The new Snapdragon 845 is a major step forward from its predecessor the Snapdragon 835. Our very own Gary Sims recently put the 845 through its paces, and found gains all over the place. One of the more exciting improvements was a gain of 20-40 percent in GPU performance. That increase in performance will keep fps smooth as more demanding games come to the mobile space, like PUBG Mobile and (eventually) Fortnite.
So what are the best Snapdragon 845 phones out there? Good question.
Samsung Galaxy S9/S9 Plus
Depending on where you are in the world the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus may have a Snapdragon 845.Those in North & Latin Americas, China, Japan will get the Snapdragon 845 because of all the CDMA patents Qualcomm has.
Those looking to buy the phone elsewhere, like in Europe, South Korea, or India, will find Samsung LSI’s Exynos 9810 SoC inside. Generally, benchmarks show the 845 is the one you want. It’s faster in both CPU and GPU benchmarks, with better energy efficiency as well. The Exynos line is slowly catching up to the Snapdragon line, which is encouraging for Samsung, but still a way behind.
The S9 with the 845 is leads all benchmarks. It’s the one you’ll want to spend your money on if you’re going for the top of the line.
Sony Xperia XZ2, XZ2 Compact and XZ2 Premium
Sony didn’t mess about with its latest devices when they dropped at MWC 2018. The Sony Xperia XZ2 and smaller Xperia XZ2 Compact both come with the Snapdragon 845. With a fresh water-inspired design, 4GB of RAM, expandable memory on top of 64GB of internal storage, and an 18:9 screen, it’s a top-end phone. XZ2 will be available to those in the U.S. as soon as April. We haven’t had a chance for a full review yet, but our initial XZ2 hands-on was positive for Sony fans.
There’s also a new Xperia XZ2 Premium heading to market, offering a dual-camera setup for the first time from Sony, along with a Bokeh mode.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 flagship was given an iterative improvement in March, upgrading the Mix 2S with a Snapdragon 845 and a major camera update. Our early hands-on with the Mi Mix 2S shows plenty of promise (Josh’s full review is still forthcoming). The major limitation of the Xiaomi line is availability — you can only get it in China and other parts of Asia.
Announced and Upcoming Phones
Asus ZenFone 5Z
Asus caught some flack when it unveiled the first in a series of Android phones with a notch. Despite that, the Asus ZenFone 5Z looks packed with value. Although we haven’t yet had a chance for a full review, it’s powered by a Snapdragon 845, totes 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, dual-SIM support, and a 3,300 mAh battery. It’s priced at $499, which sets this up as a solid competitor for companies like OnePlus and Honor. The Asus ZenFone 5Z is out in June.
Xiaomi Black Shark Gaming Phone
Black Shark is a Xiaomi company which announced a brand-new gaming-focused phone, complete with a joystick controller attachment. It’s a 6-inch device with a 2.5D, 2160 x 1080 resolution display, the Snapdragon 845 chipset, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 128GB storage.
Unfortunately, while it’s been sort of released in limited numbers in China — getting a hold of it isn’t exactly easy unless you happen to be located in Asia. Hopefully that changes sooner rather than later.
The HTC U12 is hugely important for the struggling Taiwanese company. HTC has released a ton of good phones, which never quite become must-buys — the U12 might be able to change that. Rumored for an April release, some leaks indicate the U12 will boast a 6-inch display, Snapdragon 845, 6GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage, and a rear dual camera. It’ll also have Oreo 8, an updated Edge Sense, and HTC’s Face Unlock, according to the leaks. Will that be enough for HTC to sell a truck-load?
Xiaomi Mi 7
We haven’t heard a great deal from Xiaomi about its Mi 7. The phone’s launch was pushed back from its original April slot. We know it will sport the Snapdragon 845. Beyond that, there’s some rumors and supposed leaks but not even enough for an image here.
Other rumored and likely phones
All the major smartphone flagships in 2018 will have a Snapdragon 845. With the next major Qualcomm release, the Snapdragon 855 — expected to be made on a tighter 7nm manufacturing process — still just over the horizon for now, and almost certainly a 2019 release.
Here’s what we think will be a rough timeline of some bigger 845 releases late in the year:
- May/June – LG G7 ThinQ, OnePlus 6
- June – Sony Xperia XZ Pro, ZTE Nubia Z18
- August – Nokia 9
- September – Samsung Galaxy Note 9, LG V40, Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, Essential Phone 2
- October – Google Pixel 3/3 XL, Sony Xperia XZ2, HTC U12 PLus
- November – Moto Z (2019)
- December – OnePlus 6T
What’s your favorite Snapdragon 845 phone so far? Let us know down in the comments.