Last year, Qualcomm overhauled their mobile processors with a naming scheme shake up when introducing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. This time round, there’s no huge nomenclature changes, but we are seeing some potentially big upgrades under the hood with Qualcomm’s latest flagship chip that they’ve just launched during the Snapdragon Summit: the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
Built on the 4nm process, Qualcomm’s latest flagship mobile platform will be packing an 8-core Kryo CPU, which has a prime core using ARM Cortex-X3 technology clocked at 3.2GHz, four performance cores running at 2.8GHz and three efficiency cores running at 2.0GHz. This is an additional performance core compared to previous Snapdragon flagships, with two of them using a Cortex-A715 and two Cortex-A710 cores; the efficiency cores meanwhile are Cortex-A510 cores. These clock speeds are notably all higher than last year’s Kryo CPU in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and Qualcomm says this will allow it to be 35% faster and up to 40% more power efficient than before.
The new Adreno GPU meanwhile will offer an up to 25% improvement in performance with up to 45% more power savings, and will also be the first mobile GPU to come with support for Vulkan 1.3, on top of OpenGL ES 3.2 and OpenCL 2.0 FP. Gamers can also expect ray tracing support very soon in the next generation of flagship smartphones, as well as photorealistic human characters thanks to it coming with mobile optimised support for the Unreal Engine 5 Metahumans Framework on Snapdragon. Together with the new powerful Kyro CPU, Qualcomm is claiming to pack some of the best sustained system performance in the industry. Beyond gaming, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also supports HDR Vivid, HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision HDR.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also comes with the most advanced Qualcomm AI engine yet, fuelled by an upgraded Qualcomm Hexagon digital signal processor. It allows users to experience faster natural language processing with multi-language translation, along with some advanced AI camera tools. This new Hexagon processor will also pack some fresh upgrade\s to the architecture, such as micro tile inferencing and a bigger tensor accelerator for up to 4.35x increased AI performance. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will be the first Snapdragon chip to support INT4 too, a new AI precision format, while also offering a 60% improvement in performance per watt for sustained AI inferencing.
There is a notable change is the camera department as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will feature the world’s first Cognitive image signal processor with Quacomm Hexagon Direct Link. This will allow the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 to automatically enhance photos and videos in real time thanks to real time semantic segmentation, which will use an AI neural network to make your smartphone’s camera more contextually aware of things like faces, facial features, hair, clothing, the sky and more. It then optimises each detail individually, providing ‘professional’ image tuning to each part of the image.
On top of that, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will come with support for the next generation of image sensors too. The Samsung ISOCELL HP3 for instance will be the first 200MP image sensor that’s been optimised for Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, while Sony has been developing quad digital overlap HDR technology which as been fine tuned for Snapdragon too. This new processor will also be the first Snapdragon chip to include an AVI codec with support for video playback at up to 8K HDR at 60fps.
As for connectivity, Qualcomm claims that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is the world’s ‘most advanced 5G platform’, with the star of the show here being the Snapdragon X70 5G Modem-RF system with a Qualcomm 5G AI processor. It allows the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 to use AI in powering faster 5G upload and download speeds while also improving coverage, latency and power efficiency. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is also the first Snapdragon chip to support 5G+5G/4G Dual-SIM Dual-Active, allowing users to put two 5G SIMs in at once. There’s the Qualcomm FastConnect 7800 connectivity system too for it to be the world’s first platform to offer WiFi 7 and dual Bluetooth connectivity.
Elsewhere, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 features Snapdragon Sound technology for premium and immersive audio, bringing spatial audio with dynamic head-tracking, support for 48kHz lossless music streaming and low latency 48ms audio for gamers. Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also comes with Snapdragon Secure technology, which Qualcomm says will offer the very latest in isolation, cryptography, key management, attestation and more, all in an effort to protect user data and privacy. One new feature here is face authentication with liveness detection, making it harder for anyone to access your smartphone.
“We are passionate about enabling people to do more, so we design Snapdragon with the user at the center. Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, will revolutionise the landscape of flagship smartphones in 2023.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 delivers groundbreaking AI, unparalleled connectivity, and champion-level gameplay, enabling consumers to enhance every experience on their most trusted device,” – Chris Patrick, Qualcomm Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mobile Handsets
You can expect to see devices powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 by the end of the year, with Qualcomm saying that brands all around the world such as Asus, Honor, Motorola, iQoo, Nubia, OnePlus, Oppo, Redmagic, Redmi, Xiaomi, Sharp, Sony, Meizu and ZTE will be amongst those set to adopt the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 soon.