Qualcomm has finally unveiled the Snapdragon 888 Plus, the update expected in the middle of the year for its Snapdragon 888 phone chipset.
The 888 Plus brings improved CPU and AI performance, while also providing 5G support, and more excitingly we’ve already had five major phone manufacturers committed to using the new silicon.
Here’s what you need to know.
When will the Snapdragon 888 Plus arrive on the phones?
There’s always a bit of space between a chipset that’s announced and the first phones that use it to arrive, and that’s no different.
While a few brands have already unveiled their plans for the new chip, Qualcomm says the first phones using the 888+ are expected to be announced in Q3 2021 – namely July, August and September.
Which phones use the 888+?
The phones have not yet been announced in any detail, but we know a bit.
For one thing, five major brands were mentioned in Qualcomm’s press release pledging to use the new chip: Honor, Asus, Xiaomi, Vivo and Motorola.
Asus has promised that the phone will appear “in the ROG Phone”, suggesting that we can see an updated version of the ROG Phone 5 with the 888+.
Meanwhile Honor has gone a step further and revealed the name of its next flagship: Honor Magic 3. Following the recent announcement Honor 50 (the company’s first phone to ship with Google Mobile Services in the West in a few years), is said to be Honor’s first foldable phone, using the Magic line for experimental form factors.
What are the specifications of the Snapdragon 888 Plus?
Like previous ‘Plus’ versions of Qualcomm chipsets, the 888 Plus uses essentially the same 5nm hardware as the Snapdragon 888, but has upclocked the CPU core and AI to improve performance.
The Kryo 680 CPU is back, but the first Cortex-X1 core is now clocked at 2.995GHz (which Qualcomm rounds up to 3GHz), from 2.84GHz in the previous generation.
Meanwhile the AI Engine has seen an even bigger boost, with about a 20% improvement over the 888. It now offers 32 TOPS (trillion transactions per second), up from 26 TOPS just six months ago.
All other chip specifications remain unchanged, from the Adreno 660 GPU to the Snapdragon X60 5G modem that is integrated into the chip. Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and Qualcomm Quick Charge 5 also remain the same, as do the chip’s camera capabilities.
Here are the key specifications:
- 5nm architecture
- Integrated Snapdragon X60 5G modem, up to 7.5 Gbps downlink
- CPU Kryo 680, up to 2.995GHz
- Adreno 660 GPU, supports up to QHD + @ 144Hz
- Hexagon 780 AI processor, 32 TOPS
- Spectra 580 ISP, up to 2.7 gigapixels per second
- Up to 16 GB LPDDR5 RAM
- Qualcomm Quick Charge 5
Are there any 888+ benchmarks?
While Qualcomm hasn’t released any official benchmarks for the 888 Plus, a leak before launch gave us an unofficial look at the chip’s performance in Geekbench 5 – and crucially included the 3GHz core chip, so it looks like it will be legitimate.
The current benchmark shows a fairly modest jump though. The multi-core score of 3704 is above the average we’ve seen for 888 phones, but actually below better numbers we have seen – the Vivo X60 Pro + arrived in 3781 when we tried.
Of course, RAM and other factors contribute to the point, so it’s also likely that overall the 888+ outperforms the 888 in core performance, but don’t expect a huge jump.
And the Snapdragon 888 Pro, 888 4G and 888 Wi-Fi?
Before the 888 Plus was announced we had heard contrasting names for Qualcomm’s next chip.
For one, the first leaks refer to the 888 Pro instead of the 888 Plus. This is probably just a case of different potential names for the same chip, but it’s possible that the Pro will be a separate chip.
We first heard the name Snapdragon 888 Pro from the tipster Digital Chat Station, which shared via Weibo the word of the existence of the 888 Pro (automatically translated via Twitter below):
The national s888 pro manufacturers are also tested, q3 will have models, and maybe they are not exclusive overseas like last year. Is the super-large nuclear booster x1 or process improvement?
– Digital Chat Station (@chat_station)
April 24, 2021
Since then it is spoken (from u the same source) of a Snapdragon 888 WiFi and Snapdragon 888 4G waiting even in the wings.
These two could be specifically targeted at Huawei. The company’s inclusion on a U.S. trade blacklist prohibits it from buying 5G technology from U.S. producers, but it it is it has enabled some 4G and Wi-Fi components.
This means that if Qualcomm made a Snapdragon 888 4G then Huawei could theoretically use it to power the next P50 series, scheduled to be revealed later this summer.