images. This means you will be able to “ensure the validity and security of images before you share, purchase, or utilize.” 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called Snapdragon 888 and not Snapdragon 875?

In response to TechCrunch, Qualcomm revealed that Snapdragon 888 follows the Snapdragon 865 because “The number 8 is also a lucky number around the world. For some, it signifies infinity, success, or inner wisdom, while for others it symbolizes luck. For example, in India, the number 8 is known as Ashtha, Asta, or Ashta in Sanskrit and is the number of wealth and abundance. While in Chinese numerology 888 is a representation of triple luck.”

When will Snapdragon 888 5G phones launch?

In the official press note, Qualcomm says that Snapdragon 888 5G phones will ‘be commercially available in the first quarter of 2021,’ by March 2021. The chipmaker already has 14 OEM partners, including Asus, Black Shark, Lenovo, LG, Meizu, Motorola, Nubia, Realme, OnePlus, OPPO, Sharp, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE.

We have already compiled a list of Snapdragon 888 5G phones launching in 2021 right here.

Which will be the first Snapdragon 888 phone?

The rumor mill suggests that Xiaomi is looking to announce its Mi 11 flagship series as early as January 2021. This means Mi 11 and Mi 11 Pro could possibly arrive as the first Snapdragon 888-powered phones.

It might closely be followed by the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, launching in early February. The event slides did not have any mention of the Korean phone maker though.

Snapdragon 888 5G: Lucky Charm for 2021 Android Phones

So yeah, Snapdragon 888 5G chipset truly brings along some impressive gaming and camera features and we cannot wait to get our hands on smartphones powered by this chipset. Will Snapdragon 888 5G prove to be a lucky charm for 2021 Android phones and help them take on Apple’s A14 Bionic chipset? We will have to wait and watch.

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