This is the Snapdragon 888 5G, the Qualcomm heart of the top range of 2021

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The arrival of the Snapdragon 888 5G processor becomes the great launch of Qualcomm this year 2020. It is its great bet both for top 2021 mobiles as well as for laptops and Windows laptops with ARM.

The American company Qualcomm has just announced its new Snapdragon 888 5G mobile platform. With it comes the base on which manufacturers will build the next top mobile range, that is, the flagships that will see the light of day in 2021.

This chip is about which we have been talking about leaks like Snapdragon 875, following the evolution in nomenclature until now. However, Qualcomm has gone straight to those three eights.

We are facing a chip that has improved the internal architecture in terms of performance per cycle. We do not see an improvement in clock frequency, but we do see that the new chips are more efficient per clock cycle in addition to integrating a better GPU and taking several steps forward in the ISP and the IA process.

 

Snapdragon 888 5G Snapdragon 865 5G
CPU Config 1 x 2.84 GHz (Cortex X1) Kryo 680
3 x 2.42 GHz (Cortex A78)
4 x 1.8 GHz (Cortex A55)
1 x 2.84GHz (Cortex A77)
3 x 2.4GHz (Cortex A77)
4 x 1.8GHz (Cortex-A55)
GPU Adreno 660 Adreno 650
DSP Hexagon 780 Hexagon 698
Process 5nm 7nm FinFET
Camera 200Mpx single | 28 Mpx triple with Zero Shutter Lag
64 + 25 Mpx dual camera
Hybrid AF | HDR video and photo (10 bit) | multi-frame noise reduction
200MP single / 64MP single with Zero Shutter Lag
24MP dual camera
Hybrid AF, HDR video. Multi-frame noise reduction
Video capture – 8K @ 30fps, 4K @ 120 fps (64 Mpx photo), 720 @ 960fps, HDR10 + Video, HLG, Dolby Vision
– 4K HDR with background blur
– Up to 3 4K HDR videos at once
8K @ 30fps, 4K UHD @ 120fps, 720p @ 960fps
Video playback 8K, 360 degree, 4K up to 120fps, 10-bit, H.265 and VP9 video decoder 8K, 360 degree, 4K up to 120fps, 10-bit, H.265 and VP9 video decoder
Load Quick Charge 5 Quick Charge 4+
Quick Charge AI
Modem X60 5G & RF System with mmWave support
7.500 Mbps down
3.000 Mbps up
X55 5G & RF system
7.500 Mbps down
3.000 Mbps up

Improvements of the new Snapdragon 888 5G compared to the previous generation

Qualcomm’s new platform brings improvements in practically every field not only in terms of performance, but it will enable a premium experience in photography, improvements in artificial intelligence, greater compatibility with 5G networks and much more. Let’s break it down by category.

Enhanced 5G connectivity plus Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 support

In terms of connectivity, this new Snapdragon 888 integrates the X60 5G Modem-RF that allows connectivity to 5G Sub6 networks with carrier aggregation and mmWave, which enables connection speeds of up to 7.5 Gbps.

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It is a modem that also offers better global coverage of 5G networks thanks to the use of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) technology. It will have global 5G support and will also allow the simultaneous use of several SIMs in 5G networks.

If we talk about the connection to local networks: the chip integrates the Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 mobile connectivity system that offers support for Wi-Fi 6 networks (up to 3.6 Gbps) and also 6 GHz Wi-Fi 6E networks.

In terms of Bluetooth, the Snapdragon 888 offers support for a double antenna and allows using the Bluetooth 5.2 standard and high-quality sound through the aptX standard.

Improvements in artificial intelligence thanks to the Hexagon 780

The Snapdragon 888 completely redesigns the Qualcomm AI engine in this sixth generation with the Hexagon 780 which is capable of processing information very efficiently and quickly with up to 26 TOPS. This chip offers DSP-level optimizations that offload multitasking to the main processor and run them more efficiently thanks to an onboard memory system for these accelerators.

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In addition to this, this platform also has the second generation of Qualcomm Sensing Hub, which integrates a low-power AI processor that is always on and allows advanced functions such as screen power, activity detection or detection of audio events, such as invoke the voice assistant.

All of this is achieved through contextual alertness that combines 5G, WiFi and Bluetooth. And all this also spiced up with the possibility of running applications optimized for this AI chip.

Qualcomm Spectra 580 and its triple performance in imaging

The Snapdragon 888 integrates a Spectra 580 chip that has a triple Image Signal Processor (ISP), which allows the option of simultaneously capturing images from three different sensors in real-time and processing up to 2.7 gigapixels. And what goes further, you can capture bursts of up to 120 fps or, for example, capture three 4K HDR videos at the same time.

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The ability to record 4K HDR video brings improvements in terms of color processing, contrast and detail. In addition, Qualcomm Spectra 580 ISP arrives with an architecture that manages to capture better images in low light, even practiced in the dark.

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And yes, the option to capture images in 10 bits is included, that is, in HDR format and save them as HEIF.

Gaming enhancements like Variable Rate Shading

We are talking about a processor that will be one of the most capable of the next year 2021 and this brings with it a secret weapon for gaming: Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite Gaming. This makes it possible to play in HDR modes very smoothly. In fact, it is the first time that Variable Rate Shading (VRS) technology has been integrated into a mobile device.

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This technology makes it possible to improve performance by identifying parts of the image that do not change between frames and avoiding processing. In short, an improvement of up to 30% in graphics performance is achieved according to scenes. This can also be improved for the future thanks to the possibility of updating the GPU drivers.

In addition, Snapdragon 888 also integrates Qualcomm Game Quick Touch technology that improves touch response up to 20%, something critical in competitive games where latency is of great importance, something that is in line with the speeds and low latency of 5G connectivity and Wi-Fi 6.

CPU performance increased by 25%

This chip has notable improvements in terms of CPU since, in addition to being manufactured in 5nm, it has a configuration of 4 low-power cores that work at 1.8 GHz, 3 high-performance Kryo 680 cores and the maximum performance core, based on the Cortex X1 and runs at 2.84 GHz.

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According to data from Qualcomm, a 25% performance increase in terms of CPU is achieved with this configuration and if we add the improvement in terms of GPU with Adreno 660, we find a winning combination.

Something that is different from the previous generation is that thanks to the 5nm manufacturing, the heat generation is lower and top performance can be maintained for long periods of time.

Safety above all

This Snapdragon 888 has a Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit, in addition to the well-known Qualcomm Trusted Execution Environment and support from Qualcomm Wireless Edge Services.

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Qualcomm’s new processor uses a Type-1 hypervisor that allows data to be isolated between applications and multiple operating systems on the same device. In addition, the processor can capture photographs and seal them under encryption thanks to the collaboration with Truepic that allows them to verify their authenticity afterwards.

Snapdragon 888 vs Apple A14, it seems that Qualcomm has finally hit the key

Something that we have been seeing before the launch and yes, before testing devices with this new chip, is the leaked performance data in benchmark applications such as Antutu or Geekbench.

It seems that this year Qualcomm does catch up with the Apple A14 in terms of performance in various facets and is even ahead of some of them.

Snapdragon 888 A14 Bionic Difference
AnTuTu Benchmark 740,000 564,899 + 31%
GeekBench Single | Multi 1,105 | 3,512 1,585 | 3,962  -29% | -eleven%

It seems that Qualcomm has integrated many features into this processor that will set the trend for 2021 and that we had already glimpsed with the latest iPhone 12.

This next year is going to be the year of HDR and 10-bit computing in both photography and video. The performance of these chips is much higher than in previous years as well as it is impressive to see how it behaves in games for a long time since they practically do not get hot enough to decrease performance.

These mobile platforms will have a significant impact on consumption and that is that at the same mAh level both the Snapdragon 888 and the Apple A14 will achieve greater autonomy than previous generations of chips.

After a turbulent 2020 with a global pandemic, the next 2021 awaits us loaded with technological innovations and a future that seems to point in the direction of the move from x86 to ARM in computers, global 5G connectivity and great mobile performance.

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