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Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1: Everything You Need To Know

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Reference Design Indoor 3 Large
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Qualcomm announced its latest premium, high-end mobile processor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 on November 30, 2021 at its annual Snapdragon Tech Summit.

This new chipset will be used in most flagship smartphones that will launch in 2022. So it’s important to see what all this new chipset is actually capable of. Because, the chipset is what opens the door for these new smartphones to debut new features, like AI Video Bokeh.

So, here’s everything you need to know about the new chipset from Qualcomm.

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Why the new naming scheme?

Qualcomm opted to use a new naming scheme with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 this year. Instead of going with the Snapdragon 898 which many were expecting. Qualcomm decided it was important to make its processors easier to decipher. Instead of using a three-digit number for each processor, it’ll now have the series, plus the generation after it.

This new naming scheme is going to be starting with the Snapdragon 8 series, but will trickle down to the Snapdragon 4, 6 and 7 series too.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Specs

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1Snapdragon 888
CPU1x 3GHz (Cortex-X2)
3x 2.4GHz (Cortex-A78)
4x 1.8GHz (Cortex-155)
1x 2.84GHz (Cortex-X1)
3x 2.4GHz (Cortex-A78)
4x 1.8GHz (Cortex-A55)
GPUAdreno 730Adreno 660
DSPHexagon Processor
(tensor accelerator, vector eXtensions, Scalar Accelerator)
 Hexagon 780
(fused scalar, tensor, and vector)
Process4nm5nm
ModemX65 5G Modem-RF System
Up to 10Gbps
5G Uplink Carrier Aggregation
X60 LTE/5G (integrated)
7500 Mbps down
3000 Mbps up
NetworkingBluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 6E, WiFi 6 (802.11ax), Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), 802.11a/b/g/n
ChargingQuick Charge 5
Quick Charge AI
Quick Charge 4+
Quick Charge AI
Camera Support240 12MP Photos in one second
3.2 Gigapixels per second
4 stops of dynamic range
8K HDR + 64MP
18-bit RAW
5X Better Night Mode
Dedicated Bokeh Engine
200MP single shot
84MP single with zero shutter lag
64MP+25MP with zero shutter lag
Triple 24MP with zero shutter lag
Hybrid AF
10-bit HEIF image capture
HDR video
multi-frame noise reduction
Real-time object classification, segmentation, and replacement
Video Capture8K HDR @ 30fps
4K UHD @ 120fps
720p @ 960fps
8K @ 30fps
4K UHD @ 120fps
720p @ 960fps
Video Playback8K
4K HDR up to 120fps
H.265 and VP9 video decoder
360 degree
8K
4K HDR up to 120fps
H.265 and VP9 video decoder
360 degree
First AvailableQ4 2021Q1 2021

What’s new in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1?

For the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, there’s a number of things that Qualcomm is focusing on. But it’s all of the usual talking points. That includes AI, Camera and 5G or WiFi 6E. Let’s talk about each of these new features in the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

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Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Block Diagram Large

Faster and more advanced AI

Qualcomm calls it “AI for All”. With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, it has released its seventh-generation Qualcomm AI Engine, which is the fastest and more advanced engine ever. So that smartphone makers are able to use the AI to capture depth-defying images with the Leica Leitz Look mode. You can also analyze and intelligently group and prioritize your notifications with natural language processing from Hugging Face.

What does this mean for smartphone users? Well, it means that the artificial intelligence in your phone is going to get faster and get smarter. Google is one that uses AI for a lot of different things in its Pixel smartphones, but since they use Tensor now, this won’t matter for Pixel users. However, for Samsung, Xiaomi and others, it will make a big difference.

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What is Snapdragon Sight?

Instead of talking about the ISP inside the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, Qualcomm is bundling all of the camera features under a brand – Snapdragon Sight. This is a collection of premium camera features and technologies that include their first ever 18-bit ISP.

This is going to allow you to capture photos and videos in extreme dynamic range with vivid color and clarity. And this will be the first time that you can record in 8K HDR video quality, from a smartphone.

snapdragon 8 gen 1

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The new 18-bit ISP is able to capture over 4,000x more camera data than the 14-bit predecessor in the Snapdragon 888. It also has staggering capture speeds at up to 3.2 Gigapixels per second.

There’s also a dedicated Bokeh Engine available for 4K Video Capture with Snapdragon Sight. Which will work with AI Video Bokeh making for some really cool and cinematic videos, all taken with your smartphone.

Qualcomm has also made it so that the front-facing camera can be always-on, since it is the fourth ISP in the sensing hub. This is going to improve security, the ability to unlock your phone with face unlock. And it’ll also be able to determine if someone is looking over your shoulder.

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Basically, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is going to bring some really big changes to the flagship smartphones coming in 2022.

The next era of 5G

Once again, Qualcomm has released its most advanced 5G platform ever, with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. The fourth-generation Snapdragon X65 6G Modem-RF system, which offers unparalleled speeds and supports more networks, frequencies and bandwidths globally.

This is the world’s first 10-Gigabit 5G Modem-RF solution. It’s also the world’s first 3GPP Release 16 5G solution. And the world’s first 5G uplink carrier aggregation for unprecedented upload speeds.

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This new modem does offer mmWave and Sub-6 5G support, as well as standalone and non-standalone modes, FDD and TDD. Which means that it is going to work better around the world. Not just in the US.

For mmWave it offers 1000MHz bandwidth, 8 carriers and 2×2 MIMO. For Sub-6 it’s 300MHz bandwidth and 4×4 MIMO. Finally, Qualcomm supports Global 5G multi-SIM with the new Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System.

So what does this mean for consumers? Well, this means that we will see even fewer mmWave models of phones next year. 5G speeds will be faster, in areas that have faster speeds, and it will work for traveling from country to country. Like 4G LTE was doing prior to the launch of 5G.

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WiFi 6E and WiFi 6-ready

The Snapdragon 888 5G did support WiFi 6E and WiFi 6 last year, but now, with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, you’re getting even better support. This is all thanks to the Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 System. It supports the following WiFi standards:

  • WiFi 6E, WiFi 6 (802.11ax)
  • WiFi 5 (802.11ac)
  • WiFi 2.4 (802.11a/g/b/n)
  • WiFi spectral bands: 2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz.

Qualcomm quotes the peak speed on the FastConnect 6900 to be about 3.6Gbps. Which is likely way faster than anyone will actually get from a WiFi network right now. Considering the fact that Gigabit WiFi is still pretty scarce across the US.

This is all important as it means you’re getting faster speeds on your smartphone with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, as well as being less likely to drop connection from your WiFi network.

snapdragon 8 gen 1

Snapdragon Elite Gaming continues to impress

With Snapdragon Elite Gaming in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, Qualcomm is claiming that you will get ultra-smooth responsiveness and color rich HDR scenes. That represents a huge step forward in the mobile gaming arena.

Qualcomm has also added the Adreno Frame Motion Engine, which means you’re getting more frames while using less power. That’s always a good thing. Qualcomm claims that you’ll get “desktop level capabilities” out of this new Adreno GPU on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Studios has been working with a number of game publishers to adopt these new features that are part of Snapdragon Elite Gaming. That includes Epic Games, Tencent, Ubisoft, NetEase Games, Niantic, EA, 2K, Roblox, Netmarble, Gameloft, Square Enix, Sony, Microsoft and many others. So you’re likely to see a lot of games that will support these new features.

Screen Shot 2021 11 30 at 9 28 58 AM

What this means for consumers is that you’re going to be able to have an even more impressive gaming experience on your phone. Giving you even less reasons to get a console like the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X.

When can we expect the first smartphones with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1?

As usual, Qualcomm did not specify who or what phone would be first with this new chipset. However, Qualcomm did mention that we will see it in a smartphone before the end of 2021. Given the fact that there’s really only a couple of weeks left in the year, it’s going to be very soon.

We have a feeling that it will be a Xiaomi smartphone. Since the Xiaomi MI 12 series is set to debut in December. So it’ll likely be the Mi 12 Ultra. We also expect to see this in the Samsung Galaxy S22 in the beginning of 2022.