Looking for your next flagship phone? You may want to get an A14 Bionic-powered Apple iPhone 12 or a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888-equipped Samsung Galaxy S21. But we all know the hefty price that is associated with them. You can earn up for these phones, but there is another option for you — Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 phones are on the affordable side right now. These phones are last year’s flagships and thus expected to still run fresh in the coming years. You don’t really need to shell out tons of money just to buy the latest flagship phone.
Today, we’ll deliver to you the best Snapdragon 865 phones that are still topnotch when it comes to performance.
Best Phones With Snapdragon 865
The Snapdragon 865 is one flagship processor that doesn’t mess with its performance. It promises to run your daily tasks blazingly fast on your phone that it can even compete with PCs out there. We have compiled for you the best phones with the Snapdragon 865 processor. You’ll surely love these phones with all of their unique specs on them.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
The first on our list is also one of the first phones with a Snapdragon 865 chipset in it — the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. If you purchase your S20 Ultra in North America, you might have this chipset variant on your phone while European and Asian countries get Samsung’s Exynos 990 chipset. Both of the chipsets used for S20 Ultra were built in a 7nm+ process. In layman’s terms, they make S20 Ultra’s performance swift and power-efficient.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra also gets 12 GB or 16 GB RAM. That is an equivalent of a modern gaming PC. You can now seamlessly play your intense games, all thanks to its beefy RAM and processor.
Too bad this phone is ultra-expensive (pun intended) for its price. For starters, this phone will cost you above $1,000. That price can seem over-the-top even with all the eye-catching specs within it. Some phones are priced lower with almost the same specs. You might as well go for those if you don’t want to shell out $1,000 just for a Samsung phone. But if you really want a Samsung phone, we have made a list of the best new Samsung phones that are still quite a performer until this day.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
Another option for a Samsung Galaxy S20 phone is the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus. Treat this as a watered-down Galaxy S20 Ultra, but it still performs like its bigger brother.
It has a 6.7” screen with QHD+ resolution (3200 x 1440) with 525 ppi. Colors truly pop out and the display is bright enough even under the strong sunlight. Its Snapdragon 865 processor is paired with either 8 GB or 12 GB of RAM. This can be overkill if you are a casual phone user, but this is more than enough if you’re a dedicated gamer. Pair that with a 120 Hz screen refresh rate and you’ll surely get that chicken dinner in no time.
Just like its bigger brother, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus also has that hefty price for a Snapdragon 865 phone. Its $1,199 base price can be a little overwhelming for some. The in-display fingerprint scanner is a little off, too. With delayed responses, this can get a little frustrating, but the proper placement of your fingers can be learned over time.
Samsung Galaxy S20
Most of us want a compact phone that fits just right in our hands. The Samsung Galaxy S20 fulfills that kind of niche. It has a 6.2” screen with the same display resolution as the Ultra and the Plus versions. It also has a battery life that can last the whole day. Thanks to its 4000-mAh battery, your web browsing, social media posting, and some graphic-hungry games are a breeze with this bad boy.
The camera is also something to vie for. Its triple camera setup can capture 8K resolution videos. So now, you can capture those unforgettable moments in full clarity. These astounding specs are already great on their own, thus have a great value for money.
The 3.5 mm headphone jack is absent with this flagship phone. So better pop out your wireless earphones if you want to listen to music or binge-watch movies with this phone. If you plan to use this as a camera phone, better prepare a microSD card. Its 128 GB might be measly for your high-quality photos and videos, so it’s good news that the S20 series has expandable storage in it.
We have made a more comprehensive look at the Samsung Galaxy S20 lineup. This will help you choose the best Galaxy S20 for your next purchase.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
Want to have a Samsung Galaxy S20 without having to shell out much money? The Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (FE) has got your back. You’d still get the Snapdragon 865 given that you purchased it in North America like its other siblings.
Its RAM is lowered down to 6 GB, but it can still run your daily tasks in a breeze. The screen is also lowered down to a Super AMOLED one, but this will not ruin the quality of the videos you watch. The battery of this is surprisingly larger than the base model at 4500 mAh. Given its slightly lowered-down specs, this translates to a more energy-efficient phone.
All of the Galaxy S20 models have an aluminum body in them except the FE. The FE has a polycarbonate finish in it. This reduces the premium feel in an S20 phone. But that is expected on a premium phone leaned towards the masses. And yes, 6 GB of RAM is high in today’s RAM standards, but you might want to get a more burly RAM if you’re a gaming fan. Having a beefier RAM will give you the best gaming experience without any lags or frame drops on your phone.
Sony Xperia 1 II
Sony has opted to focus on the photography functions of its Xperia lineup, and the Sony Xperia 1 II is one of those phones. It has got a triple-camera lens with 12 MP lens each. It can record up to 4K video resolution at 120 fps. Precise shots are also there, thanks to the phone’s dedicated camera shutter button. It is like using a high-end point-and-shoot camera within a phone.
But Sony doesn’t stop there. Along with cutting-edge camera technology, it packs its phone with Snapdragon 865 chipset that sets the bar higher for smartphone speed. A power-efficient device, Sony Xperia 1 II is a photography phone that can keep up with your demand for your daily snaps.
Sony Xperia 5 II
Perhaps you want a smaller version of the Sony Xperia 1 II. The Sony Xperia 5 II is basically the compact version of the Sony Xperia 1 II. You’ve got yourself the same 12 MP lenses that can shoot 20 fps burst shots and 4K videos of up to 120 fps. You also have that same camera shutter button that can take your shots precisely. Shots taken with this phone are relatively raw, so you get more control with tweaking your photos. The screen is compact in itself with a 6.1” screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio, which is still relatively new for smartphones. You can finally see that pesky opponent on your FPS games, thanks to its immersive widescreen.
In terms of performance, Sony Xperia 5 II is pretty decent too. Its Snapdragon 865 chipset paired with 8 GB of RAM enables the phone to run complex tasks all at once. The phone can load apps quicker than average without any hitch. Its game enhancer feature will also enhance your experience with graphics-heavy titles.
LG V60 ThinQ
Sturdy doesn’t mean it has to be thick. The LG V60 ThinQ is perhaps one of the slimmest yet sturdiest Snapdragon 865 phones out there. It has a MIL-STD-810G certification and IP68 certification. This means it can withstand sudden falls from six feet and resist dust, dirt, and water splashes. You’ll also get a tanky 5000-mAh battery that can last for a whole day. Charging this phone is also a breeze with its 25W charging that is both compatible with wired and wireless charging.
The LG V60 ThinQ targets the foldable phone market with its optional Dual Screen function. You’ll get an additional screen that is attachable to the main phone. While this is a great function especially if you want a tablet-phone hybrid, the sheer size of the screen makes it too bulky for a foldable. The bezels of both displays are all obvious and thus can be annoying when viewing videos or editing documents. The camera shots are also not flagship level. Pictures tend to be on the soft side. The camera becomes a laggard against its competition, so better get other phones if you love taking snapshots.
Xiaomi Mi 10T
The Xiaomi Mi 10T is perhaps the most affordable Snapdragon 865 phone currently in the market today, but it does not cut any corners on its specs. First, you’ll get a 2400 x 1080 Full HD+ display with a 144 Hz screen refresh rate. This is truly eye-candy for movie lovers and gaming fans alike, thanks to the buttery smooth performance of the screen.
You’ll also get a dual-SIM 5G standby with this phone. Now, it is easy to switch between carriers when there’s no signal on an area. Another thing we can rave about is its tanky battery. Its 5000-mAh battery can last you approximately up to one day for binge-watching videos and light surfing on the Web. At last, scrolling through your news feed wouldn’t waste that much battery.
The display is stunning in itself, but it would be better if Xiaomi installed an AMOLED panel in it. The IPS LCD screen reduces the premium feel of this phone, even with its insane refresh rate and brightness. Wireless charging is also not available with this flagship phone. But that’s not a big issue for its 33W fast charging capability can fully charge your phone for a little more than an hour.
Xiaomi Black Shark 3
Gaming phones are slowly creeping into the gaming world. Xiaomi is entering this smartphone battle with the Black Shark 3. It has the specs every mobile gamer dreams of: a Snapdragon 865 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 90 Hz screen refresh rate, rubberized casing, and LED lights at the back. These specs look great on paper and perform great in real-life usage. Playing graphic-hungry games like Call of Duty Mobile or Genshin Impact is surely butter on this phone.
There are two cooling systems you can get with this phone: its own cooling system inside the phone and an optional external fan cooler. You won’t expect any scorching heat after long hours of gaming, thanks to these two. Its camera is also stunning with a 64 MP main camera paired with a 13 MP ultra-wide and 5 MP bokeh lens. The shots are amazing, autofocus is on-point, and colors are vibrant.
As this phone is made for gaming, this is not everyone’s cup of tea. Its aesthetics is just over-the-top with all those glowing RGB lights at the case. It’s also quite heavy for a gaming phone. At 7.89 oz, this phone has a significant heft in it. Be careful on handling this phone especially when playing games.
OnePlus has constantly made high-quality phones that can compete with premium brands. The OnePlus 8T is just one of their latest phones that has a Snapdragon 865 processor in it. You’ll get a 1080 x 2400 display with a 20:9 screen ratio. This is powered by OnePlus’s Fluid AMOLED. Colors truly pop out on the display, and its in-display fingerprint scanner recognizes your fingerprints almost instantly.
OnePlus is equipped with OxygenOS with the latest Android 11 under the hood. That gives them an edge against other phones that are only equipped with Android 10. And with OxygenOS, expect this phone to be always updated with the latest Android software.
What makes this phone a little disappointing is that this phone seems to have only a few upgrades from its predecessor. As with its T series of phones, there are only little updates with regards to its hardware. So if you are coming from the OnePlus 7T, hold on to it for a little longer. OnePlus should also improve its camera. A telephoto camera can be the life-changing factor of their cameras if they want to compete with other flagship phones.
OnePlus 8 Pro
Another flagship performer of OnePlus is the OnePlus 8 Pro. Just like the OnePlus 8T, this phone stands out in its display department. With its 1440 x 3168 QHD+ display paired with a 120 Hz screen refresh rate, this is the best display OnePlus can offer. Games and movies feel so velvety, thanks to these features. There is also an Always-On Display that can help you tell the time and weather without unlocking your phone.
This phone is equipped with the latest Android 11 operating system, giving it an edge against other competing flagship phones. What’s more, when your friend’s phone runs out of juice, this phone can help them in charging the phone. It’s all thanks to the OnePlus 8 Pro’s reverse charging capability.
The OnePlus 8 Pro is the best flagship phone OnePlus can offer. Because of this, expect a premium price with this bad boy. This is highly-priced versus OnePlus’ previous offerings, but it is still fairly priced versus other premium phones. And as with other OnePlus phones, its camera is subpar against its competitors. Hopefully, OnePlus heeds the call for a change in their camera module. A telephoto camera is a good starting point if OnePlus wants to improve its phone cameras.
Oppo Find X2
When you want a phone that has the same specs as the OnePlus 8 Pro, the Oppo Find X2 is the right phone for you. Its specs almost perfectly mirror the OnePlus 8 Pro with some minor differences.
First, it has a 48 MP main shooter, 12 MP ultra-wide camera, and a 13 MP telephoto camera. This trio of lenses gives it an edge against its OnePlus counterpart, mostly because of its telephoto lens. It captures your subjects with more detail even from far away. Next, charging this phone is blazingly fast despite the lack of wireless charging. Its 65W fast charging can zoom your battery power to 100% in under an hour. Even if this phone charges quickly, it also dissipates heat quickly. No need to worry that much about shortening this phone’s battery life.
On the other hand, while it may have a telephoto lens, its camera is a lot less to be desired. It still performs subpar against other flagship phones, so maybe Oppo should improve on its camera software.
iQoo is a budding brand of smartphones that is a spinoff from another famous smartphone brand Vivo. The iQoo 3 is their competing smartphone in the flagship market.
This Snapdragon 865 phone is equipped with a Full HD+ screen with an AMOLED display. This is enough to make this 6.44” device a stunner, but what makes it stand out against other flagship phones is its so-called “air triggers.” This feature lets you press on your phone’s corners that serve as additional controls on your games. If you are a fan of RPGs or FPS games, this feature is vital for your gameplay. It is also equipped with a 4000-mAh battery capable of 55W fast charging. This makes it stand out against premium brands that offer lower charging wattage.
Since this brand is a spinoff from Vivo, the phone’s overall design is rather boring. It has obviously borrowed its design from other brands. Its display is also a lot less to be desired. Almost all of the flagship phones today offer at least a 90 Hz of screen refresh rate, but iQoo decided to leave this feature behind. Hopefully, iQoo puts a high screen refresh rate on their next slew of phones.
Realme X50 Pro
Realme is another brand that is spun off from a parent company, this time from Oppo. The Realme X50 Pro is their flagship contender in the ever-growing flagship smartphone battle.
The phone’s display is something to be raved about with its Full HD+ screen with Super AMOLED display and 90 Hz screen refresh rate. You’ll still clearly see everything on your screen under intense sunlight. Its dual-firing speakers are powered by Dolby Atmos, giving you a richer sound experience even without wearing your headphones.
Just like the Oppo Find X2, you’ll get 65W fast charging capability with this phone. Never worry about draining your battery because you’ll get to charge your phone to 100% in approximately 50 minutes. Now that’s what you call fast charging.
As much as this phone is centered on entertainment, it is lacking in the camera department. Yes, it captures decent shots in the daylight with all the details in your subject included. But snap a photo at nighttime and the camera suffers from heavy noise. Enabling the Nightscape mode should fix this problem, but there is still some noticeable noise in your photos.
Recording videos tend to be underwhelming, too. Colors reproduced in recorded videos are either average or oversaturated. Even with enough light exposure, 4K or 1080p videos look overprocessed. Better look for other phones if you plan on using this for vlogging or amateur filming.
Nubia RedMagic 5G
Another gaming phone that runs on Snapdragon 865 chipset is the Nubia RedMagic 5G. This gaming phone by ZTE has so many features that every mobile gamer will drool for. First, it has got a Full HD+ AMOLED screen with a whopping 144 Hz screen refresh rate. It also has trigger buttons on the corners of the phone. These can serve as additional buttons that can give you an advantage against your opponents.
Long gaming hours are possible, thanks to its 4500 mAh battery that can last for up to six hours of intense gaming. If you want to immerse more, you can lower down your refresh rate to save more battery. You don’t have to worry about scorching heat in this phone, thanks to its liquid cooling system integrated into this phone. This phone can charge fast at up to 55W. Sadly, ZTE only supplied this phone with an 18W charger. That’s a real bummer especially if you want to quickly go back to your games.
Its camera also promises 8K video recording at 30 fps, but it delivers underwhelmingly. The shots look just right, but it is not that eye-catching. The phone’s OS is somewhat buggy and not customizable. If you like gaming and photography, there are other phones that can deliver more promising performance.
Snapdragon 865: What Makes It the Best Processor
As you have already noticed, most of these phones are equipped with flagship specs. It is because the Snapdragon 865 is Qualcomm’s flagship entry into the processor battle. This processor was launched last December 2019 with Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series.
Its performance is said to be equal to Apple’s A13 chip, thanks to its multicore performance. There are many improved points within this processor, especially in the gaming department. Its graphic performance has bested its predecessor by up to 20%. It also has a 5G modem in it, a first by Qualcomm. You’ll get to experience faster internet vs. 4G, though it should be a reminder that 5G is still a budding technology. To get a better grasp on which technology is better, check out our article about 4G vs 5G. This will give you basic differences between the two wireless Internet technologies.
The Snapdragon 865 is the most innovative chip by Qualcomm, but it also has its drawbacks. This processor is more power-hungry, not only because of its faster performance but also its 5G modem. Since this is the first-ever processor with 5G, it is expected to be not that optimized for 5G yet. That is why most of the flagship phones with Snapdragon 865 have a beefy battery in them. You might want to wait for a little while if you really want to chase 5G on your phone that has efficient battery life.
Snapdragon 865 vs 865 Plus: Which Is Better?
The Snapdragon 865 is one of the best flagship processors made by Qualcomm. But it’s as if the Snapdragon 865 is not enough for manufacturers. Qualcomm has decided to release an upgraded version of this flagship processor. The Snapdragon 865 Plus is Qualcomm’s answer to the manufacturer’s plea. It has the same processing power as its stock brother but with faster speeds and more efficiency. But does it really perform better than the Snapdragon 865?
The Plus version’s gaming performance is truly above the Snapdragon 865. It’s all thanks to its Adreno 650 GPU that boosts up to 10% of games being played on the phone. All the graphics can be generated on the game and you can amp up your graphics up to the Ultra level without any hiccups. It also has a faster clock speed versus the SD865, with a 9% improvement for a slicker gaming experience without any lags or frame drops. And when it comes to internet usage, the Snapdragon 865 Plus boasts connectivity of up to 3.6 Gbps. No more buffering or game delays, thanks to its faster Internet connectivity.
And that’s all there is to it. The Snapdragon 865 still packs a punch versus its beefier brother. The processor’s clock speed and GPU are essentially almost the same as the 865 Plus. You’d still expect a buttery smooth performance on this processor from gaming to multitasking. It also has 5G in it, making these phones future-proof. Snapdragon 865 Plus-equipped phones are also more expensive, thus a little less pocket-friendly. If you are not that picky when it comes to processor specs, the SD865 is more than enough for your daily tasks and routines. If you are more of a gaming buff, get an SD865 Plus-equipped phone.
The Snapdragon 865 processor may not be the latest flagship chip today, but this chipset has made many firsts in the smartphone world. Support for a higher screen refresh rate, 5G, and faster processing power are some of the innovations made within this chip. Phones that are equipped with this processor are surely future-proof, at least for a couple of years. This is the most opportune time to get a Snapdragon 865 phone if you are eyeing for your next flagship phone.