Many of the best Android phones and tablets use a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) from Qualcomm, and now the company has revealed its fastest mobile chip yet: the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. There’s also a new Snapdragon 7 chip, intended for upper mid-range phones.
Qualcomm revealed the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in December 2021, which is now being used in most high-end Android phones and tablets released this year (including the Galaxy S22 series, OnePlus 10 Pro, and Galaxy Tab S8 series). The new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is a mid-cycle upgrade, with slightly improved graphics and performance to hold us over until next year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
Qualcomm says the new chip has an upgraded Adreno GPU, with “up to” 10% faster graphics and a 30% reduction in power usage, compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, so mobile games (or anything else graphics-heavy) will perform a bit better. The Kyro CPU cores reportedly have “up to 10% faster processing,” as well as a “30% improvement in power efficiency.” There are a lot of “up to” measurements there, mostly because mobile chipsets are designed to reduce clock speeds when you’re doing less intensive tasks — you don’t need all the power of a flagship chip for scrolling through Instagram.
XDA Developers obtained an engineering sample phone from Asus with the new chip to run a few benchmarks, and the results are mostly in line with Qualcomm’s claims. The highest-possible performance will vary by device (some phones and tablets have better heat transfer/cooling than others), but XDA reported a ~10% boost in multi-core CPU performance compared to the 8 Gen 1.
That’s not the only chip Qualcomm revealed, as the company also announced the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1. This is the next step down the performance ladder from the Gen 8+ and Gen 8, and replaces the Snapdragon 778G (which was used in the Motorola Edge 30, Samsung Galaxy A73, and other phones). Qualcomm says it has “more than 20% faster” graphics rendering than the 778G, and an upgraded Image Signal Processor (ISP). Some features from the more expensive chips are coming to the 7 series for the first time, like Qualcomm aptX Lossless audio, the Trust Management Engine, and Android Ready SE. That last feature is especially handy, since it’s how Android will store government IDs and drivers’ licenses in the future.
The Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 is expected to start showing up in phones and tablets in the second quarter of 2022, from companies like Honor and Xiaomi. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 will arrive in Q3 2022, and will be used in phones from ASUS ROG, OnePlus, OPPO, Motorola, ZTE, and others.