Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors are the most well recognised SoCs in the Android smartphone space. Anyone besides Apple and Huawei who makes proper Flagship grade phones definitely uses Snapdragon processors.
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 was created on July 1, 1985 by seven former Linkabit employees led by Irwin Jacobs. The company was named Qualcomm for “QUALity COMMunications.” It started as a contract research and development centre largely for government and defense projects but they later delved into electronic 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.
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
The success of Snapdragon chipsets have been attributed to it’s superior engineering, design and GPUs. Another telling factor is that unlike the competition, Qualcomm manufactures it’s own GPU and 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 series
• 700 series
• 600 series
• 400 series
These are among the best chipsets in a phone that money can buy. Every year, Qualcomm releases a new flagship SoC for phone makers. These always start with the number 800. In 2018, SD845 ruled the market, in 2019, it was SD855 and SD855+. In 2020, after the failure of Exynos 990 to meet expectations and Huawei’s Kirin yet to be appraised, SD865 and SD865+ currently strides the landscape like a Colossus (blame Peter Drury and PES 2020). Notable SD865 phones are Samsung Galaxy S20 lineup (US, Korea), Xiaomi Mi 10 series, LG V60 and Sony Xperia 1 II. We expect next year’s flagship SoC to be SD875.
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 720) or Flagship killers (730 and above).
These phones bring you close to the performance of a flagship phone at an affordable or competitive price. Notable SoCs here are the SD710, SD712, SD720G, SD730/730G and SD765/765G. The G in front denotes Gaming. These phones are pricey and cost anything from 90k and above generally ending at 200k but with the weak Naira, expect prices to rise.
Notable phones in this segment are Xiaomi Mi Note 10, MI9T, Poco X2, Redmi Note 9S/9 Pro, Realme X2 and Motorola Razr.
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 90k 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 and SD675 (Samsung Galaxy A70 and Redmi Note 7 Pro) and last but not least, the new SD690 5G.
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 45k or 50k in Naira at most.
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.