Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Revealed As The Heart Of Your Next Android Flagship Phone

Six months after the release of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, Qualcomm just gave its flagship processor a mid-generation update. Officially announced at the "Snapdragon Night" event in China, the new processor gets a slight change in the naming convention and is called the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

While Qualcomm has previously given similar mid-life updates to its flagship chips, they were usually speed binned versions of their regular variants. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, however, is much more than that. For starters, the newer chip comes from an entirely different foundry, manufactured by TSMC instead of Samsung. This means that the supposed mid-generation update is a bit more substantial than what we usually associate with Qualcomm's "Plus" chips.

The change of foundry and the die also translates to significant, double-digit performance gains over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Qualcomm claims that the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 offers 10% faster CPU and GPU performance than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Another area where the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 scores significantly better over its predecessor is efficiency — with the new chip claimed to be 30% more efficient. The result is a processor that claims to offer significant 15% power savings over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1: The details that matter

Qualcomm's latest flagship processor continues to be based on a 4nm manufacturing process — albeit this time from TSMC. This change has allowed Qualcomm to increase the GPU and CPU clock speeds by up to 7%. The result is that the Prime Cortex X2 is now clocked at 3.2 GHz (as opposed to 3 GHz on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1). Similarly, the 3x Cortex A710 core now clocks at 2.8 GHz (compared to 2.5 GHz earlier).

Then we have the 4x Cortex A-510 efficiency cores that also see a jump from 1.8 GHz to 2 GHz. While Qualcomm is yet to reveal the clock speeds for the Adreno GPU on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen1, they already claim a 10% higher clock speed in the promotional materials.

The rest of the hardware on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is similar to that of its predecessor — and this includes the X65 integrated modem as well. The new chip continues to support 3200 MHz LPDDR5 RAM, and the ISP used is the same, with support for 200 MP resolution, 8K video capture, and 64 MP burst capture. In terms of encoding, the chip retains support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, and HLG. A glaring omission, this time around too, is the lack of support for the AV1 codec.

In simpler terms, apart from the faster performance on account of the supposedly better manufacturing process, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 does not add anything over its predecessor in terms of additional features.

Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 release date range

In the press release announcing the launch of the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, Qualcomm has named several brands that intend to use the chip on upcoming devices. These include gaming-oriented brands like ASUS (ROG), Nubia, and Blackshark, as well as the likes of iQOO, Honor, Motorola, OnePlus, OPPO, Xiaomi, and Realme.

Interestingly, Samsung seems to be missing from this list, raising questions about the possibility of Samsung's next-generation foldable devices — the much-rumored Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4 – using the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip. Recent reports have talked about the possibility of these devices featuring Qualcomm's newer chips instead of the older Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. But going by Qualcomm's press release, that doesn't seem to be happening.

Qualcomm adds that the first of the devices based on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 should be available on commercial devices starting in the second half of 2022.