Nov 30th, 2021

We knew it was coming, and Qualcomm has finally made it official — the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 has been announced. This is the company’s latest flagship processor, which is expected to power many of the best upcoming Android phones. With the SD8 Gen 1, Qualcomm is ditching the “G” moniker which was used to separate 5G chipsets from non-5G options. In doing so, this new processor offers greatly-improved network speeds thanks to the onboard Snapdragon X65 5G modem.

The Gen 1 paired with the X65 brings a few “world’s first” claims:

  • World’s first 10-Gigabit 5G Modem-RF solution
  • World’s first 3GPP Release 16 5G solution
  • World’s first 5G uplink carrier aggregation for unprecedented upload speeds

Along with the improved network speeds, Qualcomm claims that it has included support for “all-day battery life”, which means that we could finally get flagships that last throughout the day even when connected to 5G networks. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 also brings support for Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E, and Snapdragon Sound. This was announced earlier in the year, and aims to bring lossless audio support to Bluetooth, while keeping all of your audio in sync.

Moving to the power of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the chipset has been created using the 4nm manufacturing process, and not the 3nm process as had been previously rumored. The SoC uses Arm’s Cortex-X2 cores with 64-bit architecture, paired with an Adreno GPU which enables other features such as Vulkan 1.1 API support, and HDR gaming. This chipset also supports the new LP-DDR5 memory at speeds up to 3200MHz, while also including QHD+ resolution at 144Hz or 4K @ 60Hz with HDR10 and HDR10+.

AI is the name of the game nowadays, as evidenced by MediaTek’s recent announcement of the Dimensity 9000 which was consistently compared to Google’s new Tensor chip. With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, Qualcomm is using its 7th Gen AI engine to provide up to 4x faster performance compared to its predecessor. There’s also a new Qualcomm Sensing Hub to provide a “low-power AI system”.

That’s not all, however, as Qualcomm also announced new features for its Snapdragon Elite Gaming functionality. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 paired with the Adreno GPU is said to provide up to a 30% increase in graphics rendering, along with a 25% improvement in power management. Developers will also be able to include more granular detail in their games thanks to the Variable Rate Shading Pro. Finally, with the improvements across all of gaming, Qualcomm announced this is the first chipset to feature “Audiokinetic technology” which provides “console-quality sound” while playing your favorite mobile games.

Moving on to camera capabilities, and what this new SoC from Qualcomm can handle, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 features the companies first 18-bit ISP courtesy of Snapdragon Sight Technology. This means faster photographs and on-device processing will be capable, as it will be able to process images at speeds “up to 3.2 gigapixels per second”.

Video recording should greatly improve thanks to the 8K HDR video capture, while “mega night mode” will snap 30 pictures at once, and merge them together to “create one stunning image”. This will provide much brighter and more detailed images, despite being taken in poor lighting conditions. Qualcomm also confirmed that its latest processor includes support for up to 200MP photos from a single camera, or 36MP photos when using three lenses at once.

If you’re wondering when we can expect to see the first Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, you won’t have much longer to wait. The company announced that the following smartphone makers will adopt the new chipset, with the first devices arriving before the end of 2021:

  • Black Shark
  • Honor
  • iQOO
  • Motorola
  • Nubia
  • OnePlus
  • OPPO
  • Realme
  • Redmi
  • SHARP
  • Sony
  • vivo
  • Xiaomi
  • ZTE

One name surprisingly missing from the list is Samsung, as we were expecting this processor to power the U.S. version of the Galaxy S22 series. Perhaps it was just an accidental omission, but we’ll have to wait and see if Samsung has something else planned.

stars Further Reading