Qualcomm's Snapdragon 710 brings flagship performance to mid-range phones

Back in February, Qualcomm said it was going odd with the unveiling of a new 700 series of Snapdragon platforms, designed to bridge the gap between flagship-level performance (and pricing) of the 800 series, and the bifurcated mid-range expectations of the 600 series.

The Snapdragon 710 is the first chip in that new series, and it's a doozy. It uses the same 10nm manufacturing process as the Snapdragon 845 while borrowing a bunch of that chip's features. In fact, the Snapdragon 710 is basically a truncated 845, using a variation of the same Kryo cores in a 4x4 configuration, with support for nearly all of the flagship line's camera, AI, and modem improvements.

Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon 710, which uses four performance cores at 2.2GHz and four efficiency cores at 1.7GHz, has a performance boost of 20% over the Snapdragon 660 while coming in 40% more efficient in video playback and gaming. It can also reach LTE speeds of 800Mbps using a new X15 modem, with support for 4x4 carrier aggregation and 256QAM. There's also a new Adreno 616 GPU that should be a nice bump over the 600 series chips.

From a marketing perspective, Qualcomm is going hard on AI, something it's neglected to do in the past. According to the press release, the Snapdragon 710 "transforms the smartphone into a customized experience for users across camera and voice, powered by a multi-core AI Engine, delivering up to 2X overall performance improvements in AI applications, as compared to Snapdragon 660." There's no dedicated neural processing unit in this, or any other Qualcomm platform, but the company says the Hexagon DSP, Adreno GPU and Kryo CPU all work together to enhance AI applications. Sure.

Perhaps more important for the average phone user is the Spectra 250 ISP, which brings the mid-range closer than ever to the same superlative image processing of the Snapdragon 845. You want to know the secret of the OnePlus 6's camera? Yes, it's a bigger sensor, but its low-noise nighttime photos owe a lot to Qualcomm's Spectra ISP.

Finally, being built on a 10nm process means that the Snapdragon 710 is more efficient than any mid-range processor to date, which will be welcome news to power users on a budget.

The platform is shipping now, so it's possible we'll see devices with it launching in the early summer.

Daniel Bader

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central.