Galaxy S20 could be crazy-fast. We tested the Snapdragon 865 chip likely to power Samsung’s phone

Testing Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 865 chip provides us a peek at speedier telephones to return this 12 months.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Signs recommend that Samsung’s upcoming flagship phone, rumored to be known as the Galaxy S20 and not the Galaxy S11, could possibly be the primary in 2020 to run its photographygaming features5G-ready data connection and stay maps navigation off the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chip. What does that imply? Up to 35% extra energy effectivity and as much as 25% extra highly effective speeds total. I received an opportunity to check the brand new Snapdragon chip on a working reference gadget. The outcomes? Impressive.

Considering how briskly telephones had been in 2019 at processing power-intensive video streams and superior images on prime of day-to-day duties, getting double-digit enhancements from an already supercharged chipset is a giant win. While the working prototype mannequin I examined with wasn’t a “real” phone, it is actual sufficient to offer us an thought of what we’d get with Samsung’s upcoming telephones.

Scroll all the way down to see the benchmarking check scores beneath, and specs for Qualcomm’s reference phone.


Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 chip is for premium telephones.


Speed enhancements on chipsets are all the time welcome. How many pictures have you ever missed as a result of the digicam will not launch in time? A zippier chip can pace up how lengthy it takes to finish a activity and transfer on to the subsequent one. The sooner you’ll be able to take that image, the earlier you’ll be able to stick with it with the subsequent second.

But a sooner processor may handle a bigger or extra difficult activity in a shorter time period than a slower chip, which could make it attainable to do one thing you would not have been in a position to do or needed to do on final 12 months’s gadget. 

Back to our images instance, you would possibly lose persistence ready 10 seconds to course of a complicated evening mode shot, but when it takes solely 5 seconds, it’s possible you’ll end up snapping extra of these images. That will enrich your expertise and get you extra images you’ll be able to get pleasure from and share. For gaming and movies, that would add as much as better element, or a smoother picture.

So, simply how briskly is the Snapdragon 865?

Qualcomm says its 865 chipset brings speeds about 25% sooner than final 12 months’s already blazing Snapdragon 855 CPU. In truth, lots of our check outcomes far exceeded this determine, with one benchmark outcome leaping up so far as 77%. But earlier than you blast the confetti cannons, there are some things it’s best to know.

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The check was run on reference units that Qualcomm handed out to journalists at its annual Snapdragon Summit in December. These are working units that come preloaded with benchmarking apps. They run on Snapdragon 865, with a number of cameras and sharp screens (once more, see the specs beneath for those who’re curious). Reference units are helpful for testing apps and options, however they don’t seem to be branded telephones that you simply would possibly sooner or later purchase.

Since there are such a lot of elements that go into making a marketable gadget, there could possibly be a niche between the check outcomes right here and what you get in your phone. 

Keep in thoughts, too, that benchmarking assessments are artificial — they attempt to approximate a real-world situation, however aren’t measuring real-world outcomes. So your expertise may be totally different once you truly open the app and course of the picture, or play an actual recreation somewhat than working by means of a collection of managed photographs. 


The again of Qualcomm’s reference gadget reveals off antennas and the digicam sensors.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

In the tip, the proportion of efficiency acquire on a completed phone might not matter to you as a lot as what you are able to do with the gadget. So why even use benchmarking assessments? Because they are often helpful for making a baseline you can examine to the outcomes from present units. It’s a technique to attempt to normalize all of the variables that include a tool, from the characteristic set to the software program that every phone-maker makes use of to tune the handset. 

For this check, I in contrast the 865 reference phone with the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, which runs Snapdragon 855, and the OnePlus 7T, which makes use of Qualcomm’s souped-up 855 Plus chipset and has extra RAM than the Note 10 Plus. This combo makes the 7T (and 7T 5G McLaren edition) theoretically the quickest Android telephones you should buy at this time. 

Because Qualcomm’s pace declare applies to the Snapdragon 855 and never the 855 Plus, you may see a smaller hole between the 865 and the sooner 855 Plus mannequin. In one check, the 865 truly scored decrease than the OnePlus 7T with the 855 Plus, even when averaging two assessments.

Finally, my reference gadget got here with one thing known as Performance Mode turned on. This would yield even increased scores, but it surely additionally takes a better toll on the battery. My testing accomplice and I turned off Performance Mode to deliver our outcomes nearer to the real-world expertise.

Here are the scores from widespread benchmarking assessments that measure CPU efficiency, graphics processing and so forth.

Snapdragon 865 benchmarking check outcomes

Snapdragon 865 reference gadget Galaxy Note 10 Plus with Snapdragon 855 OnePlus 7T with Snapdragon 855 Plus Percentage acquire over Snapdragon 855 Percentage acquire over Snapdragon 855 Plus
GeekBench 5 single-core 926 635 790 46% 17%
GeekBench 5 multi-core 3,452 2,414 2,828 43% 22%
GeekBench compute benchmark RenderScript 2,882 2,446 2,712 18% 6%
PCMark – Work 2 10,203 9,999 10,595 2% -4%
GFxBench ES 3.1 1080 Manhattan offscreen 1 89 fps 69 fps 79 fps 29% 13%
GFxBench ES 3.1 1080 Carchase offscreen 1 51 fps 42 fps 47 fps 21% 9%
JetStream 2 116.62 65.928 66.729 77% 75%
AnTuTu 557,906 457,954 489,194 22% 17%

What these Snapdragon 865 processor assessments actually imply

If you purchase a brand new phone in 2020 that makes use of Qualcomm’s new chip, you won’t load up these benchmarking apps to see how shortly it renders gaming graphics or simulates a fancy workload. That’s not a foul factor.

Each branded phone has its personal set of particular substances that make it carry out sooner or slower than others, even when they use the identical chip.

What issues is that telephones that run this chipset must be considerably sooner than telephones utilizing the 855. That makes it extra superior, but it surely doesn’t suggest that 2019’s fashions are solely good for the trash heap. They’re nonetheless a lot quick, and might be a superb cheaper different to telephones coming in 2020.

That mentioned, for those who’re all the time waiting for the subsequent development, these 865 benchmarks recommend you’ll course of extra imagery and duties sooner with out draining the battery, a mix that, together with ultrafast 5G speeds that may pull down nice quantities of knowledge, might open up new methods for us to make use of our telephones in 2020 and after.

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Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 reference design specs

  • 5.9-inch display screen with 2,880×1,440-pixel decision
  • Two rear cameras, one front-facing
  • Storage: 128GB
  • CPU: 4xA77 plus 4xA55
  • Memory: 12GB LP5 twin rank

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