Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 and Snapdragon 4 Gen 1: enhanced mid-range processors

We’re already very close to the launch of Qualcomm’s next high-end chipset, the supposed Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, but the company is still releasing “Generation 1” processors, which debuted in 2021 with the SD8G1, the chip we find in many high-end smartphones on the market. Now, the Gen 1 lineup is complemented by two mid-range variants, the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 and Snapdragon 4 Gen 1, which bring advanced features to cheaper devices. But we won’t start seeing these chips in affordable phones until 2022.

Snapdragon 6 Gen 1: flagship performance from a few years ago

The Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 isn’t exactly a surprise, as we’ve been learning about it since last week, with the full list of specs and capabilities. This is an octa-core mid-range processor that benefits from four Cortex-A78 cores and four Cortex-A55 cores, a configuration we’ve only seen on flagships in the past (Snapdragon 865/855 era). Qualcomm is claiming a 40% performance boost over the Snapdragon 695 on the CPU side and 35% on the GPU side. So phones with SD6G1 could be significantly better at video games.

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For gaming, Qualcomm is also announcing a couple of features we’ve heard about on more powerful processors in the past: variable rate shading and jank reduction, for improved performance and more stable framerates. And on the AI side, the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 gets a significant upgrade, with 3x faster processing. On the connectivity side we’re dealing with a Snapdragon X62 modem with 5G, Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6E.

The biggest upgrade, however, will be for the average phone in the camera department. With this processor, cheap phones will be able to use camera systems with up to 200 megapixels, or systems running 25+16 megapixels or 13 megapixels in triple format simultaneously. Also, mid-range phones get 4K shooting, as the SD695 couldn’t offer such resolutions in shooting.

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The new Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 is similar to today’s 695 processor

For the lower-end Snapdragon 4 Gen 1, Qualcomm appears to be moving the capabilities of the 695 to a more affordable price point, but still with a few more capabilities. We’re talking about a 2+6 (Cortex-A78/Cortex-A55) CPU chipset. It will offer a performance boost of only 15% over the current Snapdrago 480 on the CPU and 10% on the GPU.

The advantages, however, are in connectivity: 5G at over 2 Gbps using the Snapdragon X51 5G modem, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.2 and QuickCharge 4+ fast charging support and FullHD+ displays at 120 Hz.

The first Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 phones will appear in the first quarter of 2023, and Motorola has already confirmed that it will launch one. In the case of the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1, iQOO is the first confirmed partner to launch the Z6 Lite before the end of 2022.

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