Qualcomm has made a habit of rolling out a mid-cycle refresh of its flagship chipset — we saw that with the Snapdragon 855 Plus and the Snapdragon 865 Plus — and it's no different with the Snapdragon 888. The chipset is powering the best Android phones, and Qualcomm is now introducing an even faster variant: the Snapdragon 888 Plus.
The key standout feature on the Snapdragon 888 Plus is the clock speed of the Cortex X1 core, which goes up to 2.996GHz, up from 2.84GHz on the standard model. As such, Qualcomm is touting that the chipset can go up to 3GHz in its marketing materials, and while the Snapdragon 865 Plus hit 3.1GHz last year, the inherent performance increase with the X1 core means Qualcomm doesn't have to push the clocks too much on the Snapdragon 888 Plus.
Other than that, the Snapdragon 888 Plus also has a sixth-gen AI engine that now delivers up to 32 TOPS of performance, a decent 20% increase over the Snapdragon 888. Other than these tweaks, the Snapdragon 888 Plus is identical to the regular model; you get the same Adreno 660 with variable refresh, Spectra 580 ISP, FastConnect 6900 system with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, ability to drive QHD screens at up to 144Hz, and Quick Charge 5 tech.
Connectivity is also unchanged, with the chipset featuring the integrated Snapdragon X60 5G modem with global Sub-6 5G and mmWave bands and a maximum downlink of 7.5Gbps. Like the regular Snapdragon 888, the Snapdragon 888 Plus is built on the 5nm node.
The Snapdragon 865 Plus didn't get many design wins last year, with most manufacturers choosing to go with the standard Snapdragon 865. That said, it ended up in the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and Qualcomm says the chipset will make its way to phones starting Q3 2021.
ASUS will launch an ROG phone powered by the Snapdragon 888 Plus, and the chipset will make its way into Honor's Magic 3 flagship series as well. Motorola, Xiaomi, and Vivo will also launch phones powered by the Snapdragon 888 Plus, and we should know more about these devices in the coming months.
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