Seemingly on schedule with its tick-tock cycle, Qualcomm is announcing a half-step iteration to its Snapdragon 865 mobile platform, the Snapdragon 865 Plus. With it come the predictable minor performance bumps, but the system-on-a-chip does cross a major threshold in the realm of Wi-Fi.

The 865 Plus comes with the same Snapdragon X55 wireless modem with 5G capability, eight Kryo 585 Prime computing cores that give a 10% cycle boost from the original 585 cores to 3.1GHz, and a 10% overclock for the Adreno 650 GPU. As a short aside, we've also got Bluetooth 5.2 for the first time, too.

The most noticeable improvement users will experience is access to spacious Wi-Fi capacity on the newly opened-up 6GHz band — Wi-Fi 6E — with the new FastConnect 6900 subsystem. The 6900 can deliver throughput of up to 3.6Gbps on dual bands of simultaneous traffic, giving the congested 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands some relief.

Bandwidth is top priority for mobile gamers and, befittingly, manufacturers of a couple of new gaming phones are eager to claim some brags. ASUS, which tagged along for the 855 Plus announcement last year to say that the ROG Phone 2 would be the first to have the chip, is back again proclaiming that its ROG Phone 3 will be one of the first to have the 865 Plus this year. The key difference this time is that it will have to share the crown with Lenovo and its Legion gaming phone.

Both devices are set for launch parties this month. Other 865 Plus phones will also debut within the quarter.

Press Release

Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G Mobile Platform

—Upgraded Flagship Mobile Platform to Power Second Half 2020 Commercial Smartphones —

SAN DIEGO — July 8, 2020 — Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. unveiled the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 865 Plus 5G Mobile Platform, a follow-on to the flagship Snapdragon 865 that has powered more than 140 devices (announced or in development) – the mos tindividual premium-tier designs powered by a single mobile platform this year. The new Snapdragon 865 Plus is designed to deliver increased performance across the board for superior gameplay and insanely fast Qualcomm® Snapdragon Elite Gaming™ experiences, truly global 5G, and ultra-intuitive AI.

“As we work to scale 5G, we continue to invest in our premium tier, 8-series mobile platforms, to push the envelope in terms of performance and power efficiency and deliver the next generation of camera, AI and gaming experiences,” said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager, mobile, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Building upon the success of
Snapdragon 865, the new Snapdragon 865 Plus will deliver enhanced performance for the next wave of flagship smartphones.”

Snapdragon 865 Plus with the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X55 5G Modem-RF System enables truly global 5G, world-class gaming, and the latest 5th generation Qualcomm® AI Engine for seamless camera, audio, and gaming experiences. With a full arsenal of Snapdragon Elite Gaming premium features, Snapdragon 865 Plus delivers desktop-quality gaming with first-to-mobile features like updateable GPU drivers and desktop forward rendering, ultra-smooth 5G gameplay at lightning speeds of up to 144 fps, and True 10-bit HDR gaming to provide cinematic detail in over a billion shades of color. Snapdragon 865 Plus also offers the following enhancements over Snapdragon 865:

  • Qualcomm® Kryo™ 585 CPU Prime core clock speed at up to 3.1GHz(10% increase)
  • Qualcomm® Adreno™ 650GPU offers 10% faster graphics rendering
  • Qualcomm® FastConnect™ 6900compatibility –boasting staggering Wi-Fi speeds for up to 3.6 Gbps –the fastest of any mobile Wi-Fi offering in the industry –delivering performance fit for premium devices and experiences

“ASUS is excited to once again offer users the best possible mobile gaming experience with the next generation ROG Phone 3, which will be powered by the new Snapdragon 865 Plus Mobile Platform,” said Bryan Chang, general manager of smartphone business unit, ASUS. “Full specifications for the ROG Phone 3 will be announced in the coming weeks, but the addition of the Snapdragon 865 Plus ensures that the overall performance will take yet another leap forward.”

“Innovating smarter, faster technology for higher performance and more immersive gameplay has always been a hallmark of Lenovo™ Legion,” said Jerry Tsao, vice president of Lenovo’s Mobile Gaming Group Emerging Markets. “Three years after the launch of the Lenovo Legion™ PC portfolio, we’re bringing our beloved gaming sub-brand’s core values of speed and powerful performance to 5G mobile gaming – where Lenovo Legion will be amongst the first to offer the new Snapdragon 865 Plus in our expanding family of gaming devices this year. Lenovo has a long history of co-engineering amazing consumer experiences with Qualcomm Technologies and we can’t wait to share more soon.”

Commercial devices based on Snapdragon 865 Plus are expected to be announced in the third quarter of 2020.