Late last year, Qualcomm broke convention when it moved from the 865 to the Snapdragon 888 and now a mid-cycle refresh of its flagship chip may follow suit, in the form of additional variants to the line beyond a ‘Plus’ model, including the Snapdragon 888 Pro.
The possibility of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Pro first came from rumour fount, Digital Chat Station, who shared via Weibo word of the 888 Pro’s existence. (Machine translated via Twitter below.)
s888 pro domestic manufacturers are also testing, q3 will have models, and may not be exclusive overseas like last year. Is it the x1 super-large nuclear booster or the improvement of the process?
— Digital Chat Station (@chat_station) April 24, 2021
There’s since been talk (from the same source) of a Snapdragon 888 WiFi, Snapdragon 888 4G and a 888+ all waiting in the wings too.
What are the Snapdragon 888 Pro’s specs?
DCS makes no mention of the 888 Pro’s capabilities at this stage but looking at Qualcomm’s 2020 top silicon, the most obvious move from the Snapdragon 865 to the 865+ was an increased clock speed, along with additional technologies, like Bluetooth 5.2 in place of 5.1 and faster WiFi support.
For reference, here are the standard Snapdragon 888‘s base specifications:
- 5nm architecture
- Integrated Snapdragon X60 5G modem, up to 7.5Gbps downlink
- Kryo 680 CPU, up to 2.84GHz
- Adreno 660 GPU, supports up to QHD+ @ 144Hz
- Hexagon 780 AI processor, 26 TOPS
- Spectra 580 ISP, up to 2.7 gigapixels per second
- Up to 16GB LPDDR5 RAM
- Qualcomm Quick Charge 5
With the Bluetooth SIG keeping schtum on the existence of a Bluetooth 5.3 standard (for the time being) and WiFi 6E hardware still fairly fresh-faced on the market, any additional improvements between the 888 and the 888 Pro – beyond raw performance – may be a little more subtle compared to last year’s upgrade.
Are there any Snapdragon 888 Pro benchmarks yet?
With no chip specs out in the open, there’s little in the way of figures we can work with, right now.
The current 888 debuted a new architecture – based on Arm’s Cortex-X1 technology – consisting of a single X1 ‘prime core’ clocked at 2.84GHz, three Cortex-A78 performance cores, clocked at 2.4GHz, and four Cortex-A55 efficiency cores at 1.8GHz.
An uptick from 2.84GHz to 3.1GHz between last year’s 865 and 865+ helped produce a 10% performance improvement. If Qualcomm pulls the same trick with the 888 Pro, expect to see a similar boost to approximately 3.1GHz, when the chip is formally unveiled.
What are the Snapdragon 888+’s specs?
Speaking of a subtle upgrade, while this leak comes attached the the ‘Plus’ moniker in place of the ‘Pro’, an amped-up version of the original 888 has been spotted on Geekbench 5, which differs in one key area.
The Cortex-X1 core that leads the charge is listed as sporting a higher clock speed of 3GHz in place of 2.84GHz – as on the standard chip. Just how much of a real-world performance boost that will produce remains to be seen, but it seems more fitting of the ‘Plus’ moniker if Qualcomm is trying to make room for a Pro variant as well (although only 0.1GHz more seems like too little a jump on its own).
Which phones will use the Snapdragon 888 Pro/888+?
No manufacturers have yet made any mention of releasing devices powered by Qualcomm’s next flagship chipsets, however, DCS’ initial post alludes to the fact that ‘domestic manufacturers’ are already testing developmental components.
With Digital Chat Station’s posts originating from China, it’s a fair assumption that they’re referencing some of the big Chinese OEMs known for picking Qualcomm’s top chips for their best and brightest devices. Manufacturers like Xiaomi, Oppo and OnePlus, for example – all of whom were among the first companies to confirm that they would be releasing Snapdragon 888-powered smartphones after the chip’s announcement in late 2020.
Perhaps one of the most interesting entries likely to join this list would be Honor. After the Huawei sub-brand was cut loose from its parent company late last year, it’s technically been free to resume dealings with, and use components from, manufacturers and suppliers previously off the table under the effects of Huawei’s inclusion on the US government’s ‘entity list‘.
This means that the forthcoming Honor 50 Pro+ – the company’s next uber-flagship smartphone – could well utilise an 888 variant of some kind. The company has already confirmed that at least one member of the Honor 50 series will utilise the chipmaker’s Snapdragon 778G, too.