The new Snapdragon 845 is a major step forward from its predecessor, the Snapdragon 835. Our very own Gary Sims recently put the 845 through its paces and found gains all over the place. One of the more exciting improvements was a gain of 20-40 percent in GPU performance. That increase in performance will keep FPS smooth, which helps when playing games like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite.
So what are the best Snapdragon 845 phones out there? Let’s find out.
1. Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The latest phone in the Galaxy Note series has some extremely high-end hardware inside. Even if you get the lowest priced model, you still get a phone with a 6.4-inch display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of onboard storage, a microSD slot for even more storage, and a big 4,000mAh battery that should last you at least a day, or perhaps more, on a full charge. You can even get a model with 8GB of RAM and a massive 512GB of storage.
The S-Pen in the Note 9 has also been revamped, adding Bluetooth LE support. That allows you to use it as a remote controller to open apps, control the camera, and more. The Note 9 can also work in a PC desktop mode, thanks to Samsung’s newest version of its DeX technology. You only need to connect the phone to a monitor or TV with a USB-C to HDMI adapter and cable. All of this comes at a cost; you will have to pay $1,000 to get the 6GB/128GB model and $1,250 for the 8GB/512GB model.
2. Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
They still sport the same single rear cameras as the Pixel 2, but there are a ton of camera software improvements here. Top Shot mode will take multiple pictures of your subject and recommend the best one. Night Sight brings next-level low-light photography thanks to computational photography. Finally, there’s a mode called Motion Auto Focus that lets the Pixel 3 focus on a subject in a video, no matter how much they move around.
Both phones have 18:9 displays (well, 18.5:9 for the XL), yet they still look very different from one another. The Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch Full HD+ screen that makes it look like a smaller Pixel 2 XL, while the Pixel 3 XL has a big ol’ notch at the top of its screen. Both phones also come with Qi wireless charging support, no headphone jack (womp womp), and still manage to squeeze in front-facing speakers.
3. OnePlus 6T
The OnePlus 6T doesn’t provide the ultra-luxurious experience you’ll get with the Galaxy Note 9 or iPhone Xs, but it does provide 90 percent of what those phones offer for roughly half the price — starts at $550. You get the most top-of-the-line specs out there, fantastic build quality, and decent cameras. The OnePlus 6T is also the first smartphone in the U.S. to include an in-display fingerprint sensor.
If you happen to hate notches, the 6T is probably the closest you’ll get to a notch-less display without going the Samsung route. OnePlus included super sexy waterdrop notch on the 6T that makes it looks like Google didn’t even try with the Pixel 3 XL.
If you’re trying to boycott all of the $1,000 phones out there or just want a solid smartphone that works well, buy the OnePlus 6T. We don’t think you’ll regret it.
4. LG G7 ThinQ/G7 Plus ThinQ
The LG G7 ThinQ offers flagship specs, boasting the Snapdragon 845 chipset, 4 or 6GB of RAM, expandable memory, great new audio features, and an all-around better camera over the G6. Our LG G7 review pointed out that LG deserves more attention for their high-quality phones, but wanted more battery life and wasn’t sure about some of the notch gimmicks, but the phone was no slouch.
It’s one of the few high-end phones that still sport a headphone jack and also features a Quad DAC for an improved audio experience. The handset launched with a price tag of $750 but is currently available for $630 on Amazon. It’s also frequently on sale, so there are better deals to be had.
5. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
There are a few things that make the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 one of the best Snapdragon 845 phones you can get. The handset impresses with its slider design that allows for a high screen-to-body ratio of 93.4 percent. The front-facing cameras are hidden from sight when not in use and show up on top when you push down the display. Speaking of the cameras, there are also two at the back, which are capable of capturing some great looking shots — check out a few samples here.
In addition to the Snapdragon 845 chipset, the Mi Mix 3 also sports up to 10GB of RAM, a 6.39-inch Full HD+ display, and dual frequency GPS first seen on the Xiaomi Mi 8. The phone supports wireless charging but doesn’t have an IP rating or a headphone jack. It’s a great option for those looking for a powerful smartphone on a budget, as the Mi Mix 3 starts at just 500 euros (~$565). Unfortunately, it was not officially released in the U.S.
6. Asus ZenFone 5Z
Asus caught some flack when it unveiled the first in a series of Android phones with a notch. Despite that, the 6.2-inch Asus ZenFone 5Z is packed with value, with a Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6GB RAM, 64GB of storage, dual-SIM support, and a 3,300 mAh battery. It’s priced at $450, which sets this up as a solid competitor for companies like OnePlus and Honor. The Asus ZenFone 5Z is available now, unlocked, via B&H.
7. Xiaomi Black Shark Helo
The Xiaomi Black Shark Helo is a gaming-focused phone that comes with an optional joystick controller attachment. It sports a 6-inch Full HD+ display, the Snapdragon 845 chipset, up to 10GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The phone also packs a 4,000mAh battery, houses a dedicated “Shark key” for entering a high-performance gaming mode, and has customizable LED strips on the sides. Its design definitely stands out, although it’s not for everyone.
Unfortunately, the phone is only available in China at the moment, where it starts at 3,200 yuan (~$475). However, you can order yours from various Chinese online retailers including AliExpress, which is selling it for around $500.
8. Xiaomi Pocophone F1
The Xiaomi Pocophone F1 may be the biggest value ever for a smartphone. It has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor inside, along with a 5.99-inch Full HD+ display, and a large 4,000mAh battery. You can get this phone with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage in India for the price of just 22,000 rupees, or about $310. On the old continent, pricing starts at 330 euros, which is a steal if you ask me.
The Pocophone F1 offers high-end specs and a mid-range price tag.
You can also get the phone in other memory configurations, all the way up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for a still outstanding price of 28,000 rupees (~$400) in India. The Xiaomi Pocophone F1 is sold in Asia, parts of Europe, the Middle East and parts of South America, but it is not available in the U.S.
9. Oppo Find X
The Oppo Find X has one of the highest screen-to-body ratios at 93 percent. It has very little bezel space, thanks to the fact that both the front and rear cameras are hidden inside the phone, and rise up from the top when needed via a mechanical sliding part. In addition to the Snapdragon 845, the Oppo Find X has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It’s available now in India for the price of 59,000 rupees, which translates to around $835. Unfortunately, the phone wasn’t released in the U.S. or Europe.
10. Vivo Nex Dual Display
What makes this phone special is that it has two displays. There’s a 6.39-inch screen up front and a secondary 5.49-inch panel on the back that lets you see yourself when taking selfies. The phone doesn’t have a dedicated selfie camera on the front, so you’ll have to use the rear ones for all your needs. Due to the lack of the selfie camera and a notch, the front of the phone is almost all screen.
Other specs and features of the handset include an in-display fingerprint scanner, 10GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. There’s even a headphone jack on board. The bad news is that the Vivo Nex Dual Display isn’t available in a lot of markets outside China at the moment — but you can get it from GearBest for $760.
11. Razer Phone 2
Like the first Razer Phone, the Razer Phone 2 has 8GB of RAM and a big 5.7-inch display with a 120Ghz refresh rate. Combined with Ultra Motion, which syncs up the phone’s GPU with the high refresh rate, these features allow games made for the phone to have silky smooth framerates with little to no lag or screen tearing. In addition, the screen on the Razer Phone 2 is 50 percent brighter than the first Razer Phone.
Besides the display features, the Razer Phone 2 also has a big 4,000mAh battery and supports wireless charging. It also has the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, loud twin front speakers with Dolby Atmos support, and more. Software improvements like Game Booster let owners set customized performance setups for each game. The cameras in the Razer Phone 2 are highly improved compared to the original, and the phone incorporates the company’s Chroma LED lighting in the back for the Razer logo.
You can purchase it now from Razer unlocked for $650. You can also get the Raiji Mobile game controller that’s made specifically for the Razer Phone 2, although it works with any Android phone.
12. Asus ROG Phone
Asus announced its entry into the gaming smartphone market in June with the ROG Phone. Asus wisely used its well known Republic of Gamers (ROG) PC brand for the phone, and it already looks like the most feature-rich device for this market niche yet.
The Asus ROG Phone has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset inside, but with a clock speed boost to 2.96Ghz (the normal speed for the processor is 2.8Ghz). It has a 6-inch AMOLED 2,160 x 1,080 display with a 90Hz refresh rate. While that’s higher than the normal 60Hz rate on most phones, it doesn’t match the 120Hz rate on the older Razer Phone. It’s being sold with 8GB of RAM, either 128GB or 512GB of onboard storage and a 4,000mAh battery. Look for a dual 12MP and 8MP rear camera setup on this gaming phone, along with an 8MP front-facing camera and dual speakers on the front.
The phone has some interesting gaming features. It has three AirTrigger ultrasonic touch sensors to serve as shoulder triggers when holding the phone in landscape. In addition to its USB Type-C port on the bottom, the Asus ROG phone has an extra USB Type-C port on the side, so you can connect the phone up to an optional WiGig gaming dock. Finally, there’s an X Mode, activated by squeezing the sides of the ROG Phone, to increase the hardware performance of the phone.
The Asus ROG Phone in its 128GB version is for sale now on Amazon, priced at $900. The 512GB version goes for $1,100.
13. Sony Xperia XZ3
The Sony Xperia XZ3 is a classic example of Sony’s commitment to offering a phone with all the latest features. The phone launched in early October with Android 9 Pie installed, making it the first phone with Pie out of the box, even ahead of Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. The Xperia XZ3 has a 6-inch Quad HD OLED display with an 18:9 screen ratio and smaller bezels, at least compared to older Xperia phones.
The Xperia XZ3 has a curved display, just like Samsung's latest Galaxy S and Note phones.
Inside, it has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, along with 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of onboard storage. It just has one rear camera sensor, but with a solid 19MP camera it should be an excellent snapper for most folks. It even includes a super slow-mo feature for video clips in 1080p resolution. There’s also a 13MP front-facing camera on board. You can double tap the edges of the phone’s screen to launch a feature called SideSense. Basically, it shows you a small app drawer with the apps that the phone’s machine learning believes you will want to use the most, which can be a handy feature.
All of this comes in a pretty expensive package. The Sony Xperia XZ3 costs $800 on Amazon, with your choice of three colors (black, forest green, and white silver). Keep in mind the phone will only work on GSM wireless carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile.
14. LG V40 ThinQ
The V40 is LG’s latest and greatest smartphone from the OEM. Its biggest feature is the triple camera setup on the back with a standard 12MP lens, a 16MP wide-angle lens, and a 12MP telephoto lens. The flagship also sports two cameras on the front, allowing you to add the bokeh effect to selfies.
In addition to being camera-focused, the device was also designed for music lovers. Not only does it have a headphone jack, which is slowly becoming a thing of the past, it also has a 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC for improved audio quality.
The V40 is a large device, sporting a 6.4-inch QHD+ display with a notch. Like many other 2018 flagships, it packs a Snapdragon 845 and 6GB of RAM under the hood. The battery comes in at 3,300mAh, making it quite a bit smaller than the ones of the Galaxy Note 9 and Huawei P20 Pro — both have a 4,000mAh battery. The phone will set you back $800.
These are the best Snapdragon 845 phones out there in our opinion, although there are plenty of others to choose from. Which ones would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments!