5 Best Phones with Snapdragon 865 in 2021 – Expert Guide

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Best phone with Snapdragon 865

Today I woke up and asked myself “Which is the best phone with Snapdragon 865 in 2021?”. I figured this would be an interesting topic to cover since 865 is a high-performance chipset but also comes with some less expensive phones. If you were asking yourself the same question take a few minutes to go through our article. You will find much useful information that you simply must know before you buy a phone with Snapdragon 865.

Snapdragon 865 was announced in December 2019. The first phones to features this chipset were the Samsung Galaxy S20 series which were released in Q1 2020. The performance and energy efficiency are improved by 25% compared to its predecessor 855. This 5G exclusive chipset is integrated into some of the best-performing phones on the market in 2021.

Later in 2020, a further improved version of an already highly capable chipset was announced – The Snapdragon 865+. Compared to the regular 865 it is improved by an additional 10%, mostly in the gaming and AI area.

In our list, we included phones with both Snapdragon 865 and 865+, the best ones from different price ranges. Which one you pick will mostly depend on your budget you are willing to spend on your new phone. But since they all feature 865 or 865+ chipsets, you can be sure that the user experience is nothing less than outstanding with any of them.

If you want to read a full detailed review of our recommended phone with Snapdragon 865 click here. Or if you are more interested in our top budget pick we got you covered here.

DID YOU KNOW: The Hexagon 698 processor is powering the AI side of the Snapdragon 865, claiming a 2x boost over the Snapdragon 855. It’s designed to take the AI load on the device for a more seamless experience, with support for faster LPDDR5 – that’s faster RAM.

NOTE: Below you can find a comparison table and a detailed description of the best phones with Snapdragon 865.


BUDGET RECOMMENDED
Xiaomi Mi 10T Samsung Galaxy S20 Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Sony Xperia 5 II Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra

Xiaomi Mi 10T

Samsung Galaxy S20

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Sony Xperia 5 II

Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra
Display 6.67 inches 6.2 inches 6.5 inches 6.1 inches 6.9 inches
Chipset Snapdragon 865 Exynos 990 or Snapdragon 865 * Snapdragon 865 Snapdragon 865 5G Exynos 990 or Snapdragon 865+ *
GPU Adreno 650 Mali-G77 or Adreno 650 * Adreno 650 Adreno 650 Mali-G77 or Adreno 650 *
RAM 6 or 8 GB 8 GB 6 or 8 GB 8 GB 12 GB
Battery 5000 mAh, non-removable 4000 mAh, non-removable 4500 mAh, non-removable 4000 mAh, non-removable 4500 mAh, non-removable
Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon

* International and US hardware.

When you are buying, be careful that you buy a US version as the International version comes with a different chipset that offers less performance!

OVERALL RATING

We evaluated the phones based on several key factors that are important to get a smooth user experience. The most important being CPU and GPU performance and RAM capacity. Of course, we have to consider also the battery as it determines how long you will be able to use your phone without recharging. And we also considered some other factors as display, pixel density, design, and others.

We tested and evaluated all mentioned features and compiled results to a single score number.


What are the best phones with Snapdragon 865?

XIAOMI Mi 10T – Top Budget Phone with Snapdragon 865

One of the best phone with snapdragon 865
CUSTOMER REVIEWS

KEY FEATURES

CPU RAM BATTERY
Snapdragon 865 6 or 8 GB 5000 mAh

PHONE DESCRIPTION

Xiaomi Mi 10T is a brand’s flagship phone that was released in 2020. However, price wise it’s more of a mid-ranger. It sells at a very reasonable price, especially if we take into account everything the phone offers us. It’s still isn’t the cheapest phone you will find, but it’s quite a bargain for such quality. The phone has a great chipset and amazing battery life. The camera performance is awesome and there aren’t any major issues here. Therefore, we decided to list this phone as one of the best phones with Snapdragon 865.

The phone is powered by Snapdragon 865 5G chipset. The performance here is awesome, as you would expect. The phone is appropriate for more complex uses and can run any game out there. You will find a gaming experience here to be exquisite. The phone is very power efficient as well, so it will make this experience even longer. The chipset is further paired with Adreno 650, which is known to be a very good and capable graphic processing unit. As far as RAM goes, you are most likely to get a version with 6 GB of RAM; however, there is a possibility of finding a version with 8 GB. Basic users will find 6 GB to be more than enough. You will be able to execute every task and do all sorts of stuff from running apps to playing games. You can even multitask. Although, if you feel like you need more RAM then you can always seek out a version with 8 GB, which should be sufficient even for demanding games. The storage you will find here has 128 GB, which is plenty. However, it’s not expandable, so this amount of memory has to do.

If you are interested in more details about the phone you can read more by clicking here.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • Performance is great thanks to Snapdragon 865
  • Camera is great with many options and settings
  • You will appreciate 144 Hz refresh rate of the screen. Especially when playing games or watching videos
  • Great battery capacity and an excellent battery life
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • No wireless charging
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

SAMSUNG Galaxy S20

One of the best phone with snapdragon 865
CUSTOMER REVIEWS

KEY FEATURES

CPU RAM BATTERY
Snapdragon 865 8 GB 4000 mAh

PHONE DESCRIPTION

Samsung Galaxy S20 is a powerful phone with an appealing design. Although, we have to say there are better versions out there, such as S20 Ultra. However, they usually cost more. In terms of performance, S20 works really well and it’s also very user friendly. It’s not the newest Galaxy S flagship, but regardless, it still is a high end phone. It is capable of delivering astonishing results in every field. Therefore, it makes our list of best phones with Snapdragon 865.

When we look at the chipsets there is either Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990. Both give an awesome performance, just as you would expect from such quality phone. Sometimes, S20 works even better than S20 Ultra, which is mostly due to smaller screen that the device needs to power. In terms of graphic unit, the phone is equipped with Adreno 650 or Mali-g77 MP11. Both have pretty decent graphic rendering, which makes this phone appropriate for many uses, including gaming. However, you should keep in mind that it can heat up after heavy use. Galaxy S20 has 8 GB of RAM which is more than enough for an average user. It is also enough to run most of the games. In case gaming is your thing, this is a good choice, however probably not the best one. For that, you should look into something with more RAM. But don’t worry, it still is among the top choices, after all, this is a high end phone that has some quality behind it.

If you are interested in more details about the phone you can read more by clicking here.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • The screen is clear and large with strong backlight and punchy colors
  • The phone sits in hand comfortably due to slim and nice design
  • If you get a 5G version you will also be getting 12 GB of RAM instead of standard 8 which makes this phone more future proof
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • Some users have reported occasional freezes on some apps. It has not happened to us and we assume it is a minor issue that may be already solved by latest updates
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

SAMSUNG Galaxy S20 FE

One of the best phone with snapdragon 865
CUSTOMER REVIEWS

KEY FEATURES

CPU RAM BATTERY
Snapdragon 865 6 or 8 GB 4500 mAh

PHONE DESCRIPTION

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is leaner and more affordable version of S20 phones. The FE stands for Fan Edition. This is a phone made especially for the fans and brings premium features at a lower price. There are some trade-offs that come with it, but this still is a very good phone that swings all the way to the top. Therefore, we believe it is one of the best phones with Snapdragon 865.

Galaxy S20 FE is powered by Snapdragon 865 chipset. This mobile processor has a powerful AI processing capability. It gives you a very fast performance and the user experience is generally great. As for the GPU you get Adreno 650, which is the same as on regular S20. The performance is excellent. After all, you do get high-end components built in your phone. So, the phone is more than capable of running difficult tasks and most of the games. There is also no significant overhearing problem. The phone comes either with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage, or 8 GB of RAM, which is further paired with 128, 256 or 512 GB of internal storage. For gamers, we recommend getting a version with 8 GB of RAM as it will perform better.

If you are interested in more details about the phone you can read more by clicking here.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • The S20 FE feels premium despite having a plastic back. This is due to its thickness and weight.
  • The battery is pretty decent and will definitely last you a full day. Even if you are a heavy user
  • Thanks to Snapdragon 865 the performance is very smooth. If you are planning to play games a lot we recommend getting an 8 GB version
  • The fingerprint reader is accurate and fast.
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • It comes with some preinstalled Samsung apps which most users probably will not need. But you can uninstall them and rearrange the phone the way you like
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

SONY Xperia 5 II

One of the best phone with snapdragon 865
CUSTOMER REVIEWS

KEY FEATURES

CPU RAM GPU
Snapdragon 865 5G 8 GB Adreno 650

PHONE DESCRIPTION

Sony Xperia 5 II is a flagship phone of 2020 that truly lives up to its promises. Here we can find all the features that we need and all the features that make this phone so great. You get an excellent chipset, great cameras, and a very good battery life. On top of everything, it all comes together in a beautiful design. This is a phone that is certainly worth the money we are paying for it. Therefore, it’s on our list of the best phones with Snapdragon 865.

The phone is powered by Snapdragon 865 5G chipset, which is known to be an extremely good chip. The performance here is awesome, as expected. Xperia 5 II is appropriate for more complex uses and can run just about any game you will find. The gaming experience here is simply excellent. It is truly flagship-worthy. The phone is very power efficient as well, so it will make your gaming experience even longer. The chipset is further paired with Adreno 650, which is known to be a very good and capable graphic processing unit. One thing you will notice is that the phone becomes warmer during heavy use. However, it is nothing extreme and will not overheat. Furthermore, the phone has 8 GB of RAM. This is more than enough for an average user and advanced user as well. It is also enough to execute every task and do all sorts of other stuff. From playing games to running all sorts of apps, nothing is too much. You are even able to multitask. As far as internal storage goes, you can get either 128 GB or 256 GB of storage. In any case, you can expand it, if you feel like you need more space.

If you are interested in more details about the phone you can read more by clicking here.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • It is on the smaller side compared to some other flagships which makes it very easy to handle in one hand
  • Very powerful chipset which will be able to handle any games, browsing the web and social media, multitasking, you name it
  • Minimal Android overlay with little to no bloatware
  • An excellent battery life
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • Maximum brightness of the screen is not bad, but could be improved
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

One of the best phone with snapdragon 865
CUSTOMER REVIEWS

KEY FEATURES

CPU RAM BATTERY
Exynos 990 or Snapdragon 865+ 12 GB 4500 mAh

PHONE DESCRIPTION

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is a huge new addition to the Note line of phones and is an upgrade from regular Note 20. It is one of Samsung’s most premium phones and it is truly the best of the best in terms of performance, camera quality and battery life. However, it is a bit pricy as well, but you do get extra features in return. The really cool feature is the S Pen of course, which you can make a great use of. Especially now, that the Samsung introduced some new additions to it. Therefore Note 20 Ultra is certainly one of the best phones with Snapdragon 865.

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is equipped with the upgraded Snapdragon 865 chipset, which is paired with Adreno 650 graphics processing unit. Alternatively, it can be equipped with Exynos 990 chipset and have Mali-g77 MP11 graphic unit. Comparing the two, the Snapdragon is slightly better in terms of performance and battery life, however, regarding GPU there is basically no difference. Note 20 Ultra has 12 GB of RAM and is more than capable of carrying out every task smoothly. This includes gaming.

If you are interested in more details about the phone you can read more by clicking here.

WHAT WE LIKED
  • The premium chipset paired with 12 GB will handle any task you can think of
  • The camera setup is amazing and will make a perfect photo in almost any lighting conditions
  • Large 6.9 inch screen makes this phone an absolute pleasure to work with. Great for everyday tasks as well as gaming and watching videos and similar
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • Battery is ok but if you are a heavy user, you may need to charge the phone twice per day. It comes with a 25W fast charging feature so it won’t take long though.
LEARN MORE OR CHECK PRICE

Additional hardware information

CPU

The processor is the central processing unit in an electronic system such as a smartphone. The alternative and common English designation is CPU (Central Processing Unit). A processor is used to control various processes in the system. It handles task management and the distribution of data between individual units. The gigahertz value of a processor indicates its performance. It denotes the clock frequency with which the processing unit executes processes.

A cell phone processor works analogously to the CPU of a computer or controller in an electrical device. It processes individual instructions and program sections sequentially or simultaneously. At the same time, it manages data processing in the cell phone, for example during copy operations from the internal memory to a memory card or another device. The processor can consist of one or more computing cores that form the heart of an electronic system. In a smartphone, the CPU is responsible for the following tasks, among others:

  • Execution of installed applications
  • Controlling graphical displays via the graphics card
  • Establishing connections such as WLAN or UMTS
  • Processing user data

In simple words, the more powerful your CPU is, the better the game will run.

GPU

The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is a dedicated graphics processor in mobile devices. Its main task is to support the smartphone processor (CPU) in displaying 3D data. Including image processing, games, animations, VR applications, and augmented reality. A strong GPU affects the performance of the entire device and can also significantly improve energy efficiency. Therefore the battery capacity is exhausted more slowly.

With the constantly increasing specifications of mobile devices, especially due to ever higher display and camera resolutions, the role of the GPU is becoming more and more important. Accordingly, improved models are constantly entering the market. In system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs, the GPU is lasered into a chip together with the main processor and other components (multimedia processor, LTE modem, signal processor).

RAM

As soon as you execute a program, the associated data is stored in RAM. This means that programs load faster and are still available, even if you have already closed them. When you open an app, it loads all data into RAM the first time you start it. If you now close the app and start it again, the loading process takes less time. The data remains in the RAM as long as the device is supplied with power. If you turn off your smartphone or computer, all data stored in RAM is lost and has to be reloaded when you restart your apps and programs. Don’t worry, the draining of the memory does not affect any data that is in the main memory. So pictures, videos, and co. are still safe even after the power is turned off.

How long the app data remains in the RAM of your phone depends on how much it is available and how much of it other apps are using it. But the more you have it the better. And this is true also if you want to achieve the best gaming experience.

DISPLAY

The display is the most obvious component of a smartphone. It is the showcase for all content and the surface through which you interact with the device. The screen turns the built-in components inside out: It shows whether a smartphone works with a strong or weak chipset via smooth or jerky animations. It lets you judge the quality of the camera. And of course, it shows all the data and apps that are in the device’s memory.

Currently, two panel types are mainly found in smartphones: IPS LCD and OLED. In LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) technology, the individual pixels consist of liquid crystals that, in combination with a polarization filter, display a certain color depending on their orientation. In an IPS panel (In-Plain-Switching), the crystals are constructed in such a way that the display is particularly viewing angle stable. The flat backlight is crucial for the LC display.

The main advantage of OLEDs over IPS is the lower energy consumption. Especially with dark content, even illumination, and high contrast. One disadvantage is that the LEDs lose their luminosity to some degrees due to uneven use. This can result in a burn-in effect. Since the display substrate for the OLED matrix is often made of flexible plastic the phones can also have curved displays. OLED displays are being used more and more, especially in high-end phones.

BATTERY

The battery capacity of your phone does in principle tell you how long it will last before you need to recharge it. The bigger the battery the longer it should last. But it depends also on the power consumption which is in direct correlation with the hardware that is included in the phone, and the battery management algorithms that try to reduce the consumption and preserve the battery as much as possible. Except for the battery capacity, these values are never written in the specification of the phone as they are irrelevant for an average user.

The reason is that the biggest factor to how long your phone will last on one charge is how much you use it and how. For example the screen is one of the biggest energy consumers. So if you are using your phone a lot the battery will get drained quicker, obviously. Heavy multitasking and gaming are also energy demanding.

But nowadays many phones support fast charging, wireless charging etc. So you can charge your phone very quickly and you are good to go.

Best phone with Snapdragon 865 – CONCLUSION

Although it was introduced in 2020, Snapdragon 865 is still a beast chipset in 2021. Paired with a high-performance Adreno 650 GPU the user experience is not compromised in any way. The final decision will probably mostly depend on your budget, but we guarantee that any phone from our list will satisfy your everyday needs. We wish you a great time with your new Snapdragon 865 phone. Take care 🙂.

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