Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1: the chip for the top of the range 2022

Qualcomm has made official its new chip for the top of the range 2022 smartphones: on paper it is very powerful, but the competition is very fierce

As expected for several days, Qualcomm has made official its new chip for the top of the range 2022 smartphones: it is called Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, a new name that will replace Snapdragon 898. Or 895, if you prefer: there was a long discussion about what the 2022 chip would be called and, in the end, Qualcomm mocked everyone.

Apart from the name, which however has been chosen to clearly indicate a new generation of processors for smartphones and tablets, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is exactly the chip "extreme" that everyone was expecting and is a candidate, with good reason, to compete not only with the already announced (but not yet presented) MediaTek Dimensity 9000, Google Tensor and Samsung Exynos 2200 (of which we have lost track), but even with the chip of the iPhone and iPad, ie Apple A15 Bionic. A comparison, the latter, which actually makes little sense because it's like comparing apples and pears: they are two different ecosystems. Qualcomm defines the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 as "the world's most advanced mobile platform" and "the standard for the next generation of flagship mobile devices." Whether this will be true, only time will tell but it is already certain that on paper Qualcomm's new chip promises wonders. But will it manage not to heat up like a stove?

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1: technical characteristics

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is a SoC (System on Chip: all the electronics in one chip) with a CPU with an internal structure in many ways traditional and in other ways innovative. It is in fact equipped with the classic ARM architecture with "big-LITTLE" setting: there are some "big" cores with high performance and high consumption, but also other "LITTLE" cores with high efficiency and low performance. Depending on the workload, the former or the latter are used more.

Specifically, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 has 8 cores in total, 4 of which are "big" and 4 instead "LITTLE". The 4 high-performance cores are 1 Cortex X2 core and 3 Cortex A710 cores and both types of cores are based on the new ARM V9 architecture unveiled at the end of May 2021. The 4 high-efficiency cores, on the other hand, are all Cortex A510 type, also of the new generation.

As for graphics, on the other hand, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 comes with a new Adreno GPU that promises an average performance increase of 30%, against a 25% drop in power consumption.

Also new is the Hexagon processor, dedicated to artificial intelligence algorithms: Qualcomm promises a doubling of performance compared to the previous AI engine built into the current Snapdragon 888 (the flagship chip of 2021).

The new modem built into Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, then, promises 5G speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second download and 3.6 Gbps over WiFi 6E networks.

Finally, the Image Signal Processor (ISP), the processor that processes data from cameras, also changes on 8 Gen 1. Qualcomm claims that the new ISP will be able to process 4,000 times more information for HDR photos and videos.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1: what it can do

What will be possible to do with the new 2022 top-of-the-line smartphones equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, of course, will also depend a lot on the choices of individual manufacturers. So everything you'll read below should be understood as a maximum possibility, not as a standard feature.

As for the brute power of CPU and GPU, clearly, everything will depend on the applications that will be able to exploit it and, just as clearly, it will be mostly video games. In the coming days we'll read about incredible results with benchmarks, but experience teaches us that between benchmarks and the real user experience there can be a gulf.

Thanks to the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 ISP, however, we'll be able to record 8K videos with HDR on. We'll also be able to have the Bokeh effect (subject in focus, background out of focus) in videos and not just in photos and, interestingly, we'll be able to take panoramic photos up to 140 degrees wide without moving the phone.

With the new AI engine, instead, smartphones with Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will be able to analyze in real time our voice and diagnose the possible onset of an asthma attack or depression.

Also thanks to AI it will be possible to transform normal videos into slow motion videos: the processor will calculate the missing frames. Again thanks to AI it will be possible to ask questions with the voice and get answers, coming from a file and not from the Internet.

Finally, thanks to the Secure Boot technology integrated in Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 it will be possible to create NFTs and automatically certify their authenticity.