Qualcomm Snapdragon 895: What to expect from Qualcomm's 2022 flagship design

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (Image credit: Qualcomm)

The best Android phones in 2021 share one thing: they are all powered by the Snapdragon 888. Qualcomm's 5nm chipset managed to deliver huge gains in performance while retaining the efficiency figures of the Snapdragon 865, and that allowed this year's flagships to stand out.

But as is always the case in the semiconductor industry, there's always something new on the horizon. We're already starting to learn more about the Snapdragon 895, Qualcomm's flagship chipset for 2022. Qualcomm will likely announce it this December, and it will power most of next year's flagships. Here's what we know so far.

Snapdragon 895 What we know about the hardware

The first details on the Snapdragon 895 surfaced two months ago in a leak by evleaks, where we found out that its internal codename is the SM8450 and that it will feature an integrated Snapdragon X65 modem.

The leak also suggested the Snapdragon 895 would be based on the Arm v9 mobile architecture. That's interesting for several reasons; Arm overhauled its architecture earlier this year to deliver significantly better efficiency and performance gains for graphics, machine learning, and other benchmarks.

Assuming Qualcomm uses the latest Arm v9 designs, we could see the chipset leverage the Cortex X2 core as the "big" core that does the heavy-duty lifting, followed by the Cortex A710 and Cortex A510. The X2 follows in a similar vein as the X1 core that we've seen this year, but it offers a massive 40% boost in performance. Similarly, the A710 is 10% faster than the current-gen A78, and the A510 is 35% faster while requiring 20% less energy.

The Adreno 730 GPU should also be able to deliver sizable gains for gaming. The fact that the platform will be built on a 4nm node should lead to better efficiency. As for who's manufacturing the chipset, the latest leaks point to Qualcomm using both Samsung SLSI and TSMC.

I'm particularly interested in seeing how the A510 will hold up in day-to-day use; the little cores do a lot of the work for mundane tasks, and the gains on offer should deliver better battery life; but right now, this is all conjecture. We'll need to get our hands on a phone powered by the Snapdragon 895 to get a sense for how Qualcomm has leveraged the design, and we can only do so in 2022. Until then, we remain excited to learn how the Snapdragon 895 will perform.

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Snapdragon 895 We should know more in December

Qualcomm usually announces its flagship chipsets during its annual Snapdragon Summit in December. That's likely going to be the case this year as well; but we should hear a few details ahead of the launch.

Snapdragon 895 Coming to 2022 flagships

It's a given that the Snapdragon 895 will power most flagships next year. While it's too early to suggest what devices will feature the chipset, we can assume that Samsung's Galaxy S22 series, Xiaomi Mi 12, OnePlus 10, and the Find X4 will include the Snapdragon 895.

Qualcomm may see increased rivalry in 2022 with MediaTek; the chip vendor is making a resurgence in the mid-range segment, and it is likely to challenge Qualcomm in the high-end category next year with the Dimensity 2000. It will be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out, and how Qualcomm and the Snapdragon 895 will rise to the challenge.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.