Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 Brings More Muscle And Efficiency To Mid Range Smartphones

We might be reaching a point where mid-range smartphones are good enough for most people. That may seem like a double-edged sword for Qualcomm, which just announced its new Snapdragon 450 processor for such devices, but there is still room at the high-end for things like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), artificial intelligence, and other tasks that push the limits of today's mobile processors. Meanwhile, mid-range devices are about to get a performance boost.

The Snapdragon 450 is the first mid-range processor to be built on a 14-nanometer FinFET process. Compared to its predecessor (Snapdragon 435), it brings with it a meatier octa-core ARM Cortex A53 CPU that boosts compute performance by 25 percent. Additionally, Qualcomm says the integrated Adreno 506 GPU delivers a 25 percent bump in graphics performance as well.


Looking beyond CPU and GPU performance, the Snapdragon 450 contains several power management tweaks that Qualcomm claims can help phones run up to four times longer compared to handsets wielding a Snapdragon 435. At the same time, Qualcomm was able to reduce power consumption by up to 30 percent when gaming. That is a boon for gamers who might not have the coin to splurge on a top-shelf smartphone.

When it does come time to charge a phone running a Snapdragon 450 SoC, users can take advantage of Quick Charge 3.0 support. This allows a typical smartphone to go from bone dry to an 80 percent charge in about 35 minutes.

If you're like us, you place a premium on camera performance when shopping a smartphone (those food pictures on social media don't snap themselves, after all). In that regard, the Snadragon 450 is the first in the 400-tier to support real-time Bokeh (Live Bokeh) effects. Other camera features include support for enhanced dual cameras consisting of 13+13MP, or single camera support for up to 21MP; hybrid autofocus; and 1080p video capture and playback at up to 60 frames per second, enabling slow motion capture.

On the connectivity side, the Snapdragon 450 retains the same X9 LTE modem to deliver the same 300Mbps download and 150Mbps upload speeds. However, it now supports USB 3.0, up from USB 2.0 on the Snapdragon 435.

Qualcomm will start sampling Snapdragon 450 processors to customers in the third quarter. Consumer devices built around the new SoC are expected to debut by the end of the year.