Qualcomm rules the roost when it comes to the processors powering the latest and greatest Android phones, and expectations around its next flagship chip are mounting; assumed to be the Snapdragon 875.
Most Android phones (plus a few other products, like the Oculus Quest 2) rely on US-based chip-maker Qualcomm’s SoCs (system-on-chips) to cover everything from raw compute power to dedicated imaging and graphical processors – for high-fidelity gaming. There are other contenders on the market, Samsung and MediaTek to name two prominent players, but – particularly in the Android space – Qualcomm rules supreme.
This is partly because the company offers a wealth of options for mobile manufacturers to choose from, ranging from entry-level to flagship; complementing the array of smartphones that they are ultimately designed to power. At the top end is the company’s Snapdragon 800 series chips, currently fronted by the Snapdragon 865 and the mid-cycle refresh that is the Snapdragon 865 Plus.
With the previous generation’s top chip (relative to the 865) being the Snapdragon 855, it’s assumed that the next milestone silicon the company is set to unveil will be called the Snapdragon 875.
When is the Snapdragon 875 coming out?
As for when the Snapdragon 875 is expected to make its debut, it’s assumed that – as in previous years – Qualcomm will use its annual Snapdragon Tech Summit event to serve as the stage on which the 875 will launch.
The (all-virtual this year) event kicks off on 1 December – where Qualcomm will likely make its biggest announcements – with the event concluding on 2 December. The more modest Snapdragon 775 is also expected to launch alongside the 875.
Which phones will feature the Snapdragon 875?
Following the announcement of this year’s Snapdragon Tech Summit, Xiaomi’s Lu Weibing confirmed that his company’s next flagship phones would be among the first to feature a Snapdragon 875. It’s assumed that the devices in question will be the debut entries in the Mi 11 series, successors to 2020’s Xiaomi Mi 10 smartphone family.
It’s been reported that Oppo is one of the other prominent named manufacturers with (a) flagship phone(s) scheduled for 2021 that’ll be powered by a Snapdragon 875; assumed to be the Oppo Find X3 and potentially, the Find X3 Pro.
Related: Best Oppo phones 2020
Similarly, it looks as though Samsung is also poised to bring the Snapdragon 875 to its heavily-rumoured Galaxy S21/S30 smartphones, with some also running on the company’s own Exynos chips; dependant on the market in which they’re destined for (Europe, Korea and Australia typically received Exynos-powered Galaxy S and Note phones each year, while the US benefits from Snapdragon-powered models).
It’s also been reported that LG, who usually is among the first manufacturers to release a phone with the latest top Snapdragon chip isn’t likely to offer such a device in the first half of 2021, with its name being notably absent from initial order lists.
Snapdragon 875 details
While TSMC has served as the principal manufacturer of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips of late, recent reports by Business Korea and Hankyung suggest that it’s Samsung who is exclusively undertaking production of the 875.
Both sites point to the 875 leveraging a new, more efficient, 5nm process (akin to Apple’s latest A14 Bionic chip, found inside this year’s iPhone 12 series) and being one of the first chipsets to make use of ARM’s new X1 CPU core.
With Samsung’s involvement, it’s thought that the development of the 875 directly informs the development of the company’s next own-brand chipset too, the Exynos 1000.
In fact, early benchmarking scores of the 875 (running on Galaxy S21/S30 and Mi 11 hardware, respectively) have been mentioned on Korean site Clien, with the S21/S30’s single and multi-core Geekbench 5 scores coming in at 1159 and 4090, while the Mi 11’s scores clock in at 1102 and 4113.
Meanwhile, Exynos scores pulled from pre-release Galaxy S21/S30 hardware actually land a little higher than their Snapdragon 875 equivalents, coming in at 1302 and 4205 for single and multi-core testing.
For reference, in our Galaxy S20 review, the Exynos 990-powered phone scored 2299 in multi-core testing, while the Snapdragon 865-powered S20 FE scored 2934 in the same test. Both scores highlight a notable gap in performance, if these new leaked Snapdragon 875/Exynos 1000 scores are to be believed.
Check back for more on the Snapdragon 875 as leaks continue to trickle out and we’ll update this feature with official information, once the chip launches on 1 December.
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