Updated: Nov 18
Today we’re in beautiful Hawaii, attending Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit 2022 where they unveiled their new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SOC along with many other things. So, here’s what’s new and what’s cool!
Skipping all the side dishes, the 8 Gen 2 is Snapdragon’s latest iteration of their premium mobile SOC bringing all-around improvements from its predecessor the 8 Gen 1. In fact, Qualcomm's key experience pillars for each category really highlights what their new SOC brings for the overall experience and we have quite a few of them so let's get to it.
Starting from the AI side of things, we have Snapdragon Smart, which constitutes a new Hexagon Processor with an upgraded architecture, Qualcomm claims that it helps speed up processes which are more heavily reliant on AI such as translations and camera features.
On the backend, their INT4 precision format now brings about 60% more performance per watts improvement in sustained AI inferencing compared to 8 Gen 1, all of it “simplified”, it’s much more efficient!
On the other end of the AI umbrella, Snapdragon Sight is what Qualcomm coins the image processing updates of the 8 Gen 2, utilising the first cognitive ISP (Image Signal Processor) to enhance photos and videos in real time.
Its contextually aware of varying subjects like faces, clothes, skies, etc and uses those information to process the photos with context, such as making skys bluer and fixing skin tones of multiple human subjects! Qualcomm also increased support for newer sensors such as Samsung’s 200-megapixel ISOCELL HP3, which is also a joint collaboration between the two brands.
And well, it now includes an AV1 codec which can play 8K HDR at 60 FPS, if anyone has an 8K library sitting around there you go.
Alright, you have ‘Smart’ which is basically representing the ‘brain’ and ‘Sight’ which is clearly the ‘eyes’, this makes the perfect segway to the audio experience, the ‘ears’ per se.
Snapdragon Sound now features spatial audio with dynamic head-tracking and support for 48kHz lossless files. For the gamers, it also touts a low 48ms latency over bluetooth (100 to 300 ms for regular true wireless earbuds) and built-in voice backchannel to streamline comms between players.
Snapdragon Elite Gaming
Speaking of gaming, Snapdragon Elite Gaming encompasses everything gaming front, now being able to do real-time hardware-accelerated ray tracing and render photorealistic human models with optimised support for the Unreal Engine 5 Metahumans Framework.
In terms of numbers, the Adreno GPU is up to 25% faster while the Kryo CPU is up to 40% more efficient compared to the 8 Gen 1.
Snapdragon Connect & Security
The 8 Gen 2 also boasts improvements on the connectivity and security side of things. The Snapdragon X70 5G Modem-RF System features 5G+5G dual-SIM which work can in tandem with each other or individually, say for example, you may game on one line and funnel your voice chat through the other. The modem also runs on dual mmWave and Sub6 connectivity and uses AI to intelligently manage data transfers to achieve faster speeds, so fast, Qualcomm slapped a 10 Gigabit branding on it!
The other half of the connectivity experience is FastConnect 7800, comprising of Wi-Fi 7 (5.8 Gbps with 6Ghz band or 4.3 Gbps without) and Bluetooth. It's able to tap on HBS (High Band Simultaneous) Multi-Link with dual 5/6 Ghz Wi-Fi bands, freeing the 2.4 Ghz band to improve Bluetooth connectivity. Similarly, Multi-Link also allows split management of both bands for different Wi-Fi connected devices such as AR glasses.
Dual data connectivity and management seems to be the trend here, as Dual Bluetooth also features simultaneous connections to manage two devices, or it can combine the signals for a better range as well.
All of it is protected by Snapdragon Secure, offering better and tighter security to keep your data safe and that’s about it. Long story short, it is able to do things like detecting onlookers trying to peek over your shoulders and even locking the screen when it detects that you are walking away.
We'll see how it translate into real world use in due time.
As with all previous chipsets, the 8 Gen 2 will of course be adopted by many familiar brands, with devices expected to drop by the end of 2022. We’ll see then how each brand will integrate these features into their mobile experience when it arrives!
Qualcomm is also expected to make more announcements within this event so do stay tuned for our full rundown!