Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G chipset launched; will power phones from OnePlus, Xiaomi and others

Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G mobile platform is the second flagship chipset from the San Diego, California-based company this year. After launching Snapdragon 888 as the flagship mobile processor for Android smartphones last month, Qualcomm is further consolidating its lead in the flagship mobile processor segment.

Also Read: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 with Snapdragon X60 5G modem announced for 2021 flagship smartphones

At the launch of Snapdragon 888, there were questions on why the chipset was not called the Snapdragon 875. Now, Qualcomm is answering that question by launching Snapdragon 870 as the true successor to Snapdragon 865 and 865+. Here is a look at key features of the new flagship mobile platform.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G: OEM support

This is the first time that Qualcomm is launching two flagship mobile processors within a gap of just one month. Generally, Qualcomm prefers to refresh its first half flagship processor with a “Plus” model towards the second half. There could also be the cost factor with Snapdragon 870 being more affordable than Snapdragon 888.

Xiaomi Mi 11, iQOO 7 and Samsung Galaxy S21 series are the three devices launched with Snapdragon 888 so far. Qualcomm has confirmed that Motorola, iQOO, OnePlus, OPPO and Xiaomi will launch devices powered by Snapdragon 870 5G mobile platform. This could mean a big mix in the flagship smartphone market.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G: key features

Qualcomm Snapdragon 870

Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 is basically Snapdragon 865++

Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G (Part Number: SM8250-AC) Mobile Platform is based on the 7nm process. The Snapdragon 888, on the other hand, is based on the new 5nm process. Like Snapdragon 865+ and 865 before it, the processor includes support for USB version 3.1 and full suite of Snapdragon Elite gaming features. It won’t be unfair to call Snapdragon 870 basically Snapdragon 865++.

We are looking at an octa-core processor with Kryo 585 cores with clock speed up to 3.2GHz. This is the same core architecture that we first saw on the Snapdragon 865 SoC. The clock speed jumped from 2.84GHz to 3.1GHz with the launch of Snapdragon 865+ and now another minor bump in speed comes in the form of Snapdragon 870.

Beyond the clock speed, it is hard to find a difference between Snapdragon 870 and 865 series. The new chip has the same on-device display support of 4K at 60Hz and QHD+ at 144Hz. There is also support for 10-bit colour depth and Rec. 2020 colour gamut, HDR10 and HDR10+. If you liked the display on any flagship from last year then you won’t find any reason to complain with devices powered by the Snapdragon 870 chipset.

The chipset brings maximum support for 16GB memory with LPDDR5 memory up to 2750MHz and LPDDR4x memory up to 2133MHz. The graphics duty is handled by Adreno 650 GPU with Vulkan 1.1 API support and hardware-accelerated H.265 and VP9 decoder. It brings support for HDR playback codec including HDR10+, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision.

There is also a Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System capable of downlink speed up to 7.5Gbps and uplink up to 3Gbps. It supports 5G mmWave and sub-6GHz, standalone and non-standalone modes. Like the Snapdragon 865 series, there is Dynamic Spectrum Sharing which would be useful for carriers in markets like India, where 4G base is huge, to transition to 5G.

Other features include FastConnect 6800 System bringing support for WiFi 6 with peak speed of 1.774Gbps. There is also integrated Bluetooth version 5.2 with support for aptX Voice audio. It also includes support for Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit, Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor and 3D Sonic Max. We only get Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ support and not QC5 seen on the Snapdragon 888.

Lastly, the Snapdragon 870 5G Mobile platform relies on dual 14-bit Qualcomm Spectra 480 Image Signal Processor. There is support for up to 200MP photo capture. On the camera setup, OEMs can go with dual 25MP cameras at 30fps with zero shutter lag and up to 64MP single camera at 30fps with zero shutter lag. It brings support for 8K videos at 30fps, 4K at 120fps and 720p slow-motion videos at 960fps.

Over the years, we have seen how Qualcomm’s flagship mobile platform from the previous year makes its way to a more affordable price segment. With the Snapdragon 870 5G mobile platform, Qualcomm is essentially rebranding 865+ with a minor bump in clock speed. The Snapdragon 870 follows the launch of Snapdragon 678 and Snapdragon 480 and it signifies that Qualcomm wants to offer 5G chipsets across price point.