Android gaming phones are about to get faster thanks to the Snapdragon 865 Plus

Snapdragon 865
(Image credit: Future)

New Android phones are about to hit a gaming-themed speed boost in the latter half of 2020 thanks to the debut of an enhanced version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865 Plus will arrive in the Asus ROG Phone 3 first, according to the chipset manufacturer, and it'll boast faster CPU, GPU and Wi-Fi speeds. 

It'll also be coupled with the same speedy 5G modem as found in the Snapdragon 865 chipset.

This is a small bump over the 140 devices that carry to the Snapdragon 865, which was first introduced in the Samsung Galaxy S20 earlier this year – you'll experience a 10% uptick in the CPU clock speeds and 10% faster graphics rendering.

The 865 Plus also has Wi-Fi speeds of up to 3.6Gbps, which Qualcomm touts as the fastest of any mobile Wi-Fi offering in the industry. Overall the Snapdragon 865's single and multi-core clock speeds haven't been as fast as Apple's iPhone 11 series with its A13 Bionic chip, so every win counts here.

Gaming phones are becoming a thing, really

All of this serves the needs of a growing list of the best gaming phones. There are a few standout gaming phones, including the existing Asus ROG 2 and the Razer Phone 2, both from PC makers that have turned attentions to phones. But neither device has sold earth-shattering amounts.

Instead, the Snapdragon 865 Plus has a more important role to play in smartphones from mainstream companies that are betting big on mobile gaming. Samsung and OnePlus are constantly highlighting the gaming capabilities of their new handsets.

That said, we're unlikely to see the Snapdragon 865 Plus in the new crop of Galaxy Note 20 phones – last year's Note 10 and Note 10 Plus skipped the 855 Plus chipset. But we did see this chipset arrive in the Galaxy Z Flip in early 2020.

After the Asus ROG 3, expect the inevitable OnePlus 8T to push the envelope when it comes to mobile chip clock speeds and gaming performance. It's the type of small performance boost that Android phone manufacturers will love to talk about when going head-to-head with Apple's iPhone 12.

Matt Swider