Every year, processors improve, not just at the top end, but all along the scale.
The year 2017 is no different, with Qualcomm having just announced its new Snapdragon 450 processor at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai.
Designed to power “mid-range smartphones and tablets,” the Snapdragon 450 is the first in its tier to use the 14nm FinFET process and features solid improvements over the previous Snapdragon 435 model in these “four key areas”:
Qualcomm boasts of a higher performing octa-core ARM Cortex A53 CPU that results in a 25% increase in compute performance compared to its predecessor. Additionally, Qualcomm says the integrated Adreno 506 GPU “delivers a 25% increase in graphics performance over the Snapdragon 435".
Power management improvements result in up to four additional hours of usage time compared to the Snapdragon 435, as well as up to a 30% reduction in power when gaming, which Qualcomm says helps “consumers stay connected and productive for much longer".
Thankfully, there’s also Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 support included as standard, which means a “typical smartphone” can be charged from “zero to 80% in about 35 minutes".
Camera and multimedia:
Here, Qualcomm states the 450 is “the first in the 400-tier to support real-time Bokeh (Live Bokeh) effects".
There’s also new support for:
- Enhanced dual camera at 13+13MP, or
- Single camera support up to 21MP
- Hybrid autofocus, and
- 1080p video capture and playback at up to 60fps, enabling slow motion capture.
The 450 also supports 1920x1200 Full HD displays, as well as Qualcomm’s “Hexagon DSP,” which enables “multimedia, camera and sensor processing at greater performance and lower power than the previous generation".
Connectivity and USB:
Qualcomm says “users will enjoy fast LTE connectivity with the Snapdragon X9 LTE modem, which uses 2x20MHz carrier aggregation in both downlink and uplink for peak speeds of 300 Mbps and 150 Mbps respectively, support for a large number of mobile networks with Snapdragon All Mode, and 802.11ac with MU-MIMO support".
Also included at long last in this tier is USB 3.0 support for fast USB data transfer – super handy when transferring photos, videos and other large files to and from your 450-powered device.
The article continues below with more information, but first, here’s Qualcomm’s video on the Snapdragon 450 in action:
Kedar Kondap, Qualcomm’s vice-president of Product Management, said: “We’ve made many recent changes to the Snapdragon Mobile Platforms as part of our vision to deliver the most advanced mobile functionality at the best possible value, and the Snapdragon 450 Mobile Platform is another realisation of that vision.
“With the Snapdragon 450, users are going to see a dramatically improved level of performance, connectivity, battery life and imaging performance.”
Qualcomm boasts over 1900 designs have launched or are in the pipeline across the Snapdragon 400 tier mobile platforms, but what’s most important for customers wanting a new mid-range Android smartphone or tablet is that the Snapdragon 450 is “expected to begin commercial sampling to customers in Q3 2017, and is expected to be available in consumer devices by the end of 2017".
That means the 450 will be powering a lot of mid-range Androids well into 2018, after which its successor will presuambly be announced at MWC Shanghai in June 2018.
Android Authority notes that the 450 processor is very similar to the Snapdragon 625 processor, which was just superseded last month by the new Snapdragon 630, and that it's "not hugely surprising to see features from a higher tier begin to trickle down [to the 4000-series tier] as prices continue to fall".