Qualcomm details what's inside the Snapdragon 821

ASUS revealed earlier this year that the ZenFone 3 Deluxe will be the first phone to run the Snapdragon 821 SoC. At IFA, Qualcomm is providing additional details on its mid-year refresh, delving into the performance improvements and feature additions over the Snapdragon 820.

The Snapdragon 821 retains the Kryo quad-core CPU cluster, but the cores are now clocked at 2.4GHz, providing a 10% bump in performance over the Snapdragon 820. The Adreno 530 GPU has also picked up a 5% increase in speed to 650MHz, and SoC boasts a 5% uptick in energy efficiency when compared to the Snapdragon 820. Like the 820, the Snapdragon 821 is based on the ARMv8-A instruction set and is manufactured on Samsung's 14nm second-generation FinFET LPP (Low Power Plus) node.

Qualcomm also mentions that it has optimized the Snapdragon 821 to reduce app load times by 10% and speed up the boot process by 10%. The UI optimizations and performance tweaks should provide "smoother scrolling and more responsive" browsing experience.

The Snapdragon 821 also supports the Snapdragon VR SDK, which gives developers the ability to craft mobile VR experiences compatible with Google's Daydream platform. The SoC also boasts support for Dual PDAF, which allows for faster autofocus speeds when taking images in challenging conditions. Then there's Extended Laser Auto-Focus Ranging, which extends the focus range of a laser autofocus system, making it easier to dial in on far-away subjects.

Oh, and the Snapdragon 821 will support Nougat. Overall, we're looking at incremental performance improvements over the Snapdragon 820, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing as the 820 turned out to be a stellar SoC. With the Snapdragon 821 now sampling to manufacturers, we should see more phones running Qualcomm's latest SoC in the coming months.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.