Categories: Mobility

Qualcomm Chip Upgrade ‘Gives Galaxy S9 Major Speed Boost’

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset expected to power the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S9 and Sony Xperia XZ Pro flagship handsets, amongst others, could run 25 percent faster than its predecessor, early tests indicate.

Benchmark tests comparing the chipset to the Snapdragon 835 – found in last year’s Galaxy S8, Pixel 2 XL, LG V30 and Sony Xperia XZ Premium, as well as the OnePlus 5T – found the new chip was significantly faster.

Tests using Geekbench 4, Antutu and other benchmarking tools found the newer Qualcomm chip ran 20 to 25 percent faster than the Snapdragon 835 in most cases, according to a number of reviews published online.

The tests were carried out using reference devices supplied by Qualcomm, and as such can only approximate what users will experience with the real devices set to ship this year.

Last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 8

MWC launch

Samsung confirmed last month it plans to premiere the S9 at Mobile World Congress on 25 February. Rumours indicate the company is likely to begin pre-orders on 1 March, with shipments starting on 16 March.

The company has used MWC to launch a number of its flagship devices in the past – with one exception in last year’s Galaxy S8. That phone’s introduction was delayed by a month due to battery incidents with the Galaxy Note 7 the previous year, and the subsequent recall.

Instead, the company showed off two new tablets at last year’s MWC, the flagship Galaxy Tab S3 and the Windows 10-powered two-in-one, the Galaxy Book. It also detailed its plans for 5G and a new controller for its Samsung Gear VR headset.

Online reports have hinted at a number of possible features for Samsung’s upcoming flagship smartphone, which is rumoured to be accompanied by a larger version called the Galaxy S9+.

Leaks indicate the S9 may feature a 5.8-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED curved display, with the S9+ at 6.2in. While the US device is said to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845, the UK version is expected to use Samsung’s own Exynos 9810.

Bixby upgrade

Other possible features include a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and the Bixby AI assistant with a dedicated launch button.

A new DeX docking station will reportedly allow the S9 to lie flat when connected, so that it can be used as a touchpad or virtual keyboard. Rumours say it may feature a USB-C connecter as well as a headphone jack, instead of doing away with the latter jack as some flagship models have done.

Reports hint users will be expected to pay more for the latest features, with the S9 starting at £789, £100 more than last year’s device. The S9+ is said to start at £879.

Samsung confirmed last month it plans to release a foldable phone at some point in 2019, as it continues to iron out significant user experience issues.

The company has said it’s planning a significant upgrade to Bixby later this year. Samsung wants all its devices to support the voice-activated technology by 2020.

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Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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