On the second day of the Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit, we lastly had a “deep dive” Keynote that exposes many extra particulars concerning the new Snapdragon 888 platform structure that options a number of “first” in key trade areas.

Every space of the chip and each performance has been upgraded, which signifies that Snapdragon 888 is superior to Snapdragon 865 in each single method and can set the bar for high-end 2021 cellular processor platforms.

World-Class 5G and WiFi-6 Support

5G was coated in yesterday’s Snapdragon 888 launch overview keynote and is indisputably an important a part of any high-end system on a chip (SoC) like Snapdragon 888. The integration of the perfect 5G modem (Qualcomm X60) related to a modular radio-frequency (RF) front-end ensures that any wi-fi provider configuration is supported optimally.

If the smartphone maker so needs, it will likely be attainable to construct “Global” smartphones that provide best-in-class assist for many 5G networks on this planet – ultimate for enterprise vacationers and export markets.


The X60 modem + RF system combo helps mmWave and Sub6 frequencies, delivering a theoretical peak of seven.5 Gbps in obtain, and three Gbps in add, on FDD or TDD networks. Although the truth on the bottom will rely upon the rollout and consumer location, this technical functionality is incredible.

WiFi-6E is supported by Qualcomm’s FastConnect 6900, which implies customers can entry knowledge by way of the brand new 6 GHz band in areas with the right infrastructure. The new 6 GHz band is much less congested and will yield quicker common speeds.

Unprecedented Camera Computing Power

Everything that entails the digital camera system should transit by means of the picture processing unit(s) (ISP) sooner or later. In the Snapdragon 888, the Spectra 580 ISP options three models, the place its predecessor solely had two.

These ISP compute models could be utilized in a number of methods: for instance, it’s attainable to get all three cameras operating concurrently, which makes them extra responsive if you happen to transit from the Wide to the Ultrawide or the Zoom digital camera with a pinch & zoom gesture.

For vloggers, the {hardware} can now concurrently document from all three cameras with full picture processing capabilities. Qualcomm says that along with three cameras, the ISP may also deal with two further sensors (Bokeh/ToF) for a complete of 5 imaging sensors at any given time.

Spectra 580 can churn 2.7 Gpixel/sec (2.7 Billion pixels per second) and opens some critical alternatives for picture processing and picture filtering. We ought to dedicate an entire article to this matter, however this sort of energy makes it attainable to vastly enhance HDR processing and AI-based metering or filtering.


While we count on Photography to considerably enhance with Spectra 580, video-recording can be profit probably the most as decision (4K, 8K), data-rates (10-bit HDR), and framerate (120 to 960FPS) exponentially improve the computing necessities.

Qualcomm additionally talked about a brand new “Low-Light Architecture” that may considerably enhance 0.1 LUX night time pictures. Low-Light Architecture refers to a way that’s primarily based on two kinds of multi-frame images: 1/ multi-frame noise-reduction 2/multi-frame HDR utilizing a number of ISO.

We check this 0.1 LUX case (0.5 LUX too) in our Uber IQ Camera benchmark, so we’re wanting ahead to seeing how good it’s versus the present Snapdragon 865 telephones. For reference, in such low-light situations, the human eye begins having problem seeing particulars and even colours.

Finally, there’s assist to avoid wasting images in 10-bit HEIF information as an alternative of the standard 8-nit JPG. This might drastically enhance the fantastic picture high quality and coloration accuracy, however we’ve to see if OEMs will implement this variation.

Elite Gaming, Upgraded

“Mobile” is the biggest recreation trade market (revenues) and for many individuals, telephones are their major, if not the one, technique of taking part in. As such, Qualcomm desires to supply a Premium gaming expertise below the Elite Gaming model.

First, the Adreno 660 GPU is way quicker: Qualcomm says that the general GPU velocity is 35% greater, and the power-efficiency (work for Watt of vitality spent) is 20% greater.

Graphics velocity apart, video games responsiveness can be improved because of Game Quick Touch. The basic thought is to separate the contact enter response from the body’s rendering timing. When there are numerous issues to render (explosion, extra characters seem), the sport’s framerate can quickly drop beneath the show’s max frequency. When it occurs, the contact motion report waits till to the following body.


At 60Hz, this could improve the contact latency by 20%, which is a life or loss of life state of affairs for demanding players. Game Quick Touch reduces such latencies and works routinely for all video games.

Finally, Variable Rate Shading is an thrilling characteristic which will increase video games rendering efficiency. The precept is that builders can “mark” some rendering areas of the display as a low precedence from a rendering-details perspective.

Perhaps, it’s a background component, a fuzzy object (cloud, smoke), or one thing within the consumer’s peripheral imaginative and prescient in a Virtual Reality (VR) app. These lower-priority areas may very well be rendered at 25% of the sport’s decision with out the consumer noticing.

It is a brilliant approach to scale back computing drastically, and Qualcomm foresees a 30% improve in rendering velocity – it can rely upon the scene and the developer. As a former graphics rendering engineer, I approve and respect this technique.

New Level of System Performance

System efficiency measured by benchmarks like Geekench (CPU/Memory benchmark) ought to present enhancements of ~25% because of the Qualcomm Kryo 680 customized CPU design. The single-core efficiency can be thrilling to take a look at since such exams would run on the brand new “Prime” CPU, a big core with high-frequency and huge cache reminiscence.

The 8-CPU cluster includes one Cortex X1, three Cortex A78, and 4 Cortex A55 CPU cores—the smaller cores run at more and more slower frequencies for max power-efficiency.

At the identical time, Qualcomm estimates that the power-efficiency of Kryo 680 can be 25% superior to the earlier technology. Combined, these two numbers point out a big improve in performance-per-watt.

A whole lot of the efficiency is elsewhere. For instance, the Hexagon 780 processor is accountable for massive machine-learning / AI workloads execution (together with the GPU).

The Hexagon 780’s options substantial enhancements in computational velocity (velocity per unit) and compute capability (variety of models). As an increasing number of apps use these assets, sharing and isolating them might gradual issues down, so a 16X improve in per-app reminiscence vastly improves efficiency in particular situations.

The 5-nanometer manufacturing course of makes it attainable to drastically improve computing models and numerous inner ultrafast storage whereas protecting energy consumption in verify.

The Qualcomm Sensing Hub is modest by way of general efficiency, however it’s the essential unit when your cellphone sleeps and the central processors are powered down. With it, the cellphone can stay conscious of its environment, and it has been steadily improved. It now has its personal AI unit, which makes it even smarter than earlier generations.

OS Virtualization

Last however not least, the working system (OS) Virtualization opens the likelihood to run a number of OS concurrently with full isolation.

Virtualization doesn’t sound like a super-exciting characteristic, however that’s what permits having safer consumer profiles for machine sharing, or you could possibly run a number of OS on the identical machine.

Better but, every app can embed a customized OS for a totally personal and safe computing surroundings. It is a characteristic that I believe was accessible in some car  Qualcomm chips, however not for smartphones.

Finally, this characteristic will echo in spinoff merchandise resembling Qualcomm’s PC processors the place somebody would possibly wish to run a hypervisor and Virtual machines.


With Snapdragon 888, Qualcomm didn’t disappoint. It is every part we anticipated – and slightly bit extra. The top-notch efficiency throughout all functionalities is kind of spectacular, and this platform leads the trade in so some ways.

As standard, you’ll be able to count on many flagship smartphones to put it to use, and it’s, indisputably, “the” smartphone platform for high-end Android telephones.


Our subsequent step can be to take a look at benchmark numbers and round-up our last evaluation of the Snapdragon 888 earlier than the primary handsets arrive. With the persistent rumors of a Snapdragon 888 Galaxy S21 coming in January, it appears like a busy winter.

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