Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 And 630 Bring Faster LTE And Superior Battery Life For Mid-Range Phones

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It’s easy for us to get caught up with the “top of the ticket” when it comes to smartphone processors. On the Qualcomm side of things, the top dog offering is most definitely the new Snapdragon 835, which powers Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones. However, there are less potent mid-range chips that will find their way into a plethora of affordable smartphones in the coming months.

Over the past six months, the Snapdragon 626 and 653 have been tasked with fueling Qualcomm's mid-range efforts. Now, Qualcomm is announcing the successors to the two chips: the Snapdragon 630 and 660. Collectively, both the Snapdragon 630 and 660 offer a wealth of advantages over their predecessors, starting with the inclusion of the Snapdragon X12 LTE modem. The Snapdragon X12 offers twice the downlink speeds compared to the previous Snapdragon X9.

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Qualcomm has also outfitted both chips with the Spectra 160 dual-camera ISP, Bluetooth 5 (offering twice the speed, and four times the range of Bluetooth 4.x), and Quick Charge 4, which was first introduced with the Snapdragon 835. Using Quick Charge 4, which is both USB-PD and USB Type-C compliant, smartphone users can get up to 5 hours of battery life with a quick 5-minute charge.

Moving on to chip-specific features, the 14nm Snapdragon 660 takes advantage of Kyro 260 CPU cores that offer up to a 20 percent performance uplift compared to the 28nm Snapdragon 653. The new chip retains an octa-core arrangement, with four “Performance” cores clocked at 2.2GHz, and four “Efficiency” cores clocked at 1.8GHz. Likewise, the Adreno 512 GPU boosts performance by 30 percent compared to the preceding SoC. Efficiency improvements and the more advanced manufacturing process also mean that the Snapdragon 660 manages to squeeze out two additional hours of battery life (all other factors being equal) compared to the Snapdragon 653.

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The Snapdragon 630, on the other hand, is still built on a 14nm LPP process, and offers CPU and GPU performance improvements of 10 percent and 30 percent respectively.

“With the introduction of the Snapdragon 660 and 630 Mobile Platforms, we are thrilled that features such as improved image quality and fast LTE speeds will now be available in a wide array of devices without sacrificing performance or quality,” said Kedar Kondap, VP of Product Management for Qualcomm.

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“This ensures that a greater number of consumers will be able to take advantage of higher quality user experiences in camera, audio and visual processing, connectivity, improved CPU and GPU performance, fast charging, security and machine learning.”

According to Qualcomm, over 1,000 OEM designs are currently shipping or are on the roadmap featuring Snapdragon 600 series SoCs. For those wondering when they’ll be able to grab a new smartphone featuring the new processors, you’ll be glad to hear that the Snapdragon 660 is shipping now, while the Snapdragon 630 will make its way to OEM partners by the end of May.