Now that 5G phones are more affordable, Qualcomm wants to make those low-cost devices more desirable. The company has introduced three new systems-on-chip that all promise improved performance for budget 5G hardware. The star is easily the Snapdragon 695. This 6nm-based sequel to the 690 adds much faster millimeter wave 5G (important for carriers like AT&T and Verizon) while delivering up to 30 percent faster graphics and 15 percent speedier CPU tasks. Your next mid-range phone might be that much better-suited to gaming and giant downloads.
The Snapdragon 480 Plus and 778G Plus, meanwhile, are iterations of the 480 and 778G that deliver minor gains to CPU and GPU performance through increased clock speeds. Think of them as tune-ups for entry-level and upper-mid-range phones, respectively — you won’t have to make do with a chip several months old.
There’s also a lone LTE chip, the Snapdragon 680, that shares the 695’s 6nm process without the added costs of 5G. It’s aimed at markets where 5G service is either limited or too expensive.
All four parts are due to reach shipping products before the end of 2021. Honor, Motorola, Nokia (that is, HMD Global), Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi all expect to use one or more of the new Snapdragons in their phones.
There’s a pragmatism at work. The 6nm parts (including the 778G Plus) help Qualcomm continue to serve a large chunk of the smartphone market despite limited supplies of 5nm parts like the 780G. It doesn’t have to rely on truly old process lStill, it’s notable that the chip maker is launching so many speed-bumped chips in the first place — the company is clearly determined to fend off heavyweights like MediaTek that thrive on budget and mid-range hardware.