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Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chipset finally gets fully revealed

Monday, November 16, 2015

Qualcomm has been drip feeding us information about the Snapdragon 820 chipset ever since March.  It's thankfully decided it's time to finally fully reveal that SoC's specs. This obviously means we're getting closer and closer to seeing the Snapdragon 820 in actual shipping devices, even if the company insists that won't happen until 2016.

The Snapdragon 820, as you may know, marks Qualcomm's return to custom-designed CPU cores, something it has done a lot of in the past but chose not to with the Snapdragon 810 - where it simply used ARM designs.

The Snapdragon 820 comes with a quad-core CPU with 64-bit Kryo cores, which can be clocked at up to 2.2 GHz. The CPU is said to have twice the performance of the one in the Snapdragon 810, which is quite a feat for just a one-generation leap. The same improvement is quoted when it comes to "efficiency", which makes us think that the S820 will have better battery life compared to its predecessor. This will apparently also happen thanks to the new Hexagon 680 DSP.

In terms of graphics the Adreno 530 GPU is used, which has already been detailed in August. It's said to come with a 40% improvement to graphics performance, compute capabilities, and power usage when compared to the Adreno 430 from the S810.

When it comes to connectivity, because of its X12 LTE modem, the S820 supports Cat.12 LTE downloads (with 600Mbps peaks) and Cat.13 uploads (with 150Mbps peaks), tri-carrier aggregation for downloads and two-carrier aggregation for uploads. In terms of technologies supported, there's FDD and TDD for LTE, DB-DC-HSDPA, DC-HSUPA, TD-SCDMA, EV-DO and CDMA 1x, as well as GSM/EDGE. LTE/Wi-Fi link aggregation is in too, as is support for LTE-U, LTE Broadcast, dual-SIM, VoLTE, and Wi-Fi calling.

The Wi-Fi part of the chip gets support for 2x2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac connections, which is the fastest currently available option. Of course, you still need a wireless router with MU-MIMO support, and there aren't a lot of those yet - but you do get some future-proofing, that's for sure.

4K displays are supported by the S820, along with up to 28MP cameras through the new 14-bit dual-ISP. The chipset also works with UFS 2.0 or eMMC 5.1 flash storage, LPDDR4 1866MHz dual-channel memory, USB 3.0 or 2.0, and NFC. Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 is four times faster than conventional charging and 38% faster than Quick Charge 2.0.

The Snapdragon 820 will be manufactured on the 14nm FinFET process, as previously rumored. You should obviously expect to see this chip inside most (if not all) of next year's Android flagship smartphones.


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