The new Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 wants to bring more competition to the Pixel 6a

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 and 4 Gen 1 in smartphone reference designs
(Image credit: Qualcomm)

What you need to know

  • Qualcomm unveils its latest mid-tier Snapdragon chips.
  • The Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 builds off the Snapdragon 695 with better connectivity, camera support, and a new AI engine.
  • The Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 continues to improve lower-end smartphones with better camera support and faster performance.
  • These chips will arrive on phones starting in Q3 2022 and Q1 2023, respectively.

As more companies introduce smartphones with Qualcomm's latest flagship 8+ Gen 1 chipset, the chipmaker is introducing its latest mid-range chipsets to bring more flagship features to lower-cost smartphones. Enter the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 and Snapdragon 4 Gen 1, the first in each series to receive Qualcomm's new naming scheme.

On the higher end, the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 gets a number of upgrades when compared to last year's Snapdragon 695. Aside from a whopping 40% boost in CPU performance and 35% faster graphics rendering, the new 6-series chip comes equipped with Qualcomm's 7th Gen AI Engine for smarter processing. Not only is it more efficient, but it helps improve AI-powered features like bokeh effects for your camera.

Speaking of the camera, the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 is the first in the series to support up to 200MP images as well as computational HDR video capture, so hopefully, we can expect better camera performance from phones in this tier.

Connectivity will also be a lot better. The Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 is coupled with the Snapdragon X62 5G modem, enabling peak download speeds of 2.9Gbps. Wi-Fi 6E support also arrives as a first for the series. And for gamers, the chip will enable faster, more vibrant gaming with support for 60fps or more and 10-bit HDR.

The Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 logo

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Unfortunately, it'll be a little while before we see this chip in action, as phones based on the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 aren't scheduled to launch until the first quarter of 2023. Motorola is already slated to introduce a phone powered by the chip "in the future."

It'll be interesting to see how phones using this chip stack up to the likes of the Pixel 6a. The phone already brings exceptional value for a mid-range phone, thanks to the flagship-level Tensor chip making up for otherwise weak hardware.

Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 is set to give lower-end phones a much-needed boost thanks to its 15% better CPU power and 10% better GPU performance over its predecessor. Support for FHD+ 120hz displays remains, while Qualcomm's AI Engine should give phones an additional edge.

Cameras in the 4-series can now be bumped up to 108MP with the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1. Some of the best Android phones from Samsung and others sport 108MP cameras, so it seems likely that we'll see these sensors trickle down to the low-end, especially with newer phones starting to equip Samsung's 200MP ISOCELL HP1 sensor and the company already gearing up for the HP3.

The Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 will start appearing in smartphones this quarter, with iQOO slated to be among the first to launch a device powered by the chip.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.