Qualcomm has announced its new mid-range flagship chipset in the Android world, the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1. The Snapdragon 7 series gains several firsts, including Qualcomm’s dedicated AI Engine, up to 200MP image capture, and Android Ready SE for e-money solutions.
The new SoC is powered by a Kryo CPU cluster clocked at up to 2.4GHz and an Adreno 662 GPU. Qualcomm claims that the new chip handles graphics 20 percent faster than the previous Snapdragon 778G, and that AI tasks perform 30 percent better on the new platform.
The Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 also includes the Snapdragon X62 5G modem, which supports 4.4 Gbps download speeds and dual standby 5G connectivity in both standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) modes. WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 with Snapdragon Sound and aptX support are also included.
The Qualcomm Spectra triple ISP supports up to 200MP photo capture as well as 4K HDR video recording. Photo capture in 10-bit HEIC and video recording in HEVC are also options. Another first is Android SE and Trusted Management Engine, which promises maximum security for digital keys and wallets.
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
Moreover, there’s a revamped version of Qualcomm’s flagship chipset, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. The new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 (SM8475) promises modest speed improvements and notable power savings – the original 8 Gen 1 was never slow, but heat and power usage were its main issues.
Qualcomm claims a 10% increase in CPU performance and a 30% increase in power efficiency for the CPU. The peak Cortex-X2 core can now reach 3.2GHz, matching the Snapdragon 870 clock speed in early 2021. (the X2 in the original 8 Gen 1 topped out at 3.0Ghz).
The following are the new frequencies for the other two CPU clusters: The prime core runs at 3.2GHz, the gold cores at 2.75GHz, and the silver cores at 2.0GHz. This is an increase from 3.0GHz, 2.5GHz, and 1.8GHz.
Similarly, the GPU operates at a 10% higher frequency while consuming 30% less power. Furthermore, the AI engine now has a 20% higher performance per Watt ratio. Wireless modems have also become more efficient.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is now available: CPU and GPU efficiency is 30% higher, and performance is 10% faster.
On the SoC level, overall power efficiency has increased by 15%. To put it another way, a phone with the same chipset can stream video for 1 hour and 30 minutes longer than one with the old chip. Voice calls, a light load, can now be extended by 5 hours and 30 minutes (the rest of the hardware being equal).
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is now available: CPU and GPU efficiency is 30% higher, and performance is 10% faster. To achieve these improvements, Qualcomm had to switch foundries – the process is still referred to as “4nm,” but it is manufactured by TSMC rather than Samsung.
The remainder of the hardware inside the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is identical. Up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM (3,200MHz) and UFS 3.1 storage are supported. The display driver supports QHD+ at up to 144Hz and 4K at 60Hz, as well as 10-bit rendering (Rec. 2020) and HDR10+.
The Snapdragon X65 modem has theoretical peak speeds of 10Gbps, while the FastConnect 6900 operates at up to 3.6GHz for Wi-Fi 6/6E. Bluetooth 5.3 supports aptX Lossless and Bluetooth LE Audio (with longer playtimes thanks to the improved efficiency).
The chipset uses the same triple 18-bit Spectra ISP that can handle up to 200MP sensors and 8K video capture at 30fps (4K at 120fps), as well as image processing tricks like multi-frame noise reduction and staggered/DoL HDR, as well as support for HLG, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision.
Again, connectivity and image processing prowess was never an issue for the 8 Gen 1. The problem was that heavy workloads would send the temperature rising and the battery percentage falling.
The first batch of Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 phones is expected to arrive in a few weeks from a broad range of makers, while the first Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 devices will be available in July – September. Oppo’s Reno8 Pro is expected to be the first phone on the market with the new chipset when it gets announced on May 23.