Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 630 mobile chipsets for mid-range smartphones

Wednesday
Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 630 mobile chipsets for mid-range smartphones

Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 630 mobile chipsets for mid-range smartphones. Besides the usual improvements to the CPU and GPU, this time around, Qualcomm is bringing enhanced imaging, machine learning, faster charging and improved gaming and connectivity features to its new mobile platform. The new mobile platforms also aims to make dual-camera setups mainstream, making the Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 630 chipsets pretty interesting.

Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 630 mobile chipsets for mid-range smartphones
Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 630 mobile chipsets for mid-range smartphones

The Snapdragon 660 SoC is a big step-up from the Snapdragon 650, Snapdragon 652 and Snapdragon 653 chipsets. The Snapdragon 630, on the other hand, brings nifty improvements over the Snapdragon 625 SoC which is known for its performance, without compromising on battery efficiency. Let’s take a quick at how these chipsets could improve the mid-range smartphone offering.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 and 630 fabrication process

The Snapdragon 650-series chipsets were based on 28nm FinFET process. The setup included the use of Cortex A53 cores for efficiency and Cortex A72 cores for performance boost. However, they weren’t as battery efficient, something that Qualcomm fixed with the Snapdragon 625 chipset by using the 14nm FinFET fabrication process. The new Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 630 chipsets are also built on 14nm FinFET process.
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In terms of configuration, the Snapdragon 660 features a 64-bit architecture, with eight Kyro 260 CPU cores clocked at 2.2GHz. The Snapdragon 630, on the other hand, also features 64-bit architecture, with eight Cortex A53 cores clocked at 2.2GHz. The 14nm process greatly helps to shrink the size of the chipset, which also means manufacturers can have thinner phones and add larger batteries. Smaller and more efficient transistors also mean more features integration on the platform. So what benefits do the new chipsets bring to the table? Let’s find out.

Dual-rear camera setups

Over the past couple of years, dual camera setups have been catching up the pace. You have the likes of Honor 6X, Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom and iPhone 7 Plus among others using this type of setups. Some smartphones use one camera to capture photos and the other to capture depth information, and thus adding DSLR-like bokeh effects to your photos. There are other smartphones that use standard camera for clicking photos, and a telephoto lens for 2X optical zoom.

Then, there is a combination of monochrome and RGB (color) sensors for capturing good photos in day-light and low-light. Lastly, LG G5 and G6 uses twin-cameras – one for capturing standard photos and other for capturing wide-angle photos. To make it easier for manufacturers Qualcomm has included Spectra 160 ISP (image signal processing) that could improve image quality for more natural skin tones, better low-light photography and improve power efficiency when using dual camera modules.

The Snapdragon 630 SoC supports two 13-megapixel dual camera setup, whereas the Snapdragon 660 SoC supports up to two 16-megapixel dual camera setup. Both chipsets also support 4K video recording and playback at 30fps.

Machine Learning

So far, machine Learning has been a part of top-end chipset, but now Qualcomm has introduced it on mid-tier chipsets too. At its event in Singapore, Qualcomm did offer a small demo as to how it works. Having four objects on the table, and using the smartphone camera with machine learning software algorithms, it can detect all four objects.

The phone automatically uses GPU to process the data. Both chipsets support Neural Processing Engine SDK allowing manufacturers and developers to make use of machine learning to power immersive and engaging user experiences.

Vulkan API for smooth gaming experience

Gaming performance has always been smooth on high-end smartphones, but mid-range smartphones often struggle when running graphics intense games. Qualcomm is changing that by including support for Vulkan API on the Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 630 SoCs. It supports latest 3D graphics APIs with resolution of up to 1920×1200 pixels. With support for multi-threading, the games built on Vulkan API will be efficiently able to use smartphone’s resources and ensure smooth running.

Quick Charge 4.0

New smartphone are now coming with larger batteries and that also calls for a need to fast charging feature. First introduced with Snapdragon 835, Qualcomm is also bringing Quick Charge 4.0 fast charging technology to Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 630 SoCs. Qualcomm claims even five minutes of charging can offer up to five hours of battery life. What’s more, with support for USB Type-C, Quick Charge 4.0 can charge the smartphone battery 20 percent faster.

Connectivity

Both chipsets also support Bluetooth 5.0 which offers double speed and four times more range compared to the Bluetooth 4.2. The new connectivity standard also increases the connectionless data broadcast capacity by eight times. Support for aptX codec is also included on the chipset for better audio listening experience via Bluetooth.

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