Qualcomm has been impressing with their high-end chipsets for years, and that means their low-end chipsets have been seeing some nice delayed benefits. That continues with the Snapdragon 450, a platform that will raise the quality of sub-$200 phones in everything from processing power to camera quality to network connectivity.
For starters, the 450 will have more raw power. We’re looking at an octa-core CPU, with all eight cores being 1.8 GHz 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53s. That’s an interesting choice — usually we see four cores clocked at lower speeds for efficient handling of low-power tasks like email — but the Cortex-A53 is modest enough for today’s demands that that might not be as much of a concern. It’s also worth noting that that processor uses the 14 nm process, which in part makes processors more power-efficient. That CPU will be paired with the Adreno 506 GPU, which was first seen in the Snapdragon 625 chipset that ran some of last year’s mid-range phones.
On the camera side, there’s no Qualcomm Spectra ISP here, so photo quality will ultimately fall behind the more expensive stuff. But, it’s not all bad news for photographers — the 450 supports dual-camera systems like the monochrome/color combinations Huawei uses, which can help improve the quality of low-light shots. It’ll also be possible to preview bokeh shots, which pull subjects into tighter focus against a blurred background, in camera apps.
On the audio side, budget phones will now be able to zoom in microphones along with camera zoom, which should be great for recording video (this is great for recording a sports event from the stands). That video can now be taken in 1080p at 60 fps, too — something that was a premium feature not too long ago (things move fast!).
We’ve been hearing a lot about network speed improvements lately, but that depends on everything in the chain being high quality. Lower-quality modems have made budget phones slower, and while that will still be true, the move to Qualcomm’s X9 modem is a welcome one. As a result, budget phones running on the 450 will have access to 300 Mbps LTE Cat-6 download speeds. The modem also supports dual-band Wi-Fi, which grants access to faster, shorter-range 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi networks.
There are plenty of other goodies to be had. Expect QuickCharge 3.0, which charges phones much faster than normal — although as always, you’ll need the right wall charger to make that happen. And, if you’re enamored with the super-wide displays you’re seeing on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the LG G6, this chipset can support those kinds of displays up to 1080p resolution. Runners can expect better location tracking for apps that track routes, too.
All told, the Snapdragon 450 can deliver better performance, faster network speeds, and better camera quality, all with better battery life thanks to more efficient processing. It’ll make bargain hunting a lot more fun! You should expect Snapdragon 450 phones priced between $100 and $250 to start hitting the market during the holiday season.