Is Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 Really A Flagship Processor In 2021?


Poco is all set to launch the Poco X3 Pro, which is the first smartphone to launch with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 in India. However, the new chipset is nothing but the rebranded Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+, which was launched two years back, powering devices like the Asus ROG Phone 2 and the OnePlus 7T Pro.


Is Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 Really A Flagship Processor In 2021?

Qualcomm has now relaunched the Snapdragon 885+ SoC as the Snapdragon 860, and the only difference between the two is the name. Except that, both mobile platforms share an exactly identical specs-sheet. On the Qualcomm website, the company has actually unified the specs page of the Snapdragon 860 and the Snapdragon 855+, which again indicates that it is the same processor with a new nomenclature.

In comparison, the Snapdragon 870 is also based on the Snapdragon 865+. However, the Snapdragon 870 offers a slightly higher CPU clock speed, and the Snapdragon 870 offers a high 3.2GHz CPU clock speed, which is the highest clock speed even when compared to the Snapdragon 888.

Is Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 Really A Flagship Processor In 2021?

Why Snapdragon 860/Snapdragon 855+ Is No More A Flagship Chipset

The Snapdragon 860 is based on 7nm fabrication, which makes it an efficient processor. However, it is not as efficient as the Snapdragon 888 or the Apple A14 Bionic, which are built using 5nm fabrication. FYI, the newly launched Snapdragon 780G is based on 5nm fabrication.

Given the Snapdragon 855+ is already two years old, it cannot be considered as a flagship processor anymore, as most of those exclusive features are already available on the Snapdragon 7 series of processors.

Given the Snapdragon 860 is based on the speed binned Snapdragon 885+, it offers a peak CPU clock speed of 2.96GHz, which is higher than the Snapdragon 888's peak CPU clock speed. However, due to the architectural and IPC (instruction per core) improvements, the lower clocked prime core on the Snapdragon 888 will offer better performance while consuming less power.


Another feature that makes the Snapdragon 860 a slightly dated processor is that it is a WiFi 6 ready processor and does not support WiFi6 or 802.11/ax, offering WiFi6 class download and upload speeds in a wireless network.

In terms of fast charging, the Snapdragon 860 supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ and not the latest Qualcomm Quick Charge 5, which means a phone with the Snapdragon 860 will be not as cutting edge as the Snapdragon 888 or even the Snapdragon 865+ SoC-powered smartphone.

Though we can assume that a phone with the Snapdragon 860 SoC will bring flagship-class features and performance to more affordable smartphones, the chipsets like the Snapdragon 888 and even the Snapdragon 865+ are actually leaps and bounds ahead when compared to the Snapdragon 860 SoC.

So, if you are buying a Snapdragon 860 SoC-powered smartphone, except for good performance. But don't expect to perform as well as a smartphone powered by either the Snapdragon 865+ or the Snapdragon 888 SoC. In fact, the performance of the Snapdragon 860 SoC powered phones will be similar to the devices like the OnePlus 7T, OnePlus 7T Pro, and the Asus ROG Phone 3, which are not available at a much lower price when compared to their launch price.

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