Snapdragon superpowers are coming to phones in 2020

Mala Bhargava | Updated on December 10, 2019 Published on December 10, 2019

Qualcomm’s flagship chipset Snapdragon 865 is designed for next-gen flagship devices

This is how the new Snapdragon processors is going to change the smartphone market

All year round we’ve seen Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 and 855+ working on top-end phones. Now here comes Snapdragon 865 with improvements that a lot of smartphone companies will be touting on their new offerings. Realme, Xiaomi and others have already lined up to race to offer phones that will harness its power. It’s a safe bet to think that the OnePlus 8 will come with the 865 as will the other flagships like the Galaxy S11, except one can’t say whether the version that will come to India will have that chip or Samsung’s own Exynos. In case you’re wondering whether to buy a phone now in the holiday season or wait for what’s next, here’s a quick guide to what you can expect. Of course, there’s always something better around the corner, but a step up in processor enables a lot of capabilities so it isn’t just about prettier, shinier and more expensive phones.

We can run through the list of micro-components and specs but better still let’s look at what it will be like to use a phone fitted with the new chips.

Super connectivity

The 865 is meant for a 5G world. Not that it won’t work in a 4G one. In fact, it uses a combination of 4G and 5G spectrum. It will mean faster download speeds so that everything reaches you quicker and even upload speeds will be faster. A separate chip will include the X55 5G modem to work with the 865.

Twice the AI

Through this past year, we’ve seen that artificial intelligence has been used on phones for a whole lot of tasks, from learning the user’s usage habits and pushing what is likely to be used next to improving photos by recognising what’s in them to lengthening battery life by reducing background working when something is not in use to using virtual assistants for high-speed responses. Now in 2020, double that. With a new Hexagon Tensor Accelerator, it pushes 15 trillion operations per second with efficiency. This will make mobile experiences in photography, gaming and voice interactions such as real-time AI translation intuitive. A ‘Sensing Hub’ is supposed to ensure highly accurate voice detection and always-on contextual awareness for smarter virtual assistants—all while using extremely low power, says Qualcomm.

Photography on steroids

If you use a phone for photography a good deal, you may not be able to resist buying a new phone in 2020 because of the improvements coming to phone cameras. A new Qualcomm Spectra 480 ISP promises to capture professional-quality photos and videos processing 2 Gigapixels per second. This speed means Dolby Vision video capture, 8K video recording, capturing 200 megapixel photos, and simultaneously capturing 4K HDR video and 64 MP photos. Shooting photos during video capture will make for some creative action photos that will really charge up phone photos.

Upping the game

Qualcomm claims the performance of the 865 and the Adreno 650 GPU makes for ‘desktop class gaming’ on devices that come with this chip. The graphics will look clearer and more real, specifically with the rendering of lighting, shadows, and reflections at different angles. The chip also uses something Qualcomm calls Game Color Plus which boosts colour dynamically to maintain realistic skin tones while saturating elements that need to be. The GPU is supposed to be able to receive updated drivers from time to time, improving the gaming experience.

The Snapdragon 865 is not just faster and more powerful than the Snapdragon 855, but more power efficient, leading to better battery life. It will also make it possible for phones to use screens with a 144Hz refresh rate where phones currently use 60Hz and a few use 90Hz. Security will be better as support for ultrasonic fingerprints and even two-finger authentication adds another layer of safety.

Snapdragon 765 for mid-rangers

Affordable devices are not to be neglected as they get a boost in capabilities from the 765. This too is a 5G platform that uses a X52 5G Modem-RF System for connectivity in any region and has the Qualcomm AI Engine at its heart. The chip is coupled with the Adreno 620 GPU bringing a 20% boost performance compared to the previous generation. It will also support all-day battery life with on-device AI monitoring battery health and safety. It’s Quick Charge AI Technology is claimed to extend battery life cycles up to 200 days. More excitingly, the chip is designed to deliver great results photography and rendering media.

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Published on December 10, 2019
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