Qualcomm unleashed the Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 630 at the Snapdragon Tech Day in Singapore yesterday. The 660 and the 630 are the successors to the Snapdragon 653 and Snapdragon 626 respectively, neither of which have seen that many devices yet unlike their immediate predecessors, SD 652 and 625, which have a plethora of devices utilizing them. But if you ask us, these two new processors, especially the Snapdragon 660, are bound for glory.
Qualcomm is known to slowly drip down the important features of the premium 800 tier to the lower 600 tier. But the keyword in the previous sentence is “slowly”. It usually takes a while for that to happen. But not this time. Let’s take a look at the important features of Snapdragon 660.
- The first SoC in 600 tier to be based on Kryo 260 architecture
- Comes with Cat X12 LTE modem
- Supports Qualcomm Spectra 160 ISP
- Equipped with Qualcomm’s Hexagon 680 DSP
- Supports Clear Sight camera with Optical zoom (dual camera)
- Built on 14nm FinFET process
- Can support max display resolution of QHD (2K)
- Quick Charge 4.0 support
- Bluetooth 5.0 support
- EIS 3.0 support
Now take a closer look. All these features have come from Snapdragon 821. Yes, the same processor that’s being used on Google Pixel and LG G6. Credits to Qualcomm for bringing in these premium features to higher mid-range devices (or affordable flagships as you’d say). The Snapdragon 820/821 still have an edge with support for AR/VR, slightly better GPU performance and few other things, but Qualcomm has shown clear intent to bring premium features like high-end connectivity, faster charging and machine learning features in addition to the usual CPU and GPU enhancements.
Qualcomm has also brought in support for RF front-end components as well including TruSignal adaptive antenna tuning with carrier aggregation and envelope tracking technology.
Qualcomm says we can expect new devices with Snapdragon 660 to come as soon as June this year, especially from top tier OEMs. Previously, we have seen smartphones with Snapdragon 652/653 being priced anywhere between Rs 12,000 ($175) to Rs 30,000 ($450) and the same can be expected with Snapdragon 660 this year. With the nature of business Qualcomm does, OEMs will be able to pick and choose the components they want to have along with the core offering of SoC, the pricing and the end features can vary drastically.
Nevertheless, it’s an exciting period for affordable flagships. The gap between them and the premium flagships are closer than ever.
Disclosure: The author is in Singapore on invitation of Qualcomm to attend the Snapdragon Tech Day.