As part of its annual event in Maui, Hawaii, Qualcomm unveiled its latest and greatest chipset – the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The new chipset has some significant all-round improvements. We can’t wait to see how phonemakers harness the potential of the flagship SoC to power next-gen premium smartphones. Wondering why we’re excited about the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and its accompanying devices? We give you not one, not two, but eight reasons…
1) Powerful structure
The new Kryo architecture in Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 features a tri-cluster architecture. The high-end Prime Core has the new Cortex-X3 and is clocked at 3.2GHz. But what’s interesting is that the other two clusters are configured to run at higher clock speeds, while ensuring battery life doesn’t suffer. With 4 x 2.8GHz performance cores and 3 x 2.0GHz efficiency cores, performance is 35 percent faster than its predecessor. On the other hand, the power efficiency is improved up to 40 percent.
2) Snapdragon Elite Gaming
Mobile gaming has quickly overtaken PC or console gaming. Not to mention the freedom to play anytime, anywhere. Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 comes with a new Adreno GPU that is 25 percent faster with 45 percent battery efficiency. The graphics processor includes Vulcan 1.3, which boosts performance by 30 percent, and the Unreal Engine 5 MetaHumans framework that delivers photorealistic human characters in games. It’s not just about the hardware as Snapdragon Elite Gaming comes with some features that make gaming a delightful experience. Chief among them is support for real-time hardware-accelerated ray tracing. This technology enables soft shadows, perfect glass reflections and ambient occlusion to give you a realistic experience while playing your favorite titles.
3) Snapdragon Smart
With artificial intelligence features across the board, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 “Intended for AI“. The Qualcomm AI engine activates the new and powerful Hexagon processor along with the Kryo CPU, and Adreno GPU as well as a brand new sensing hub, which we will talk about in the next section. The Hexagon processor comes with a new architecture that includes micro tile inference and a large tensor accelerator that delivers 4.35X performance. Improves. It is the world’s first processor to offer INT4 support in mobile, has a 60 percent performance / watt improvement for stable AI inference, and has a unique power delivery system. There is a Hexagon Direct Link that connects the ISP, Adreno GPU, AI processor, and memory.
4) Qualcomm Sensing Hub
Remember the ability to wake up your phone with your voice commands? It seemed like magic when it first made its way to smartphones. Qualcomm is taking it to the next level with the Sensing Hub featuring dual AI processors. It always has a sensing camera along with sensors, voice / audio support, various connectivity standards, authentication mechanisms and others. There’s also support for custom wake words, and developers can unlock more capabilities with the Qualcomm AI stack.
5) Snapdragon focus
Thanks to AI features, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 offers the world’s first cognitive ISP. With it, smartphones can provide a real-time segmentation filter, applying an adaptive treatment to each layer to ensure that the captured image or video looks realistic. In other words, instead of applying the same treatment to the entire image/video, ISP AI uses a neural network to distinguish different elements of the frame like face, hair, clothes, sky, objects, etc. and optimize them accordingly.
In terms of hardware support, the chipset supports new generation image sensors. For example, Sony and Samsung respectively have developed new sensors that offer Quad Digital Overlap HDR technology and a 200MP sensor (called the Samsung ISOCELL HP3). It is the first Snapdragon processor to come with the AV1 codec, which supports video playback up to 8K HDR at 60fps.
6) Snapdragon Connect
AI capabilities lead to connectivity features as well. It enables fast upload and download speeds with low latency and excellent battery capacity. The Snapdragon X70 5G modem also supports 4CC and 5G dual-SIM, dual-activity. Then there’s the FastConnect 7800, which offers next-gen Wi-Fi 7 with HBS (High Band Simultaneous) multi-link that delivers download speeds of up to 5.8Gbps. At <2ms, it also has the world's lowest latency Wi-Fi. Dual Bluetooth is also supported.
7) Snapdragon Sound
Qualcomm has also paid a lot of attention to the audio department. Thanks to Snapdragon Sound, the chipset offers support for 48khz lossless music streaming and dynamic spatial audio. After playing supported games or multimedia content, this technology can collect head movements and adjust the sound to provide a life-like experience. A very low latency of 48ms ensures that gamers can stay focused and they can also communicate with other players with the built-in voice backchannel.
8) Snapdragon Secure
With data privacy becoming an important issue in the modern age, Qualcomm has put it front and center in its flagship SoC. With Snapdragon Secure, the Snapdragon 8 Gen platform offers the latest technologies in cryptography, key management, attestation and more. This ensures that your data is safe and secure.
9) Bonus: Partnership with leading smartphone OEMs
There is no doubt that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is a powerhouse. But all that doesn’t matter if there aren’t devices powered by it. The chipmaker has already taken care of that as it has announced partnerships with leading OEMs. From leading brands like Xiaomi, OnePlus, OPPO and Vivo to gaming-focused offerings from ASUS ROG, iQOO, REDMAGIC and more, we’ll see a flood of Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered smartphones.
And you don’t have to wait long. Some of these phones are expected to be commercially released by the end of 2022, with a large number of subsequent flagships next year equipped with Qualcomm’s latest and greatest.
Disclosure: This writer is attending the Snapdragon Tech Summit in Maui, Hawaii at the invitation of Qualcomm India