The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 is here, bringing with it a raft of new features from boosted AI performance through to enormous 200Mp image processing.
But none of that upgraded performance matters without the phones to run it all – so which new phones will run on the Snapdragon 865 chipset? And when will the first 865 phones come out?
Confirmed Snapdragon 865 phones
Xiaomi Mi 10
There’s only one phone that’s been confirmed by name to run on the 865: the Xiaomi Mi 10, which we’re expecting to launch at MWC in February 2020, after the Mi 9 launched at the same event in 2019.
We don’t know much about the phone, but expect OTT imaging – either the 108Mp camera seen in the recent Mi Note 10 or a 64Mp setup backed up by multiple lenses.
It’s also rumoured to be one of the first phones to include Qualcomm’s new 3D Sonic Max ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor, which uses a much larger sensor area to allow you to scan two fingerprints simultaneously for a massive security improvement.
Xiaomi said it will launch 10+ 5G phones in 2020, and while some will be on other chips like the lower power Snapdragon 765, expect more Snapdragon 865 phones from Xiaomi to follow.
Oppo didn’t name its 865 phone, but confirmed that its ‘next flagship’ will use the chip and appear some time in Q1 2020 – probably also at MWC.
That won’t be the recently announced Reno 3 Pro though, which is a China-only device that will instead run on the Snapdragon 765.
Motorola ‘premium device’
Another one we know little about. Motorola appeared at Qualcomm’s Tech Summit to drop the news that it will follow the recent Razr reboot with a new ‘premium’ device running on Qualcomm’s top-end chip, and teased that it will come in ‘very early 2020’ – could this be the first 865 phone to hit the market?
Finally, one we know even less about. Qualcomm’s CEO Cristiano Amon casually dropped the news on stage that there will be ZTE Axon phones running on both the 865 and 765 in 2020, though these are unlikely to make it to many western markets.
Rumoured Snapdragon 865 phones
All of the above have been officially confirmed to some extent, but there are plenty of other phones we expect to include the flagship chipset, even if it hasn’t been confirmed.
It’s a very safe bet that the OnePlus 8, LG G9, and Sony’s next flagship will all be powered by the Snapdragon 865, after all of them used the 855 extensively in 2019.
Samsung is also likely to make use of it. While it has its own Exynos chips, it tends to release its flagships with different processors in different markets, so it’s likely that at least some versions of the Galaxy S11 will use the 865 – most likely in the US at least, with Europe more likely to get the Exynos variant.
Nokia (a.k.a. HMD Global) is a slightly special case. The company also appeared at Qualcomm’s tech summit to tease phones, but made a point of discussing the Snapdragon 765 rather than the flagship series.
We would expect Nokia to eventually drop a flagship with the 865, but it sounds like in the short-term its focus will be on mid-tier devices, so whatever 5G phone it launches at MWC will likely be 765-based.
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