Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 480 chipset delivers 5G & huge performance boost for entry-level smartphones


We can all agree that Qualcomm makes some pretty compelling 5G chipsets if you’re shopping for a high-end of a mid-range smartphone, but the company’s 400-series chips have always felt underpowered, leading to a sub-par user experience. Since the majority of smartphone sales have shifted to the lower end of the market, Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 480 has been unveiled, promising to deliver 5G connectivity for the masses while also delivering a significant bump in performance.

From the connectivity standpoint, the new Snapdragon 480 is paired with Qualcomm’s X51 5G modern that will allow devices to connect to pretty much any 5G network around the globe (as long as the manufacturer enables the correct bands) with download speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps and 660 Mbps uploads. Since 5G deployment still isn’t ubiquitous, the X51 is also capable of delivering  800 Mbps download speeds over traditional LTE networks (as long as the network can support those speeds).

While the closest comparison to the new Snapdragon 480 is the current Snapdragon 460, the performance differences between the two chipsets should be significant. For the Snapdragon 480, Qualcomm is morning from its 11nm manufacturing process to its new 8nm manufacturing process, improving power efficiency and performance by quite a bit. Qualcomm claims that the SD480 will offer a 100 percent performance improvement over the SD460. 

It’s not quite clear how the performance improvement will translate into a better overall user experience, but we should expect phones powered by a Snapdragon 480 to feel more like a Pixel 4a (SD730G) than the OnePlus Nord N100 which uses the (SD460) or the Poco M3 (SD662).

The new chipset also comes with an upgraded imaging processor that allows it to capture video and images from three cameras simultaneously, support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4+, Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. 

Based on the pricing of current smartphones that use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 460 SoC, we should expect to see devices with the Snapdragon 480 show up around the €200 to €250 price point, giving consumers much better options in the budget smartphone segment. With CES right around the corner, we could see a few manufacturers announce upcoming devices using the Snapdragon 480 with Qualcomm stating that the chipset will be making its way to market over the next few months.

Source: Qualcomm

Nick Gray
I'm a life-long tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC. After writing about tech for more than a decade, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the role of Editor in Chief at Phandroid. Please contact me at [email protected].

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