This year's flagship phones like Samsung's Galaxy S9 look set to be fast, based on preview benchmarking tests of Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 845 chipset.
ZDNet's sister site CNET got the chance to test the Snapdragon 845 on a Qualcomm reference phone to check if it met the chip maker's claim of a 25 percent speed increase over the Snapdragon 835, the chipset that powered most of 2017's Android flagships.
CNET ran a dozen benchmarking tests on the 845 reference phone multiple times and compared the results with the same tests carried out on the Galaxy Note 8, a Pixel 2 XL, which all run on the Snapdragon 835.
The 845 device indeed was "at least 25 percent faster than the best score on all but four tests out of the dozen", according to CNET's Jessica Dolcourt.
The tests included well-known benchmarks such as AnTutu, Geekbench 4.0, Kraken, Octane, Sunspider, and Jetstream. The tests measure computing power, graphics, and web performance, offering an indication of the performance potential of devices powered by the processor.
Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 845 in December, revealing it will consist of a Kyro 385 CPU, Adreno 630 GPU, and the latest Qualcomm X20 LTE modem. The chipset will also record 4K Ultra HD premium video and offers the ability to capture more colors than before.
The chipset's Spectra 280 image signal processor should improve photos, while its 3D face-mapping support will open the door for Android phone makers to compete with Apple's Face ID facial-recognition system on the iPhone X.
Other improvements include the promise of a longer battery life, faster mobile and Wi-Fi speeds, more powerful AI, and Bluetooth 5 support for broadcasting to multiple speakers.
So far, only Xiaomi has confirmed it will use the Snapdragon 845 in its forthcoming flagship, the Mi 7. However, Samsung's Galaxy S9 is expected to be one of the first available with the chipset.
Samsung in January confirmed it will unveil the Galaxy S9 at Mobile World Congress, which kicks off in Barcelona on February 26. It is expected to use the Snapdragon 845 in some markets and its own Exynos chipset for some regions.
Images of the purported Galaxy S9 and S9+ leaked by Evan Blass suggest the Galaxy S9+ will have dual rear cameras.
Previous and related coverage
Qualcomm took the stage to introduce its next-generation mobile platform, the Snapdragon 845. Notably, the new chipset will feature 4k HDR video capture and improved AI processing.
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