Qualcomm Snapdragon processors are the most well recognized SoCs in the Android smartphone space. Anyone besides Apple and Huawei who makes proper Flagship grade phones definitely uses Snapdragon processors.

Qualcomm Snapdragon processors are not limited to only just flagship grade offerings. They offer something for everyone at every tier and their offerings are sure to be amongst the best of the competition.

Qualcomm Snapdragon
Image credits: Notebook check

Brief history of Qualcomm

Qualcomm was created on July 1, 1985 by seven former Linkabit employees led by Irwin Jacobs. The company is named Qualcomm, shortened for “QUALity COMMunications.” It started as a contract research and development centre largely for government and defense projects but they later delved into electronics and communication. They invented CDMA (2G) in 1986 and by 1996, it was widely in use. Qualcomm also helped develop the technologies used in 3G, LTE and 5G.

Read: What are Qualcomm’s Kryo CPU cores

Qualcomm have an architecture license from ARM holdings which allows them to modify ARM’s design to build more superior chips (please see my previous post on ARM cortex). Qualcomm’s custom cores are the now abandoned Krait and currently Kryo cores.

  • Kryo = Qualcomm custom
  • Kryo 2xx = Cortex-A73
  • Kryo 3xx = Cortex-A75
  • Kryo 4xx = Cortex-A76
  • Kryo 5xx = Cortex-A77
  • Kryo 6xx = Cortex A78
  • ARMv9 Kryo Prime, Gold and Silver

The success of Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets have been attributed to their superior engineering, design and GPUs.

Another telling factor is that unlike the competition, Qualcomm manufactures its own CPUs and GPU. Both are soldered onto a single substrate and operate together.

In response to today’s market demands, there are 4 tiers of Snapdragon chipsets:

800/8 Gen series
700/7 Gen series
600/6 Gen series
400/4 Gen series

Read: The Rivalry between Qualcomm Snapdragon and Samsung Exynos: A brief history

800/8 Gen Series

These are among the best chipsets in a phone that money can buy and every year, Qualcomm releases a new flagship SoC for phone makers. In the recent past, they always started with the number 800. Now they begin with the 8 Gen X (insert number).

In 2018, SD845 ruled the market. In 2019, it was SD855 and SD855+. When 2020 rolled in, it was SD865 and SD865+ and they strode the landscape like a Colossi (blame Peter Drury and PES 2020). Notable SD865 phones are Samsung Galaxy S20 lineup (US, Korea), Xiaomi Mi 10 series, LG V60 and the Sony Xperia 1 II.

Fast-forward to 2021, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 888 and Snapdragon 888+. This broke their naming scheme and left everyone scratching their heads.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, for 2022, they reworked the naming scheme again. Qualcomm’s current flagship is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. This is what powers current flagships like the Xiaomi 12 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in the end, did turn out to have heating issues (probably) due to poor fabrication from Samsung’s foundries. It has since been replaced by the 8+ Gen 1 and the 8 Gen 2. In addition, there’s also the 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy which powers the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Samsung S20 Ultra (image credits: GSMARENA)

700/7 Gen series

The 700 series was designed to bridge the gap between Midrange phones and Flagship phones. Most of the chips found in the segment are either upper midrangers (710, 712 and 720G) or premium midranges (778G, 780G and above).

These phones bring you close to the performance of a flagship phone at an affordable and/or competitive price. Notable SoCs here are the: 

  • SD710,
  • SD712,
  • SD720G,
  • SD730/730G,
  • 732G,
  • 750G,
  • SD765/765G,
  • SD778G/778G+ and
  • SD780G

The G in front denotes Gaming. These phones are pricey and cost anything from 150k and above generally ending at 200k but with the weak Naira, expect prices to rise.

The new Snapdragon 7 Gen series takes Midrange performance to a very different level with chipsets like the 7 Gen 1 and the 7+ Gen 2 doing exceptionally well.

Notable phones in this segment are Xiaomi Mi Note 10, MI9T, Poco X2, Redmi Note 9S/9 Pro, Realme X2 and Motorola Razr.

600/6 Gen series

The 600 series focuses on a broad spectrum of phones from the budget segment to the Midrange segment. These devices are usually priced below $300 (US) or around 130k Naira. Notable chipsets here are:

  • SD625 (Mi A2 lite, Redmi 6 pro);
  • SD630 (Nokia 6.1),
  • SD632 (Redmi 7),
  • SD636 (RN5AI, Nokia X6, Infinix Zero 6),
  • SD660 (RN7, Nokia 7.2),
  • SD662 is new, SD665 (Redmi Note 8),
  • SD670
  • SD675 (Samsung Galaxy A70 and Redmi Note 7 Pro) and last but not least, the new
  • SD690 5G.

In addition , there is a new chipset called the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 and it has been released for the lower Midrange segment.

400/4 Gen series

These are designed to cater for the entry level and budget market. Don’t expect a lot from them as they come very cheap. My personal favourite is the Redmi Go (SD425), there’s also SD429, SD430 (Gionee S11 lite, Infinix hot S3X), SD439 (Redmi 7a, Redmi 8/a), SD450 and SD460. These should all be priced below 50k or 70k in Naira at most.

The latest chipset here is the very decent Snapdragon 4 Gen 1.

Why do a lot of people consider Snapdragon processors to be the best on the market?

  1. Great CPU performance: They outperform a lot of the competition.
  2. Games: Devs and studios find it easier to build games for SD chipsets and the Adreno GPU does a wonderful job of rendering graphics more than other chips on the Android Ecosystem.
  3. Mods: SD chipsets are also easier to mod or port apps for as Qualcomm releases certain information for Modders and developers to work with.
  4. Support and Longevity: SD chipsets are well supported and will remain relevant for a long period of time before being phased out. There’s a whole army of staff, modders and developers both from the company, the OEMs as well as independent developers who are willing to iron out bugs and provide updates wherever they pop up.

This brings us to the end of Qualcomm Snapdragon rundown, this was a personal favourite for me. Tell me in the comment section if you have used any Qualcomm Snapdragon phone before, if you are using any now and if you plan on using any in the future. Thank you for reading.

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