5 reasons you should care about the Snapdragon 805
Right in the centre of the smartphone revolution is Qualcomm, whose processors and modems are found inside every major smartphone nowadays. The company has played a major role in making LTE a common feature in today’s smartphones and has constantly pushed the bar forward in mobile performance and battery life.
Qualcomm usually releases two major SoCs in a year, around which most OEMs plan their device launches. This year, Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 801 at MWC, a seemingly minor upgrade over its predecessor — the Snapdragon 800. The successor of 801 though, dubbed Snapdragon 805, is slated to be released later this year and promises to push the bar in terms of performance in mobile devices even higher.
Most people generally think that a faster CPU is just a gimmick. What they fail to realize is that the SoC (System-on-Chip) contains more than just a processor. It also contains the ISP, GPU and other key components that greatly affect your smartphone’s overall performance.
So, what makes Qualcomm’s upcoming chipset so special? How does it all matter to you — the consumer? Read below to find out.
5. A faster CPU
Right now, the Snapdragon 801 comes with four Krait 400 cores clocked at either 2.3GHz or 2.5GHz. On the other hand, the Snapdragon 805 will come with four Krait 450 cores clocked at 2.7GHz. While the jump in clock speed might not seem much, it will make a lot of difference when the device is under heavy load.
For example, the higher clock speed will allow HDR photos to be processed faster in the background, which in turn will allow the device to sleep quickly, thereby saving battery life. Applying effects to images, game loading times and other such tasks will also benefit greatly from the higher clock speed of the processor.
We all want to spend less time staring at the loading window on our smartphones, and the Krait 450 cores inside the Snapdragon 805 are just another step in that direction.
4. Better image quality
The Snapdragon 805 consists of more than just a faster CPU. It also comes with a new ISP (Image Signal Processor) that is responsible for all the image and video related tasks in your Android device.
The new ISP packs in many advanced features, which will allow OEMs to deliver better image quality with lower noise levels and improved color reproduction. Qualcomm states that the ISP inside the Snapdragon 805 is world’s first Giga-pixel ISP, which allows it to capture images at up to 55MP resolution. It also supports recording 4K videos at 120FPS along with gyro-based image stabilisation, thereby negating the need of a dedicated hardware to optically stabilise the camera.
The meaning of all the above mumbo jumbo is that Snapdragon 805 devices should have significantly better image quality and less ‘shakiness’ in videos compared to Snapdragon 801 powered devices. It will also make it easier for OEMs to include a secondary depth sensor and provide many unique 3D effects on their devices, without spending heavily on research and development.
3. Next-gen GPU
The Snapdragon 805 is Qualcomm’s launch platform for its brand-new Adreno 420 GPU. The company states that the new GPU will offer up to 40% performance improvements compared to its predecessor while consuming 20% less power. Thanks to the support for OpenGL ES 3.1 and many other APIs, the GPU will also allow developers to deliver near console like graphics on your smartphone.
The increase in performance is also a necessity as Qualcomm’s current GPU — the Adreno 330 — performs very poorly in 4K benchmarks and games, which has already started showing up in smartphones from some major OEMs.
2. 4K Ready
The Snapdragon 805 will be the first chip from the company to support 4K content from the get go. It supports HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) H.265 decoding, allowing it to natively playback 4K content without breaking into a sweat or draining your phone’s battery at an alarming rate.
With 4K displays, TVs and content being the future, the presence of an H.265 hardware decoder will go a long way in increasing the longevity of a Snapdragon 805 powered device.
1. A true world LTE phone
The highlight of the Snapdragon 805 has to be the new modem that Qualcomm is pairing with it — the RF360. It is a true 4G LTE world modem supporting a wide range of LTE, HSPA+ and CDMA networks — LTE FDD, LTE TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA1x, TD-SCDMA and GSM. It also supports LTE Category 6 networks, allowing for a theoretically maximum download speed of up to 300Mbps.
In a nutshell, this new modem will allow OEMs to release fewer SKUs of their handsets, whilst supporting a broader range of LTE networks. With a Snapdragon 805 device, it will be possible for the users to enjoy LTE in China as well as in the USA on a single handset, saving them a lot of headache while travelling.
The catch here is that the modem does not come integrated with the Snapdragon 805. Instead, it is up to the OEMs to integrate them on their device and enable support for the various LTE networks.
Snapdragon 805 powered devices should start showing up in a couple of months from now. All the next-generation flagship devices from Sony, Samsung and HTC are rumored to be powered by it as well.
Which feature of Snapdragon 805 are you excited about? Drop in a comment and do let us know!