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Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC: up to 30% faster and big focus on camera and AI

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

Qualcomm revealed the Snapdragon 845 a compelling processor for next-generation flagship Android devices. The new SoC is based on the company’s custom Kryo 385 architecture that is touted to speed up the performance by up to 30%  compared with last year’s Snapdragon 835, while an Adreno 630 GPU is available to enhance on-screen graphics. The company has also added on-device artificial intelligence (AI) functionality.

Snapdragon 845

The 845 is a direct successor to last year’s very popular Snapdragon 835, and it will likely bring improved performance, better power efficiency, and improved image processing. The Snapdragon 845 will likely be found in many high-end Android phones in 2018, though it is also expected to make its way to Windows 10 laptops as well.

Last year’s Snapdragon 835 featured a 10nm manufacturing process, and the 845 is the same. Qualcomm will pair the 845 with its latest X20 LTE modem, which provides gigabit connectivity on supported networks.

The Snapdragon 845 has 8 cores, built using the ARM A75 cores and ARM A55 cores. These ARM cores have been modified by Qualcomm so the company is calling them semi-custom cores. It says that the four high-performance A75 cores will run at a speed of up to 2.8GHz, a decent improvement over the 2.45Ghz that is the top speed of the Snapdragon 835. The smaller and power-efficient A55 cores run at a speed of up to 1.8Ghz in the Snapdragon 845, which is actually a slight decrease compared to the top speed of 1.9GHz from the similar cores in the Snapdragon 835.

However, due to the improvements in the processor architecture, and most likely because of an additional L3 cache of 2MB and 3MB system cache, the high-performance cores in the Snapdragon 835 offer performance improvement of up to 30% and the power-efficient core provide up to 15% more performance.

The Snapdragon 845 comes with a new graphics processor called Adreno 630 that offers up to 30% more performance while gaming compared to the Adreno 540.

Snapdragon 845

The core performance is, however, not the big deal about the Snapdragon 845. Instead, according to Qualcomm, its new processor aims t solve the specific problems that define the user experience. The company says that with the Snapdragon 845 it wants to improve the camera experience, the security on a smartphone, the way virtual assistants work on the phone, the way video is recorded and how the AI-rich apps run on a device.


Big focus on cameras:

Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon 845 will allow phone makers to create cameras that capture richer colours and better micro-contrast in images. It will also offer the ability to create better portrait photos with blurred background, even with just one camera, as well as offer better low-light photos by allowing multi-frame processing. Incidentally, multi-frame processing, as well as AI-driven single lens portrait mode, is something Google’s Pixel 2 already uses to create magical photos. If Qualcomm indeed delivers on its promise, many more phone companies – including companies like OnePlus, Xiaomi, Motorola, LG and Nokia – will be able to offer Pixel 2-class cameras on their phones.

Snapdragon 845

To be specific, Qualcomm claims that phones powered by Snapdragon 845 will be able to get 100 plus points in DxO camera benchmarks. Currently, the list at the DxO is topped by Google Pixel 2 that scores 98 points. Along with the improvements in the imaging performance, the Snapdragon 845 will also improve video recording by allowing phone makers to enable slow-mo modes of up to 480FPS.

Faster LTE:

The Snapdragon 845 also comes with a new modem X20 LTE that will support download speed of up to 1.2gbps, 20%  higher than what the Snapdragon 835 offered. Although, this speed can be utilized only with Gigabit LTE networks that are currently available only in 20 odd countries. For now, no telecom operator in India offers Gigabit LTE network.

Artificial intelligence:

Artificial intelligence is, naturally, another big focus here. The San Diego chipmaker is promising some pretty big gains on that front — specifically a 3x performance boost. That means improved personal assistant performance and all sorts of other improvements to existing features. The company’s also added support for TensorFlow Lite and the new Open Neural Network Exchange frameworks, in addition to regular old TensorFlow and Caffe, freeing up developer choice on that front.

Security, Battery life and AR/VR

For security, there’s a devoted secure processing unit onboard, which should bring improvements to biometrics and encryption. Battery life is another key upgrade, with the new Snapdragon promising almost one-third power reduction for energy-hungry features like video capture, AR/VR and gaming.

Which Smartphones could have the new Snapdragon 845 SoC.

The phones with the Snapdragon 845 will be available in 2018. It is expected that the Samsung Galaxy S9 will be the first phone to use the Snapdragon 845. Also, yesterday Xiaomi CEO had confirmed that the next flagship from the company will use the Snapdragon 845. This phone is likely to be the Xiaomi Mi 7. Other than these two phones, there will be tens of other high-end phones, including OnePlus 6, next-gen Nokia flagship phone, next-gen Moto Z flagship phone, Pixel 3 as well as possible devices like the LG G7 that will use the Snapdragon 845.