Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 in hand front

Update, April 23, 2020 (4:57AM ET): As per our original post below, Qualcomm was expected to launch the Snapdragon 865 Plus as a mild upgrade over the current 865 flagship SoC. However, Meizu’s CMO Wan Zhiqiang (via MyDrivers) recently commented on Weibo saying that there won’t be a Snapdragon 865 Plus this year.

The executive did not add anything further so we’re unsure if his statement is accurate. It’s entirely possible that Qualcomm will upgrade the 865 and call it something else. We previously saw 2016’s Snapdragon 820 followed up by the Snapdragon 821, for example.

Then again, Qualcomm could ditch the upgrade altogether as it hasn’t always offered a Plus variant each year. The Snapdragon 835 and 845 didn’t see Plus options, for one.

We’ve reached out to Qualcomm to get more clarity on the matter. We’ll update this article if and when we get a response from the chipmaker.

Original article, February 17, 2020 (3:30 AM ET): The Snapdragon 865 is a beast of a processor, offering 8K recording, support for 200MP+ cameras, and great graphics performance. But at least one source reports that a Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset is coming later this year.

Frequent tipster Digital Chat Station has taken to Weibo to report the supposed existence of the Snapdragon 865 Plus. More specifically, the leaker says the processor is coming in Q3 of this year. Check out the machine-translated version of the post below.

Digital Chat Station reports the existence of the Snapdragon 865 Plus.Weibo/Digital Chat Station

Qualcomm has occasionally released slightly improved versions of its flagship chipsets, most recently launching the Snapdragon 855 Plus roughly half a year after launching the Snapdragon 855. The firm also released the Snapdragon 821 in 2016, after launching the Snapdragon 820 months before.

But the company didn’t release an improved Snapdragon 835 and 845 though, so there’s clearly no guarantee of a Plus variant every year.

How could Qualcomm improve upon the Snapdragon 865 though? Well, the Snapdragon 855 Plus bumped up the GPU and prime CPU core clock speeds by ~4% and ~15% respectively. We found that the GPU improvement made the Plus processor better suited to high framerate displays than the standard Snapdragon 855. The vanilla 865 brings support for 144Hz displays, so extra GPU grunt could help maintain a more constant refresh rate.

Don’t expect any major changes from a Snapdragon 865 Plus though, such as a smaller manufacturing process, new GPU/CPU, or integrated 5G modem.

Still, here’s hoping we do see a Plus upgrade, because it could theoretically lead to a price drop for standard Snapdragon 865 chips (and therefore cheaper 5G phones). After all, a Xiaomi executive says the Mi 10 price increase is at least partially due to the Snapdragon 865’s high price.

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