Qualcomm’s New Mobile Platforms Will Make Your Next Phone Even Better


Qualcomm's New Mobile Platforms Will Make Your Next Phone Even Better

Today’s a big day for mobile platform news because Qualcomm is releasing three of them — the Snapdragon 665, 730, and the 730G (the G is for gaming).

No one is going to judge you if you haven’t really paid attention to mobile platform news in the past. Even so, mobile platforms are worth keeping up with because they are made up of the components that will determine a device’s connectivity, modem, battery life, camera features, CPU/gaming speeds, display support, and what kind of artificial intelligence engine is being used; in other words, they can make or break your daily experience

In December, Qualcomm announced their most advanced mobile platform ever, the Snapdragon 855. So far, we’ve seen 855 on a few flagship phones, most notably the Galaxy S10 series and the upcoming LG G8 ThinQ and LG V50 ThinQ.

What makes today’s announcements so great is that the Snapdragon 665, 730, and 730G mobile platforms will offer similar technology to what’s available on the Snapdragon 855, but we’ll be able to find them in some of the more affordable, non-flagship smartphones showing up this year.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights for each of the new mobile platforms.

Qualcomm's New Mobile Platforms Will Make Your Next Phone Even Better

Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 Mobile Platform provides highly intelligent experiences for great mobile gaming, brilliant camera capabilities and remarkable, security-rich performance.

Since the camera is easily one of the most important considerations when buying a new mobile device, let’s drill down and talk about some of the camera features supported by the Snapdragon 665 mobile platform. Of course, you’ll get portrait mode and HDR, but you’ll also get high-resolution depth sensing, 3D face unlock, and 720p@240fps slo-mo video capture. Snapdragon 665 can support triple cameras (telephoto, wide lens, ultra wide lens, for example) and up to 48-megapixel snapshots; it also supports 4K 30fps video capture. Other advanced camera features include Hybrid Autofocus, Optical Zoom, Zero Shutter Lag and more.

AI has become another important phone consideration. You may not realize it, but AI is what tells your phone how to adjust the lighting when you are taking a portrait; it detects objects, performs scene recognition, and it uses augmented reality to translate text. The Snapdragon 665 mobile platform has 2 times faster AI processing than Snapdragon 660, and it is a 3rd generation Qualcomm AI Engine.

Gaming performance can also be a huge consideration when purchasing a new phone; the Snapdragon 665 mobile platform offers enhanced gaming performance with its immersive Vulcan 1.1 Graphics Driver and a 20% power savings over the previous Snapdragon 660. The Snapdragon 665 will play Honor of King HD @60fps. As far as connectivity, the Snapdragon 665 will get up to 600 Mbps download speeds.

Bear in mind that while these types of features are commonly found on flagship models, the Snapdragon 665 will make them accessible on much less expensive, mid-tier smartphones.

Qualcomm's New Mobile Platforms Will Make Your Next Phone Even Better

Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 Mobile Platform powers intelligent ondevice experiences for camera, gaming, and performance —fueled by our industry-leading 4th generation Qualcomm AI Engine.

Here’s where things get really interesting. The higher-end Snapdragon 730 offers quite a few firsts when compared to its 710 predecessor, including that it is the first 7-series to use the 4th generation Qualcomm AI engine, the first to have a Tensor Accelerator, the first to be apt-X adaptive, the first to be WiFi 6 ready, the first to have CV-ISP, the first to feature a Qualcomm Spectra 3 series, the first to have a Kyro 4-series processor, and the first 7-series to offer 8nm processing. Whew!

Let’s drill down a bit, starting with the camera. The Snapdragon 730 features the Qualcomm Spectra 350 which has a dedicated Computer Vision (CV) ISP that provides up to 4x power savings in Computer Vision compared to the Snapdragon 710. With it, you can shoot 4K HDR with portrait mode and capture video in 4K. It has high-resolution depth sensing and 3D face unlock. Just like the latest iPhones, the Snapdragon 730 can handle HEIF file capture and playback, which keeps your multi-angle photos and stores them at half the file size to the previous generation. The Snapdragon 730 can handle photos containing up to 192 megapixels, which seems insane.

The 730 mobile platform has twice the AI power of its predecessor, the Snapdragon 710, with its 4th generation multi-core AI Engine. The Snapdragon 730  has a Qualcomm Adreno 618 GPU, and it is the first in the 7 series platform to “integrate Vulkan 1.1, a next-generation, state-of-the-art graphics library that integrates enhanced developer tools and runs off 20% less power than Open GL ES, resulting in better graphics and longer battery life.” And because no gaming experience is complete without an amazing, immersive sound, the Qualcomm aptX Adaptive Audio and Qualcomm Aqstic audio technology are present to “deliver a smooth, crystal-clear audio experience.”

The Snapdragon 730 also gives you powerful performance and impressive battery life: “Based on an 8nm process node, the Qualcomm Kryo 470 CPU and the Adreno 618 GPU are engineered with new architectures, enabling you to game, capture memories, launch apps at fast speeds, and multitask for longer, resulting in up to 35% performance uplift for each core. Featured in the Snapdragon 730, the Snapdragon X15 LTE Modem offers remarkable cellular download speeds up to 800 Mbps and one of our first platforms that comes Wi-Fi 6-ready, enabling more robust indoor connectivity at increased range.”

That’s pretty spectacular, but there is still one more new mobile platform to consider …

Qualcomm's New Mobile Platforms Will Make Your Next Phone Even Better

Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G Mobile Platform brings select Snapdragon Elite Gaming features to your mobile device for a powerful gaming experience. It also offers AI for more intuitive image capture, plus an optimized performance that exceeds 7-series expectations.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G mobile platform will deliver up to 15% faster graphics rendering over the Snapdragon 730, and it features an enhanced Adreno 618 GPU. Qualcomm’s in-house game studio has worked with consumer’s’ “favorite game-makers to optimize 730G for a selection of the world’s top-rated games. With the Snapdragon 730H, you can “experience true HDR gaming for extreme realism with rich graphics and cinema-quality processing with over 1 billion shades of color.” Janks have been reduced by up to 90% in games running 30fps with the Jank Reducer feature. A Wi-Fi latency manager will optimize network settings and Wi-Fi configurations “to support efficient online gaming and provide smooth fast gameplay.” And interestingly enough, “Anti-Cheating Extensions help keep gamers on the same level playing field.”

Qualcomm believes in “AI for all,” and to that end, Qualcomm will continue to bring AI capabilities across the Snapdragon families. So, how does this all shake out for us? We are finally at a time when the premium features we expect to see on flagship models are starting to trickle down to less expensive models. The new Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile platforms go a long way toward making that possible. We can expect to see these mobile platforms showing up in devices a little bit later this year.

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct smaller.com; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.