This year, most new flagship smartphones will be running on a 5nm chip and Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line offering is the Snapdragon 888. Now the chipmaker has introduced the Snapdragon 870 which sits between the latest Snapdragon 888 and last year’s Snapdragon 865+. Looking at the specs, this new “flagship” level chip looks more like a Snapdragon 865++.
The Snapdragon 870 is still based on a 7nm TSMC manufacturing process and it uses the exact same CPU cores as the 865 and 865+. The main difference is that the 870’s 1x Cortex A77-based Kryo 585 Prime core is now clocked up to 3.2GHz. As a comparison, the prime CPU core on the 865+ is clocked at 3.09GHz, while the 865 is clocked at 2.84GHz. The other 3x Cortex A77 (2.42GHz) performance and 4x Cortex A55 (1.80GHz) efficiency cores are unchanged on the 870.
The rest of the chip looks the same as last year’s flagship processor. It still has the same Adreno 650 GPU and for AI oriented tasks, it still gets the same 5th gen Qualcomm Hexagon 698 NPU. In a nutshell, the 870 can be considered as a 2nd refresh of the Snapdragon 865 or a higher-clocked Snapdragon 865+.
When paired with Qualcomm’s X55 modem, it can support 5G mmWave and sub-6GHz networks in both SA and NSA architecture. The solution promises to offer download speeds of up to 7.5Gbps and uploads of up to 3Gbps.
Overall, the Snapdragon 870 could be considered a slightly cheaper alternative to the Snapdragon 888 which would enable smartphone makers to offer premium “flagship” experience with 5G at a upper-mid-range price range. The new chip is expected to offer a slight CPU performance boost over the 865+, however, Qualcomm didn’t provide any exact percentage figures. According to Qualcomm, the new chip will be making its way to Motorola, IQoo, OnePlus, Oppo and Xiaomi.
At the moment, the Snapdragon 888 is powering the Xiaomi Mi 11 and the Galaxy S21 series (for US market). Xiaomi will soon introduce the Redmi K40 series and it’s expected to feature the Snapdragon 888 chip on the K40 Pro. It is also speculated that Xiaomi may use the Snapdragon 870 on the standard K40 (non-Pro) model.