Qualcomm unveils new 4G chipsets for 2020: meet the Snapdragon 720G, 662, and 460
Qualcomm is doubling down on 5G this year with the Snapdragon 865 and 765 chipsets, but not all countries are ready to make the switch to 5G just yet. That's why Qualcomm is introducing a set of 4G-only chipsets tailored for markets like India, where Qualcomm has a huge presence.
At a media event in New Delhi, Qualcomm is unveiling three new chipsets: the gaming-focused Snapdragon 720G, mid-range Snapdragon 662, and the budget Snapdragon 460. All three chipsets feature Wi-Fi 6 connectivity as standard, Bluetooth 5.1, and they're the first to support India's Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) satellite positioning system. They also deliver improved AI and imaging features, with Qualcomm continuing its strategy to offer differentiated products in this category. Here's what you need about the latest 4G chipsets.
The Snapdragon 720G builds on the strengths of the Snapdragon 730G and makes the platform more accessible to a wider audience. Qualcomm is once again offering its Snapdragon Elite Gaming suite here, with features like jitter reduction, 10-bit colors with HDR, and AptX Adaptive audio codec.
The Snapdragon 720G features Qualcomm's FastConnect 6200 Wi-Fi subsystem, doubling Wi-Fi range and real-world speeds. You get Wi-Fi 6 with 2x2 MIMO, and on the mobile connectivity side, there's a 4x4 MIMO X15 LTE modem that delivers Category 15 speeds up to 800Mbps. Indian carriers are finally starting to use carrier aggregation, so you may actually end up seeing decent bandwidth with the X15 modem. There's also dual SIM dual VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling.
Mobile gaming has seen a meteoric rise in India in recent years, and Qualcomm is leveraging that market with the Snapdragon 720G. The chipset is built on an 8nm node and features two Cortex A76 cores at 2.3GHz and six A55 cores at 1.8GHz. There's an Adreno 618 GPU for "true HDR10 gaming", the same as the 730G.
You'll also find a Hexagon 692 DSP for better on-device AI, and Qualcomm's Sensing Hub for always-on digital assistants. Last but not least, you'll find 4K video recording at 30fps, and the chipset can facilitate sensors up to 192MP. The chipset can also handle displays up to FHD+ (2520 x 1080), but what's more interesting is that it is able to drive 90Hz/120Hz panels. Oh, and there's Quick Charge 4+.
With the current state of the Indian budget segment, both Xiaomi and Realme are set to roll out devices that are powered by the Snapdragon 720G. Both companies have committed to the platform, and if history is any indication, we should see new phones very soon.
So where does the 720G slot in? There's already the Snapdragon 665, the 730G, and the regular 730. Qualcomm says it wants to offer more choice to device makers, and that's why it decided to roll out another gaming-focused chipset. It will be interesting to see if there's any price differential between devices that sport the 730G and 720G, as that will ultimately decide how well it does.
The Snapdragon 662 is picking up a few upgrades that make it stand out. It is powered by four Cortex A73 cores at 2.0GHz and four A53 cores at 1.8GHz, and you get an Adreno 610 GPU. Because it is aimed at the mid-range market, it has an X11 modem that goes up to 390Mbps with 2x2 MIMO.
But the main highlight with the Snapdragon 662 is the Spectra 340T ISP, which enables device makers to roll out phones with three rear cameras — a first in the 6xx series. The chipset can handle sensors up to 48MP, and there's also compatibility for HEIC photo and HEVC video formats.
The Snapdragon 662 works with FHD+ displays at 60Hz, and you get Quick Charge 3.0. The chipset itself is fabricated on a 11nm node.
Qualcomm hasn't done much with the 4xx series, but that's changing with the Snapdragon 460. It features cores with a 70% boost in performance, and we're getting to see an Adreno 610 GPU for the first time in this series.
Qualcomm is rolling out Cortex A73 cores that go up to 1.8GHz, and the chipset is fabricated on a 11nm node like the 662. You'll also find the same X11 LTE modem, Quick Charge 3.0, HEIF compatibility, and FHD+ at 60Hz. The Snapdragon 460 has a Spectra 340 ISP that accommodates camera modules up to 25MP, and device makers will be able to add three cameras at the back.
The first phones with the Snapdragon 720G will be available to customers in Q1 2020. We'll have to wait longer for the other two designs, with both the Snapdragon 662 and 460 not showing up until the end of the year.
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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.