Qualcomm just announced the Snapdragon 720G mobile platform which aims to provide a smooth gaming experience on phones that you do not have to spend a lot of money on. With mobile gaming being the rage especially in a price-sensitive market like India, brands cash in on the opportunity by launching affordable mid-range smartphones with emphasis on the gaming performance, and that pitch seems to be all the more successful with chipset monikers that either suffix or prefix the letter “G”, indicating that it is specifically meant for gaming. Be it the MediaTek G90T on the Redmi Note 8 Pro or the Snapdragon 730G on the Realme X2, it’s hard to deny that the SoC plays a major role in a consumer’s decision of which phone to purchase.
The Snapdragon 700 series by Qualcomm slots right below the flagship 800 series and is generally used in higher mid-range smartphones. The newly announced Snapdragon 720G caught our interest since Snapdragon 710 (and 712) which was a staple for brands launching phones in the Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000 segment is now quite old, and the next chip in the series, which is the Snapdragon 730G jumps up a tier in terms of price due to superior performance. The Snapdragon 720G seems to perfectly fill the gap. With similar naming schemes, let’s see how the Snapdragon 720G fairs in comparison to the Snapdragon 730G and if it will be the new default choice for brands launching mid-range smartphones in early 2020.
Snapdragon 720G vs Snapdragon 730G
Let’s start with the CPU configuration. The newly announced Snapdragon 720G has eight Kryo 465 cores with two Cortex A76 cores clocked up to 2.3GHz for all the intensive tasks and six power-efficient Cortex A55 cores clocked at 1.8GHz. The Snapdragon 730G, on the other hand, has Kryo 470 cores but with a similar configuration, i.e two Cortex A76 cores clocked at 2.2GHz and six Cortex A55 cores clocked at 1.8GHz. Both chips are manufactured on the 8nm process. Not just the CPU, but even the GPU is the same Adreno 618 on both chipsets. However, the GPU on the Snapdragon 730G is overclocked by 15%. The similar CPU and GPU configuration means that the Snapdragon 720G is no slouch and will perform as good as the Snapdragon 730G when it comes to everyday tasks and even gaming.
Moving on, the DSP on the Snapdragon 720G is the new Qualcomm Hexagon 692 with the Qualcomm Sensing Hub to aid with AI capabilities. The Snapdragon 730G on the other hand slightly overtakes the Snapdragon 720G in this department with the Hexagon 688 which may, in theory, look less powerful, but has a dedicated voice assistant chip, Qualcomm All-Ways Aware technology and a dedicated Neural Processing SDK. With regards to image processing, the Snapdragon 720G gets the new Spectra 350L ISP with support for up to 192MP photo capture. Again, this is exactly similar to the Snapdragon 730G which has the Spectra 350 ISP and support for up to 192MP photo capture.
With regards to connectivity, both the Snapdragon 720G and the Snapdragon 730G have the same Snapdragon X15 LTE Modem with support for Wi-Fi 6. The Snapdragon 720G additionally gets support for NavIC which is India’s homegrown geolocation service.
On paper, the Snapdragon 720G is almost as good as the Snapdragon 730G. However, the Kryo architecture on the Snapdragon 730G is slightly more advanced and the GPU is clocked at a higher speed for better gaming. The rest of the package seems to be similar more or less. For consumers, this is excellent news because the Snapdragon 720G essentially makes the power of the Snapdragon 730G more accessible i.e. we will see this chip in phones that are more affordable and that’s always welcome.
Two of the most competent and aggressive brands in India, Xiaomi and Realme seem to be keen on using this chipset in their smartphones. Recently, with the revival of Poco, we might even see a mid-range smartphone from the brand running on the new Snapdragon 720G. With powerful chipsets becoming more accessible, reasons to shell out a premium for flagship smartphones are becoming scarce.