In today’s era, we have a lot of smartphones and a lot of manufacturers making them. But one common feature that stands out in these phones is the processors used in these devices. It is the processor, the heart of the mobile phone where all the signals are processed and sent out to all the other parts. Qualcomm, as a processor manufacturer has emerged as one of the top processor designers and producers. There are different Snapdragon processors for different mobile computing needs. Nearly every major with the exception of Apple Inc. has incorporated their products at least once in their phones. The list includes Samsung, Asus, LG, Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus. The popularity of the different snapdragon processors has only grown in the recent years and is expected to grow further.

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Qualcomm has three major series of their trademark Snapdragon processors. All these series serve different purposes on different platforms and perform to different standards. The 400 series of Snapdragon processor is meant for basic, entry-level phones. The 600 series serves the mid-range and is a very good combination of power consumption management and performance. The 800 series comprises of the top tier processor that are truly the beasts of the mobile computing division. Optimised to a great detail and meant to offer only the best to the user, these processors are the pinnacle of the technological prowess of the human race itself.

Let’s take a look at the different Snapdragon processor series one by one.

The Snapdragon 800 Series

The top-tier series of the Snapdragon processing follows the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 8xx name format. The latest among them is the Snapdragon 835 SoC that comes with an octa-core CPU (8x Qualcomm® Kryo™ 280). The Snapdragon 835 has been launched in 2017 and is seen on nearly every Android phone that’s placed in the flagship segment. Examples – Samsung Galaxy S8, OnePlus 5, Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, HTC U11 and most notably Nokia 8.

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– The current 800 series processors in production are all 64-bit processors. Earlier versions such as the Snapdragon 800, 801 and 805 were 32-bit but have evolved to 64-bit thereafter. The series entirely supports all 4G LTE/VoLTE, 3G HSPA+/UMTS, 2G EDGE/GPRS network bands with no exception.
– Although all of them support high-resolution digital photography, so far, only the Snapdragon 835 has the hardware support necessary for a dual-camera.
– All the processors extensively support fast-charging, with the later versions supporting even wireless charging.
– All processors are capable of 4K UHD video capture as well as playback. Even so, phone manufacturers are still hesitant in putting a 4K display panel. The maximum resolution in a phone so far is QHD+ (1440 x 2160 pixels).
– Earlier snapdragon 800 series processors supported LPDDR3 SDRAM, and have developed into supporting LPDDR4 RAM in the later models.

The Snapdragon 600 Series

The Snapdragon 600 series is the midrange series of the Snapdragon brand. The processors are a little inferior to the 800 series and are found in phones under 1500 AED and in some phones in the 2500 AED range. Most of the 600 series processors are optimised for a balance between power consumption and performance. The Snapdragon 625 SoC has been the most successful of the series. The Octa-Core chipset (4 x ARM Cortex A53 @ 1.7GHz + 4 x 8x ARM Cortex A53 @ 2.0GHz) featured in at least 10 different phone models from multiple manufacturers. Example – Asus Zenfone 3, Moto Z Play, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, Moto G5 Plus.

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– Despite being a ‘smaller’ series, all Snapdragon 600 series processors have been 64-bit processors so far.
– All the 600 series processors support 4G LTE/VoLTE with later processors supporting more bands. All processors support 3G HSPA+/UMTS and 2G EDGE/GPRS networks.
– Snapdragon 600 series processors support up to 24MP camera resolving power.
– All processors of this series also support Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 2.0 technology.
– All Snapdragon 600 series processors post-Snapdragon 625 can record as well as play 4K UHD videos with a digital camera periphery. However, just like the 800 series, manufacturers haven’t built 4K playback phones yet. Also, since the prices of these phones are lower than flagships, it may not be expected to get a 4K display for a smaller price.
– All Snapdragon 600 series processors support LPDDR3 or a later version of mobile RAM.

The Snapdragon 400 Series

Touted as the entry-level processors, the Snapdragon 400 series is used widely and extensively in the budget level devices. The latest among them is the Snapdragon 435 SoC, an octa-core chipset with 8 x ARM Cortex A53 core clocked at 1.4 GHz. These processors are slower and are not meant for power intensive processing, though they can get the basic job of a smartphone. The phones based on the Snapdragon 400 series technology are priced cheaply and are meant for those people who don’t need to do much with their phone and are content with low performance. Examples – Moto C Plus, Samsung Galaxy J3 Pro, Xiaomi Redmi 4, Xiaomi Redmi 4A, LG Q6.

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– Given today’s standards, all Snapdragon 400 series processors incorporate the 64-bit processing architecture.
– All 400 series are limited to support LTE Category 4 (downlink) network bands. They can connect to select 4G LTE/VoLTE network bands. 3G HSPA+/UMTS and 2G EDGE/GPRS are incorporated by default.
– All processors of the 400 series can support digital camera resolutions up to 21MP.
Previous versions of the 400 series were compliant with the Quick Charge™ 2.0 tech; it has been enhanced to Charge™ 3.0 since the Snapdragon 427 chipsets.
– Being ‘lower’ processors, the Snapdragon 400 series can only record and playback up to 1080p resolution videos. Again, this hasn’t been fully utilised in any phones employing the 400 series as their processor. Most of the 400 series phones come with a 720p display and a similar camera.
– Snapdragon 400 series processors can support LPDDR3 RAM chips clocked at 800MHz.

Top snapdragon processors

Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform Snapdragon 653 Processor Snapdragon 435 Processor
Process Technology 10 nm 28 nm HPm 28 nm LP
Memory Dual-Channel LPDDR4x 1866MHz Dual-Channel LPDDR3 933MHz LPDDR3 800MHz
CPU 64-bit Qualcomm® Kryo™ 280 CPU @ 2.45 GHz 64-bit (4x ARM Cortex A72 @ 1.95 GHz + 4x ARM Cortex @ 1.8 GHz) 6-bit Octa-Core (8x ARM Cortex A53 @ 1.4 GHz
GPU Qualcomm® Adreno™ 540 GPU Qualcomm® Adreno™ 510 GPU Qualcomm® Adreno™ 505 GPU
Maximum On-Device Display Support 1080p Full HD 1920 X 1200 WUXGA 2560×1600 Quad HD WQXGA 4K Ultra HD w/ Rec2020 Color Gamut
Maximum Camera Resolution Support 16 MP dual camera
32 MP single camera
21 MP single camera 21 MP single camera
Cellular Modem Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X16 LTE Modem Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X9 LTE modem Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X9 LTE modem
Supported Cellular Technology
  • LTE FDD
  • LTE TDD
  • LTE-U
  • LAA
  • LTE Broadcast
  • WCDMA (DB-DC-HSDPA, DC-HSUPA)
  • TD-SCDMA
  • CDMA 1x
  • EV-DO
  • GSM/EDGE
  • Snapdragon All Mode
  • LTE FDD
  • LTE TDD
  • LTE Broadcast
  • WCDMA (DB-DC-HSDPA, DC-HSUPA)
  • TD-SCDMA
  • CDMA 1x
  • EV-DO
  • GSM/EDGE
  • LTE FDD
  • LTE TDD
  • LTE Broadcast
  • WCDMA (DB-DC-HSDPA, DC-HSUPA)
  • TD-SCDMA
  • CDMA 1x
  • EV-DO
  • GSM/EDGE
Maximum Supported Connectivity
  • Wifi – 802.11 a/g/b/n/ ad/ac
  • Bluetooth v5.0
  • GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS, SBAS
  • USB 3.1
  • Near Field Communications
  • Wifi – 802.11 a/g/b/n/ ac
  • Bluetooth v4.1
  • GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS, SBAS
  • USB 2.0
  • Near Field Communications
  • Wifi – 802.11 a/g/b/n/ ac
  • Bluetooth v4.1
  • GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo
  • USB 3.1
  • Near Field Communications
Security
  • Qualcomm® Content Protection
  • Qualcomm® Device Lock Authentication
  • Qualcomm® Mobile Security
  • Qualcomm® Processor Security
  • Qualcomm® Trusted Execution Environment
  • Camera Security
  • Crypto Engine
  • Key Provisioning Security
  • Malware Protection
  • Secure Boot
  • Secure Token
  • Qualcomm® Content Protection
  • Qualcomm® Device Lock Authentication
  • Qualcomm® Processor Security
  • Qualcomm® Content Protection
  • Qualcomm® Device Lock Authentication
  • Qualcomm® Processor Security
Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ Support Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 4.0
Qualcomm® WiPower™ wireless charging
Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 3.0 Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 3.0

 

These are the best ones among the different Snapdragon processors and their respective series. As technology keeps improving, we’ll get to see more and more improved processors in the market. The era of smartphones has brought some highly innovative technological advances. What was theory just five years ago, has become a practical application today. What’s theory today, would become practical application tomorrow.

While comparing the different Snapdragon processors, one must remember the series they belong to, what phones they’re meant to be installed on and how much are you going to tap their potential. If you don’t multi-task heavily or aren’t a mobile gamer, then the 800 series would be a wastage of resources. In such cases, a 400 series processor would do most of the job; one may take up the 600 series for a better performance and rather more powerful features or vice-versa.

Anyway, Snapdragon processors are already a big hit in the global market. Although MediaTek is a rising competitor to Qualcomm, it is still up to speculations whether the superiority established by Qualcomm over the global chipset market will be diminished or not. As of now, Qualcomm is the market leader and is here to stay for a while.