The Samsung S10 is now the world’s most advanced smartphone powered by Qualcomm’s 855 – at least until Huawei challenges with its new Kirin 990 in the coming Mate 30 series.
This is an article about
smartphone technology and how the evolution under the bonnet affects us all. Invariably
today’s flagship processor, in this case, the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 features will
flow down to the Snapdragon 7XX, 6XX, 4XX and 2XX series.
Note that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 is for use in certain international markets. Samsung also uses its Exynos 9820 that has similar performance specifications to the Snapdragon 855 (in all but name!) and powers the S10 series in many markets.
To my trained eye, there
are a few minor differences, but none
that really matter – in real life the new
7nm Snapdragon 855 is marginally ahead of the 8nm Exynos 9820 in performance.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 integrates even more into the chip
One of biggest advancements
is the tighter integration of formerly separate components into a single System
on a Chip or SoC. This means smaller
chips (Qualcomm 855 is now a very thin 7nm) that use less power and do not suffer
the loss of speeds by using an external
bus to connect them.
The 855 has eight-cores that run up to 2.84GHz each. This scales up or down as needed and gives 45%
more performance over the 845.
It also supports USB-C 3.1, Wi-Fi 6 (AX), Bluetooth 5.0 (2Mbps),
NFC and almost every version of GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, SBAS, Beidou, Galileo, Dual
Wi-Fi 6 gives MU-MIMO and HT160 (aggregation) with supporting
routers for up to 10Gbps speeds.
20% faster graphics than the previous generation while
continuing to lead the mobile industry in performance per watt. It has full AR
and VR functionality.
It supports 4K, HDR10+ (video capture and screen), 10-bit (1
billion colours) and Rec 2020 colour gamut. That is the best you can get. It
supports OpenCL 2.0 FP, OpenGL ES 3.2, Vulkan 1.1, and DX12 standards.
X55 5G modem
The 855 incorporates its X24 4G LTE modem which means Dual Sim
Voice over LTE (VoLTE), Ultra HD Voice; Cat
20 2Gbps download/Cat 13 316Mbps upload, 7x20MHz carrier band aggregation and
more. It is the fastest 4G can go subject to the Telco’s network implementation.
This is for the S10 series.
The Galaxy S10 5G version adds the X55 modem for
multi-gigabit speeds using the sub-6 GHz and mmWave frequency bands. It also
supports 5G non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) modes, and 5G/4G spectrum
It can achieve 7Gbps download and 3Gbps upload.
The S10 5G at 6.7-inches is physically larger than the 6.4-inch S10+ to accommodate larger
antenna, battery and chips.
Qualcomm 3D Ultrasonic fingerprint under glass
It uses sound waves to read the valleys and ridges of a
finger. It transmits an ultrasonic pulse against the finger, creating a
detailed three-dimensional reproduction. This
is a true differentiator compared the
legacy two-dimensional, light-sensing optical approach.
Unlike optical scanning solutions, Qualcomm 3D Sonic isn’t spoofed by 2D materials such as a
fingerprint’s photograph. It also uses sophisticated machine learning
technology to extract ultrasonic-based image characteristics to prevent spoofing
by 3D materials.
Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit (SPU)
This adds vault-like
characteristics for system integrity, user authentication and key management,
helping to keep precious data out of prying eyes. It works with Samsung Knox
Spectra 380 ISP (Image signal processor)
It integrates numerous
hardware accelerated computer vision (CV) capabilities, enabling the world’s
first dual 14-bit CV-ISP to provide cutting-edge computational photography and
video capture features while at the same time offering up to 4x power savings
compared to the 845.
Put in layman’s terms,
it supports the five cameras on the S10+ as well as on-chip encoding/decoding
for video formats including H.265 (HEVC), H.264 (AVC), HLG, HDR10, HDR10+, VP8,
VP9. HEIF saves photos, videos, and computer vision data at half the size.
Qualcomm AI Engine
A new dedicated
Qualcomm Hexagon Tensor Accelerator and delivers 3x the AI performance compared
to the previous generation.
It can process over 7 trillion operations a second – that is
huge – and is the basis for split second AI and machine learning applications.
Qualcomm TrueWireless stereo bud Technology, Broadcast Audio
technology, Aqstic audio technology, aptX audio technology and aptX Adaptive.
In short 32-bit/384kHz support for true high res and works with two voice assistants wake up phrases simultaneously.
Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ technology is faster again than QC
4.0, 3.0 etc.
It supplies 3-11V, in 20mV steps and 0A to 3A in 50mA step
increments via USB-PD 3.0. What that means is that will intelligently charge
any battery from 3-20V (Class B adaptors) and up to 4X faster charging if your
device supports it. It is backwards compatible.
GadgetGuy’s take: Sorry to be a techie
Simply put this is now
the world’s fastest, most advanced chip and enables Samsung’s S10 series to do
what it does – be a superb 2019 flagship.
As we said earlier these changes are under the bonnet – you can’t