Snapdragon 870 5G gives OnePlus, Moto & more a cheaper flagship chip

Qualcomm has revealed its newest mobile chipset, with the Snapdragon 870 5G slotting in just below the most potent Snapdragon 888 as the company expands its flagship series. Successor to the Snapdragon 865 Plus, it will give Android phone-makers another option in the price/performance balance, with manufacturers like Motorola, OnePlus, OPPO, and Xiaomi already onboard.

According to Qualcomm, indeed, it was the requests of phone-makers like those that led to the Snapdragon 870's development. It'll feature a tweaked version of the Kryo 585 CPU – with a prime core clock speed of up to 3.2 GHz – along with the Adreno 650 GPU for graphics, and the Hexagon 698 AI processor for up to 15 TOPS of performance.

That comes fairly close to the Snapdragon 888's configuration, though the expectation is that the Snapdragon 870 will be considerably more affordable for OEMs than Qualcomm's current flagship. In the process, it should expand the range of phone options beneath the most expensive devices – such as the new Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra announced last week – but without making as many compromises as a Snapdragon 700 Series chipset.

As for networking, the Snapdragon 870 will be paired with the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF system. That'll support 5G in both mmWave and Sub-6 GHz flavors, with peak speeds up to 7.5 Gbps, network-depending. There's also compatibility with TFF, FDD, and DSS, along with global multi-SIM. WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 is included too, with the FastConnect 6800 Subsystem, supporting aptX Adaptive Audio and Qualcomm's TrueWireless Technology.

The result should be phones that can handle 10-bit HDR gaming with updatable GPU drivers, Dolby Vision video capture, and up to 384 kHz/32-bit PCM audio. On the camera side, the Spectra 480 image signal processor can handle up to a 200-megapixel single sensor, or do 4K video capture with simultaneous 64-megapixel still image capture. With dual cameras, it'll shoot up to 25-megapixel images at 30fps, and there's 720p 960fps slow-motion video support as well.

The Snapdragon 870 can drive up to 4K 60Hz displays, or QHD+ at 144Hz. It'll also handle a 4K 60Hz external display. There's QuickCharge 4+ support too, along with support for Qualcomm's 3D Sonic and 3D Sonic Max in-display fingerprint sensors.

As always, just how many of these features actually make their way to commercial devices is down to the phone-makers themselves. So, too, are launch timescales. Still, Qualcomm says that it expects commercial devices based on the Snapdragon 870 to be announced soon, sometime in Q1 2020, with Motorola, iQOO, OnePlus, OPPO, and Xiaomi all planning to add the 5G chipset to their new devices.