Technical details of Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: without 5G included, 45% higher performance and better artificial intelligence Technical details of Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: without 5G included, 45% higher performance and better artificial intelligence
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After making official the arrival of the Snapdragon 855 , today during the second day of conferences at the Snapdragon Summit 2018, Qualcomm offered... Technical details of Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: without 5G included, 45% higher performance and better artificial intelligence 5

After making official the arrival of the Snapdragon 855 , today during the second day of conferences at the Snapdragon Summit 2018, Qualcomm offered the technical specifications of its new processor, which lets us see the progress with respect to the previous generation and what we can expect from the high range for this 2019.

After having shown some features of the Snapdragon 855, today it was time to dive into the processor’s guts to see what is inside, where the most remarkable thing is that it does not support 5G networks natively , but it will be a feature that will be sold separately.

No, the Snapdragon 855 does not come with 5G included
The new Snapdragon 855 includes the Qualcomm X24 modem, which will support speeds up to 2Gbps on Cat LTE. 20. That is, the Snapdragon 855 alone will not support 5G networks , since you will need the X50 modem to enable this function .

Once the Snapdragon 855 is added to the X50 modem, it will allow it to support faster mmWave networks and higher-order sub-6GHz 5G , that is, full compatibility with the new generation 5G networks, which will begin its deployment during 2019 in some regions of the world.

In addition to this, Qualcomm states that the Snapdragon 855 will be the world’s first processor with support for WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and 802.11a and millimeter wave radio, which in theory will offer speeds of up to 10Gbps at short range and 2Gbps at long range .

New CPU focused on improving efficiency

An important novelty in the Snapdragon 855 is the CPU Kryo 485, with which they assure us we will be facing a performance jump of 45% with respect to the 845, while the graphics will present an improvement in speed of up to 20%, this thanks to the new Adreno 640 GPU, which also has support for Vulkan 1.1, as well as OpenGL ES 3.2 and OpenCL 2.0 FP. HDR Playback Codec, to add support for HDR10 +, HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

The key to this important leap in performance is a new system of clusters called ‘Prime Core’ , which changes the disposition of the nuclei with respect to the previous year. This new arrangement presents a main core at 2.84 Ghz, three at 2.42 Ghz for performance and four at 1.80 Ghz focused on energy efficiency.

More and better artificial intelligence

In addition to this, the Snapdragon 855 will also incorporate the new Hexagon 690 processor, which will focus on software tasks assisted by neural networks, and which will include the fourth generation of the artificial intelligence engine of Qualcomm .

Once Kyro, Adreno and Hexagon work together, a new capacity for artificial intelligence development is promoted which, according to Qualcomm, is capable of performing more than 7 trillion operations per second . That is, three times more operations compared to the previous generation, and more than twice the performance of artificial intelligence tasks when compared with the processors of Huawei and Apple, according to the company.

In fact, Qualcomm says they have been working hand in hand with Google to improve the performance of TensorFlow on mobile devices, which would translate into improvements for photo and text recognition through Google Lens . This would allow to identify text in real time for translation tasks, as well as improvements in augmented reality applications.

According to Qualcomm, these improvements in artificial intelligence will benefit the neural network of Android, which would allow a better performance to voice assistants by offering better echo cancellation and noise suppression.

News for cameras

All these improvements in artificial intelligence will help, according to Qualcomm, to offer consumers a better experience when taking pictures or making videos. For example, now the Snapdragon 855 adds native support to videos in 4K HDR resolution at 60fps , and also adds the ability to have a live bokeh effect, while we are recording the video.

Of course, this blur will also be available for photographs before or after they have been taken, and even in images that have been captured by another device or downloaded from the internet. This would be achieved thanks to the so-called real-time segmentation algorithms , which would be one step above the fantastic portrait effect of Google Pixels.

As they explain, this will be possible thanks to the new Spectra 380 ISP image processor and an alliance with the artificial intelligence company Nalbi, with whom Qualcomm has been working for several months to add these algorithms, as well as new computer vision functions. which, in theory, will allow changes to be made in real time, such as changing the color of hair, eyes, skin, clothing and even the background before taking a photograph.

With all this, the Snapdragon 855 will be optimized for photos in HEIF format and HEVC video capture (H.265) that will allow energy savings and a reduction in storage space of up to 50%. Also, there will be support for double or triple cameras of up to 22 megapixels, or a single camera of up to 48 megapixels.


After his arrival at Apple two years ago, the fact that Qualcomm adds support to HEIF will make this format popular, as well as providing greater benefits since it is necessary to remember that JPG is not compatible with HDR, computer vision and integrated video files . Thanks to this support, smartphones with three cameras can take three photographs at the same time and save them as a single image file .

Finally, the experiences of virtual and augmented reality (mixed reality) will benefit from an increase in resolution of up to 8K to 360 degrees .

Opening the way for gaming smartphones

Already to close this avalanche of specifications, Qualcomm gave details about the improvements for gaming and entertainment, which seeks to take advantage of the wave of smartphones that have emerged this year. The first is the release of the Snapdragon Elite Gaming platform , which will focus on offering tools to fully exploit mobile video games.

With this, developers can choose between low quality graphics to focus on performance or, graphics at maximum resolution to take full advantage of devices focused on these capabilities.

Snapdragon Elite Gaming will also offer support for external devices, such as joysticks, Bluetooth commands, external monitors with 4K HDR resolution, as well as optimization in rendering and loading.

Within all this, there are also improvements in Qualcomm aptX Adaptive and Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo Plus technologies , with which we promise improvements in wireless audio.

On the other hand, the Snapdragon 855 will also premiere what they have dubbed Cinema Experience, which will offer for the first time support for HDR10 + in smartphones , 120fps video and an improvement in streaming video optimization for those who want to watch movies from their mobile .


OnePlus will be the first to release the Snapdragon 855

The surprise of the day was OnePlus, as Pete Lau, CEO of the company, took the stage to announce that the first flagship of 2019 with Snapdragon 855 will be a OnePlus , which will also be the first to have compatibility for 5G. We’ll see what they’re up to.

John Hartshorne

Senior IT engineer by the UPM of training and technical editor by profession, I have been writing in print and online media since the late 90s.