The new Snapdragon 845 is a major step forward from its predecessor the Snapdragon 835. Our very own Gary Sims recently put the 845 through its paces and found gains all over the place. One of the more exciting improvements was a gain of 20-40 percent in GPU performance. That increase in performance will keep FPS smooth as more demanding games come to the mobile space, like PUBG Mobile and (eventually) Fortnite.
So what are the best Snapdragon 845 phones out there? Good question.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The latest phone in the Galaxy Note series has some extremely high-end hardware inside. Even if you get the lowest priced model, you still get a phone with a 6.4-inch display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of onboard storage, a microSD slot for even more storage, and a big 4,000mAh battery that should last you at least a day, or perhaps more, on a full charge. You can even get a model with 8GB of RAM and a massive 512GB of storage.
The S-Pen in the Note 9 has also been revamped, adding Bluetooth LE support. That allows you to use it as a remote controller to open apps, control the camera and more. The Note 9 can also work in a PC desktop mode, thanks to Samsung’s newest version of its DeX technology. You only need to connect the phone to a monitor or TV with a USB-C to HDMI adapter and cable. All of this comes at a cost; you will have to pay $999 to get the 6GB/128GB model and $1,249 for the 8GB/512GB model.
The latest OnePlus device is the OnePlus 6 and it’s a monster for performance, with top-of-the-line specs boasting the Snapdragon 845, 8GB of RAM, and 256GM of onboard storage. The 6.01-inch device sports a notch but that does give it a giant screen, and you can turn it off if you please. Keeping the headphone jack is a nice touch, and with a stock-like Android experience, it’s going to be a seller for enthusiasts if the price-tag starting at $529 and going up to $629 for the top model doesn’t put you off.
HTC U12 Plus
HTC’s latest flagship, the U12 Plus (there is no U12, by the way) includes a lot of we loved about the HTC U11 Plus but with a few obvious upgrades. Anyone who has used the HTC U11 or U11 Plus will find the latest flagship very familiar. HTC continues its minimalist Liquid Surface design language, giving us a beautiful glass design with IP68 water resistance. The biggest design change can be found in the buttons. Instead of physical keys, they are now pressure-sensitive. While these buttons may not provide a physical click, they do provide haptic feedback to let you know they’ve been triggered.
The HTC U12 Plus offers the latest Qualcomm processor, the Snapdragon 845. The handset offers 6GB RAM and either 64 or 128GB of internal storage, with microSD expansion. There’s also a big 6-inch Super LCD 6 panel with a resolution of 2,880 x 1,140. The battery on the HTC U12 Plus is a bit smaller, going down to 3,500mAh. BoomSound is back for great audio support but there’s no headphone jack for the U12 Plus
The HTC U12 Plus comes in both translucent blue and ceramic black colors for $799. This base model comes with 64GB of storage. The beefier 128GB model comes in just translucent blue, and is priced at $849.
Samsung Galaxy S9/S9 Plus
Depending on where you are in the world the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus may have a Snapdragon 845. Those in North & Latin Americas, China, Japan will get the Snapdragon 845 because of all the CDMA patents Qualcomm has.
Those looking to buy the phone elsewhere, like in Europe, South Korea, or India, will find Samsung LSI’s Exynos 9810 SoC inside. Generally, benchmarks show the 845 is the one you want. It’s faster in both CPU and GPU benchmarks, with better energy efficiency as well. The Exynos line is slowly catching up to the Snapdragon line, which is encouraging for Samsung, but still a way behind.
The S9 with the 845 leads all benchmarks. It’s the one you’ll want to spend your money on if you’re going for the top of the line.
LG G7 ThinQ/G7 Plus ThinQ
The latest LG G7 ThinQ offers LG flagship specs, boasting the Snapdragon 845, 4 or 6GB of RAM, expandable memory, great new audio features, and an all-around better camera over the G6. Our LG G7 review pointed out that LG deserves more attention for their high-quality phones, but wanted more battery life and wasn’t sure about some of the notch gimmicks, but the phone was no slouch. LG G7 pricing is a little hard to figure out depending on where you live, but the phone will retail in South Korea for 899,800 won (~$833), while the G7 ThinQ Plus will cost 973,500 won (~$900), and T-Mobile just release that they’ll sell it for $750 outright. The phone is coming to most of the carriers so there may be some further deals to explore there if you’re keen.
Sony Xperia XZ2, XZ2 Compact and XZ2 Premium
Sony didn’t mess about with its latest devices when they dropped at MWC 2018. The Sony Xperia XZ2 and smaller Xperia XZ2 Compact both come with the Snapdragon 845. With a fresh water-inspired design, 4GB of RAM, expandable memory on top of 64GB of internal storage, and an 18:9 screen, it’s a top-end phone. XZ2 will be available to those in the U.S. as soon as April. We haven’t had a chance for a full review yet, but our initial XZ2 hands-on was positive for Sony fans.
There’s also a new Xperia XZ2 Premium heading to market, offering a dual-camera setup for the first time from Sony, along with a Bokeh mode.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 flagship was given an iterative improvement in March, upgrading the Mix 2S with a Snapdragon 845 and a major camera update. Our review of the Mi Mix 2S praised its rear camera sensors. The major limitation of the Xiaomi line is availability — you can only get it in China and other parts of Asia for the price of3,299 yuan (~$520), which is a very reasonable price for this phone.
Asus ZenFone 5Z
Asus caught some flack when it unveiled the first in a series of Android phones with a notch. Despite that, the 6.2-inch Asus ZenFone 5Z is packed with value, with a Snapdragon 845, 6GB RAM, 64GB of storage, dual-SIM support, and a 3,300 mAh battery. It’s priced at $499, which sets this up as a solid competitor for companies like OnePlus and Honor. The Asus ZenFone 5Z is available now, unlocked, via Amazon.
Xiaomi Black Shark Gaming Phone
Black Shark is a Xiaomi company which announced a brand-new gaming-focused phone, complete with a joystick controller attachment. It’s a 6-inch device with a 2.5D, 2160 x 1080 resolution display, the Snapdragon 845 chipset, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 128GB storage. Unfortunately, this phone is only available in China, where the price is about $479 for the version with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while the $559 version includes 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
Xiaomi Pocophone F1
The Xiaomi Pocophone F1 may be the biggest value ever for a smartphone. It has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor inside, along with a 5.99-inch Full HD+ display, and a large 4,000mAh battery. You can get this phone with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage in India for the price of just 21,000 rupees, or about $300. Yes, $300 with a phone with the current leader in mobile processors. You can also get the phone in other memory and storage configurations, all the way up to 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage for a still outstanding price of 30,000 rupees (~$430) in India. The Xiaomi Pocophone F1 will be sold in Asia, parts of Europe, the Middle East and parts of South America, but there are unfortunately no plans to sell it in the US.
Oppo Find X
The Oppo Find X is the current winner for a phone with the best body-to-screen ratio (93 percent( with its large 6.42-inch display. It has very little bezel space, thanks to the fact that both the front and rear cameras are hidden inside the phone, and rise up from the top when needed via a mechanical sliding part. In addition to the Snapdragon 845, the Oppo Find X has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It’s available now in India for the price of ₹59,990 ($875). A special Lamborghini branded addition for the phone, with 512GB of RAM and support for Oppo’s SuperVOOC fast charging battery tech, will launch in Europe for the price of 1,699 euros. The phone won’t be launched in the US.
Here’s another phone with a high body-to-screen ratio. The Vivo Nex has a massive 6.59-inch Super AMOLED panel that takes up 91.24 percent of the front display. The front-facing camera pops up when needed for selfie pictures on top of the phone. In addition, this phone has an in-display fingerprint sensor, and the display also doubles as the phone’s external audio source, replacing the standard speaker. All of this, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, is available now in China, and also in India for ₹44,990 ($652). Once again, there are no plans to release the Vivo Nex in the US.
Announced and upcoming phones
Asus ROG Gaming Phone
Sony Xperia XZ3
The just revealed Sony Xperia XZ3 doesn’t make many changes, design-wise, compared to the older Xperia XZ2. The corners of the display are now curved, however, and the bezels are now a bit thinner. Inside, the phone will have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of built-in storage with an option to expand that with a microSD card that’s up to 512GB in size. There’s also front-facing stereo speakers, a 3,330mAh battery, a rear 19MB camera and a front-facing 13MP camera.
The biggest change for this phone is with its 6-inch display, as Sony uses its own Bravia OLED technology that it uses for its big screen televisions. The use of Sony’s Triluminos Display and its X-Reality imagine processor is supposed to offer images and video that have more natural looking colors. The Xperia XZ3 will go on sale October 17 via Amazon and Best Buy for $899.99.
Just getting started…
All the major smartphone flagships in 2018 will have a Snapdragon 845. Stay tuned as we’ll be sure to update this post as more new Snapdragon 845 phones are announced.