Why Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 5G is Game Changing

Big power on small devices

Key Takeaways

  • Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 870 5G will provide more power than previous generations.
  • The Snapdragon 870 5G will bring desktop quality to mobile devices.
  • The first devices with the 870 5G will arrive in Q1 2021.
Promo image for Qualcomm's Snapdragon 870 5G

Smartphones continue to bring more power to our fingertips, and Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 870 5G could play a pivotal role in the next generation of mobile computing.

Samsung and Apple might have just released their latest flagship phones, but chipset manufacturer Qualcomm is already looking towards the future. The company recently announced the Snapdragon 870 5G, the latest in its 5G lineup. Like previous iterations, the 870 5G will offer better connectivity, more power, and a renewed focus on bringing desktop quality to mobile devices.

"The 870 delivers best-in-class 5G performance with peak speeds up to 7.5 Gbps and supports all the most widely used regions and frequency bands," Weston Happ, product technology manager at Merchant Maverick, said via email. "This makes the 870 a truly global chip with the ability to deliver streaming content at desktop-like quality levels to meet the demands of the most discerning mobile customers."

You’ve Got the Power

Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, mobile devices have steadily evolved away from the basic services they once offered and more towards the larger roles we’ve relied on computers to fulfill.

Simple applications like calculators, calendars, and poor quality photography soon gave way to more advanced elements like 3D games, photo editing, and even professional-level camera systems. With each iteration of the Snapdragon chipset, Qualcomm has worked to optimize its chip, and the 870 5G builds off all that experience to provide desktop-quality gaming directly on your smartphone.

A boosted Kyro 585 CPU is at the center of the Snapdragon 870 5G, bringing with it core clock speeds of up to 3.2GHz—currently the fastest available in the mobile realm (as Apple hasn’t listed any actual core speeds for its A14 Bionic chipsets). These higher speeds will help the 870 5G keep up with your smartphone’s workload without any worry about it slowing down. 

Pokemon Go running on a Samsung phone with an Electabuzz on screen
PG / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images / Getty Images

The Kyro 585 CPU also will come in handy when playing the latest games, which will make use of that boosted core clock speed alongside the chipset’s included Adreno 650 GPU. A big difference between the 870 5G and Qualcomm’s previous chips, though, is the ability to update the graphics drivers, which will help address performance issues without requiring a full OS update.

Qualcomm also says the 870 5G will support desktop-level rendering, hyper-realistic graphics, and even real-time performance optimization. The new chipset also will feature Qualcomm Game Smoother, which will work alongside Adreno Fast Blend to remove janky frames and render complex visuals seamlessly.

Living in a Mobile World

Better speeds and processing power is a must, especially in a world where so many still rely on their phones to perform tasks they used to complete on a desktop.

What makes the advancements found in devices like the Snapdragon 870 5G so important is how the new chipset allows us to blur the lines separating desktop and mobile computing. The less we have to rely on different devices, the more open technology becomes to everyone. 

Photography is a perfect example of just how much influence mobile devices can have on global industries. Before the recent rise of "professional-grade" cameras in smartphones, photographers relied on expensive cameras to do their jobs. These cameras often required multiple lenses and a computer capable of running photo editing software without running into hitches. Sometimes, photographers even needed to own multiple cameras to do their job.

Now, though, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 5G could further negate the need for would-be photographers to own all of that equipment. Of course, this is just one example of how the latest smartphones help open new doors for industries that often require a high buy-in to get started.

"The 870 also will help deliver the next-gen phone camera capabilities through its Spectra 480 Image Signal Processor," Happ explained in our email interview. "This processor will allow phone manufacturers to provide up to 200 megapixel photo capture and 8K video capture at 30 FPS with 10-bit color depth. With specs like these, the days of carrying a dedicated camera, even for the most important events, may become a thing of the past."

Technology can make our lives easier, and the Snapdragon 870 5G is Qualcomm’s next step in the process. Faster speeds, better connectivity, and desktop quality on mobile devices is a huge step forward for the world of tomorrow.

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