The Snapdragon 870 just made an entrance into the smartphone market, and as you can expect from the name, it is slightly better than the Snapdragon 865+, which was itself a bit faster than Snapdragon 865.
Looking at the specifications, the most evident difference is a higher CPU frequency clock of the Prime core (the fastest of the 8 CPU cores). This should push some benchmark numbers (like Geekbench ) higher and also help CPU-limited applications. Other than that, everything else looks pretty much the same.
Why release this 870 chip right after the next-generation Snapdragon 888 found in the Galaxy S21? Probably to ensure that that little price/performance gap is left between Snapdragon 765/768, Snapdragon 865, and Snapdragon 888.
As Qualcomm’s clients compete heavily in some of these segments Snapdragon 870 will prove to be an exciting option for clients who want to balance their product features differently. At this level of competitiveness, every bit of wiggle room is an opportunity to shape a smartphone for a targeted audience.
Qualcomm mentions that Motorola, iQOO, OnePlus, OPPO, and Xiaomi had already signed up to use this hardware platform in upcoming products in a press release.
While Snapdragon 865+ might have been the product of binning (sorting out chips that pass the higher clock speeds), it is not confirmed if Snapdragon 870 is the product of optimized hardware design with tweak/fixes along the signal path.
The difference is that binning does not allow for high volumes. Hence, it is more probable that Qualcomm has optimized the hardware design and can now mass-produce this architecture and reach the highest clock frequencies reliably.
Regardless, OEMs can build excellent smartphones without paying the highest price for the latest components like Snapdragon 888. In 2021, the industry expects the average consumer to be more frugal, and upcoming products should emphasize value and lower nominal prices when possible.