It’s usually Qualcomm’s high-end chipsets like the Snapdragon 835 that get all the attention, but the company continues to make huge strides when it comes to mid-range SoCs. At Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, the firm announced a big upgrade to its 400-series platform that sees the move to a 14nm process with the new Snapdragon 450.
The new SoC is said to be optimized for mid-range smartphones and offers several improvements over the current generation of Snapdragon 400 chips, which use a 28nm process. The 450 features the same eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores found in the Snapdragon 435, though the maximum clock speed has been increased from 1.4GHz to 1.8GHz.
The 450 also features an Adreno 506 GPU that Qualcomm says offers a 25 percent improvement when it comes to GPU performance compared to the Snapdragon 435, which uses the Adreno 505 GPU. There’s also battery and efficiency upgrades, with the 450 able to last four hours longer than its predecessor while offering a 30 percent reduction in power consumption.
When it comes to the camera, the Snapdragon can support a single snapper up to 21MP, just like the 435, but it’s also able to support a dual 13MP camera setup and Bokeh effects, which lets users blur the background of a photo in real time. It also enables video capture at up to 1080p/60fps, beating the 435’s 1080p/30fps limit, boosts the USB controller from USB 2.0 to 3.0, and supports display resolutions up to 1920x1200.
The Snapdragon 450 keeps some of its predecessor’s features, including QuickCharge 3.0 support, the "X9 LTE" Cat. 7 modem, and an enhanced version of the Hexagon DSP, which enables multimedia, camera and sensor processing at greater performance and lower power.
With the Snapdragon 450, it seems Qualcomm is closing the feature gap between mid-range and high-end devices. It's expected to begin commercial sampling to customers in Q3 2017 and should be available in consumer devices by the end of 2017.