Qualcomm has announced the mid-cycle update to the Snapdragon 888, the Snapdragon 888 Plus. As usual, this is the exact same chip as the previous version that hit the market in February, just with a faster clock rate. Those looking for a serious—or even noticeable—upgrade will be disappointed. This is the smallest “Plus” upgrade Qualcomm has ever done.
Qualcomm says the Prime CPU core—one of the chip’s eight cores—can now hit 3.0 GHz, which is a five percent improvement over the 2.84 GHz of the base chip. After the Prime core (which handles things like foreground processing and main thread duties), the three “medium” and four “small” cores remain unchanged.
The company also mentioned that the “AI Engine” is now 20 percent faster. This is a nebulous measurement of how the entire phone—CPU, GPU, DSP, and software—processes AI tasks. It’s not a single concrete object you can point to that has been clocked higher, and good luck tying overhyped AI performance to any actual performance improvements in the real world.
That’s the entirety of the changes to the Snapdragon 888 Plus. Last year’s Snapdragon 865 Plus added Wi-Fi 6E support and a 10 percent faster CPU and GPU, so this is a disappointment in comparison. It’s the bare minimum Qualcomm could do to justify a new chip release, and this update probably only exists to fulfill roadmap promises made to partners.
Qualcomm says Asus, Honor, Motorola, Vivo, and Xiaomi are lined up to ship Snapdragon 888 Plus phones, which should be out sometime in Q3.