Last year when Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 865 everyone was super excited, especially for the 5G modem that is designed to be used alongside it. Unfortunately it seems that the combination of the two is prohibitively expensive and some manufacturers are balking at it.
While manufacturers such as OPPO, Samsung, OnePlus and more are using the Snapdragon 865 reports are coming out now that Google and LG are not impressed at all with its price and are looking for forego it for a cheaper chipset.
XDA Developers found some “evidence” recently that the Pixel 5 would not house the top end Qualcomm chipset and instead would be running a SD765G — a step down from the SD865 but nonetheless still a good chipset. If you were thinking maybe Google were going to instead make their own “numbers” phone like the Galaxy S20 Ultra you would be wrong — there is not a single Google device in the Android repository that houses a SD865 processor.
Korean site Naver is now reporting that LG are heading down the same path with their 2020 premium flagship – the LG G9 ThinQ. HMD as many of you would know by now, also decided not to install a SD865 in their 2020 flagship either.
So why is all this happening?
It seems that Qualcomm made a miscalculation when they decoupled the modem from the chipset. In doing so they made it so that if a phone had a SD865 processor it would HAVE to sit alongside an X55 5G modem — yes, an expensive part. Now not only is that more expensive but it is another part that manufacturers have to try and fit into their designs.
The extra chip required along wiht the requirements of the SD865 make for a very power-hungry phone and thus manufacturers will have to then either make the phone even bigger or run it with an inadequate battery size (and be slammed for it).
So why are Google and LG choosing the Snapdragon 765G?
The SD765G is a step below the SD865, hence the naming scheme but many believe its overall package is superior to that of the SD865. It is cheaper, it has an integrated 5G modem so uses up less space and power, allows for a smaller phone and is not significantly slower than the SD865. Did I mention it is also a lot cheaper?
ArsTechnica state that with companies such as Google who are wizards at software optimisation (as proven with the Pixel 3a last year) and that once they are done the difference between the two is likely to be minimal. This results because the difference in architecture between the two chips is very minimal:
- SD865 : 7nm, 8 core SoC, 4 x A77 cores, 4 x A55 cores, Adreno 640 GPU
- SD765G : 7nm, 8 cores SoC, 2 x A76 cores, 6 x A55 cores, Adreno 620 GPU
Be careful what you wish for.
So while upon first look it may seem a strange decision to not use a Snapdragon 865 processor in their 2020 flagship upon closer look it may not make one single iota of difference in any negative way. Instead it may actually be a blessing in disguise.
What do you think? Would you be happy to forego the SD865 for a software optimised SD765G for a smaller, cheaper phone?