Today, Qualcomm has announced two new mobile platforms for the smartphone market – the Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 630. Sitting just under the company’s flagship 800 series, these two new processors are aimed at bringing flagship-tier performance and features to mid-range handsets.

For a quick glance at the specifications of Qualcomm’s latest and previous 600 series processors, check out the table below.

 Snapdragon 660Snapdragon 653Snapdragon 630Snapdragon 626
CPU4x Kryo 260 @ 2.2GHz
4x Kryo 260 @ 1.8GHz
4x Cortex-A72 @ 1.95GHz
4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.44GHz
4x Cortex-A53 @ 2.2GHz
4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.8GHz
4x Cortex-A53 @ 2.2GHz
4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.8GHz
GPUAdreno 512 (Vulkan API)Adreno 510Adreno 508 (Vulkan API)Adreno 506
Co-processorsHexagon 642 + HVX, All-Ways Aware, Spectra 160Hexagon, All-Ways Aware, 2x ISPHexagon, All-Ways Aware, Spectra 160Hexagon, All-Ways Aware, 2x ISP
LTEX12 LTE
600Mbps down,
150 Mbps up,
3x20MHz CA, up to 256-QAM
X9 LTE
300Mbps down, 150Mbps up, 2x20MHz CA, up to 64-QAM
X12 LTE
600Mbps down,
150 Mbps up,
3x20MHz CA, up to 256-QAM
X9 LTE
300Mbps down, 150Mbps up, 2x20MHz CA, up to 64-QAM
Bluetooth54.154.2
Quick Charge4.03.04.03.0
Process14 nm28nm14 nm14 nm

Snapdragon 660

Starting with the Snapdragon 660, this mobile platform is the successor to Qualcomm’s existing 653 model. There are a couple of notable changes between these chipsets, the first of which is the move from a 28nm process down to a much more efficient 14nm node. Secondly, Qualcomm has introduced its Kryo 260 cores in its latest processor, switching things up for the octa-core ARM Cortex-A72 and A53 big.LITTLE combination seen in its predecessor.

Qualcomm hasn’t spilled the beans on exactly what makes up its Kryo 260 core, but it’s my suspicion that we’re looking at a similar Built on ARM Cortex Technology license that the company used for the Kryo 280, with some inhouse tweaks and a custom silicon layout. What we do know is that Kryo 260 comes in a familiar 4+4 octa-core arrangement, featuring four larger cores clocked at 2.2GHz with 1MB of L2 cache, while the little cores have their own 1MB L2 cache and are clocked at 1.8GHz.

On the GPU side, the Snapdragon 660 has been upgraded with a more powerful Adreno 512, up from the Adreno 510 seen inside the 653 model. Qualcomm states that these changes produce a 20-percent boost to CPU performance and 30-percent gains to GPU workloads.

Of course, Qualcomm’s latest mobile platform wouldn’t be complete without a suite of extra features. Inside the Snapdragon 660 we find an improved X12 LTE modem, Quick Charge 4 compliance, Bluetooth 5, USB Type-C with 3.1 speed compatibility, an improved Spectra 160 ISP with EIS 3.0, 2×2 WiFi, and the company’s Hexagon 642 DSP unit with All-Ways Aware technology and HVX.

For consumers, this means improved support for dual camera hardware and enhanced image processing capabilities, such as optical zoom and Clear Sight sensor arrangements, eye tracking, and depth mapping. This is all tied in with Qualcomm increasing focus on heterogeneous compute and machine learning capabilities, which is designed to make use of the most efficient processing components to complete any given task. Battery life has also received some extra attention, with Qualcomm suggesting that the 660 should grant users can extra 2 hours of battery life when compared to the 653.

“With the introduction of the Snapdragon 660 and 630 Mobile Platforms, we are thrilled that features such as improved image quality and fast LTE speeds will now be available in a wide array of devices without sacrificing performance or quality,” - Kedar Kondap, vice president, product management, Qualcomm

Snapdragon 630

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 is not quite as feature rich as the 660, but still offers up a number of improvements over its predecessor, the Snapdragon 625. This chip is also built on a 14nm process and is pin, modem, and ISP compatible with the 660, for those looking to conveniently adjust products for a slightly lower performance point.

The Snapdragon 630 sticks with the same octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 configuration as before, but with a slightly higher 2.2GHz peak clock speed for a 10 percent boost to performance over the 625. However, Qualcomm already announced a 14nm 2.2GHz Snapdragon 626 chip, so performance probably won’t be too different to what we’ve seen from this range in the past.

The 630 platform does feature a more powerful GPU though, having seen a leap from the Adreno 506 to the 508. Qualcomm states that this move offers up to a 30-percent performance improvement. The Snapdragon 630 also moves over to faster 2×16 LPDDR4X memory with a maximum clock speed of 1333MHz, which will be a boon to memory bound applications, including gaming.

Other improvements to the 630 mobile platform include the move on up to a X12 LTE modem, Spectra 160 ISP, support for QXGA (2048 x 1536) displays, Quick Charge 4, USB Type-C with 3.1 speeds, Bluetooth 5, All-Ways Aware support, and a Hexagon DSP but without the HVX extensions. Even so, both of Qualcomm’s new platforms can be used with machine learning algorithms through the Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine SDK, which offers support for Caffe/Caffe2 and TensorFlow.

See also:
Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4 will offer 5 hours of battery life in just 5 minutes

Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4 will offer 5 hours of battery life in just 5 minutes

November 17, 2016
The Snapdragon 660 is available to device manufacturers already and is expected to appear in devices arriving on the market this quarter. The Snapdragon 630 will be available to manufacturers at the end of May and could appear in its first device in the following quarter.
Robert Triggs
Lead Technical Writer at Android Authority, covering the latest trends in consumer electronics and hardware. In his spare moments, you'll probably find him tinkering with audio electronics and programming.