With brands trying to pitch gaming smartphones based on the Snapdragon 855 Plus mobile platform, the question arises – is the Snapdragon 855 Plus really necessary for mobile gaming?
Find out what the Snapdragon 855 Plus offers over the “regular” Snapdragon 855, and if they will really affect your gaming experience!
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus
Announced in December 2018, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus is a mid-cycle refresh of the flagship Snapdragon 855 mobile platform.
Since it started shipping in the first quarter of 2019, some smartphone brands have been promoting it as a “must-have” feature for the ultimate mobile gaming experience.
The ASUS ROG Phone 2, for example, boasts of it as a key selling point. As does the upcoming Black Shark 2 Pro.
Snapdragon 855 Plus vs Snapdragon 855 : What’s Different?
In Qualcomm’s product brief, they even claimed that it would deliver “incredible gains” in performance, and that your gaming experience will take on “a new dimension“.
WOW… That’s some pitch…
But as bombastic as it sounds, the Snapdragon 855 Plus only differs from the Qualcomm 855 in two aspects :
- its single prime Kryo 485 Gold CPU core has a slightly faster clock speed of 2.96 GHz
- its Adreno 640 GPU is clocked at 672 MHz, instead of 585 MHz
Its other features are completely identical to the “regular” Snapdragon 855, as you can see in our comparison table :
|Specifications||Snapdragon 855 Plus||Snapdragon 855|
|Fabrication Process||7 nm FinFET|
|Prime CPU Core||1 x Kryo 485 Gold (2.96 GHz)||1 x Kryo 485 Gold (2.84 GHz)|
|Performance CPU Cores||3 x Kryo 485 Gold (2.42 GHz)|
|Low-Power CPU Cores||4 x Kryo 485 Silver (1.8 GHz)|
|Graphics Processor||Adreno 640 (672 MHz)||Adreno 640 (585 MHz)|
|Modem||Snapdragon X24 LTE Modem|
|LTE Peak Download Speed||2 Gbps (7 x 20 MHz carrier aggregation)|
|LTE Peak Download Speed||316 Mbps (3 x 20 MHz carrier aggregation)|
|Image Signal Processor||Spectra 380 + Dual 14-bit CV-ISPs|
The Snapdragon 855 Plus CPU Performance Explained
The Snapdragon 855 Plus has eight CPU cores, but only its single prime Kryo 485 Gold core has a 4.2% higher clock speed.
This gives single-threaded workloads a small 4% boost in performance. However, you should expect to see the performance difference only in benchmarks.
With multi-threaded workloads, the effect will be even more insignificant and definitely not noticeable.
The Snapdragon 855 Plus GPU Performance Explained
Its Adreno 640 GPU, on the other hand, received a significant 15% boost in clock speed. This will improve its graphics performance significantly.
However, whether you can actually feel a difference highly depends on the smartphone.
- If it’s being used to drive a 4K and/or 120 Hz display, it could mean the difference between silky-smooth and occasionally jerky gameplay.
- But if it’s just driving a Full HD and/or 60 Hz display… then it’s probably being used for marketing purposes because you won’t be able to tell the difference.
Remember – the regular Snapdragon 855 is a gaming powerhouse in its own right. You haven’t heard anyone complaining about its gaming performance, have you?
Is It Worth Paying Extra For The Snapdragon 855 Plus?
That would be like asking if it’s worth paying extra for a Lamborghini.
For the ultra-rich, they will probably settle for nothing less than the very best money can buy.
But for the rest of us – the economic hoi polloi, it really depends on how much extra brands want you to pay for an 855 Plus smartphone.
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If you want to use your smartphone primarily as a gaming device, you should logically not pay more than a 15% premium. After all, the most you can expect is a 15% boost in graphics performance.
We personally wouldn’t pay more than a 5% price premium for what’s really an overclocked Snapdragon 855.
But take note too the other features of the gaming smartphone, like a high frame rate or HDR display. It may be worth paying a higher price premium for those features…
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