qualcomm Snapdragon-chip

We’ve heard several rumors mentioning it, but now Qualcomm has made the Snapdragon 821 system-on-a-chip official.

Details are scarce for now, but one thing’s clear – this isn’t a major leap compared to the Snapdragon 820.

As the small change of the product number implies, the Snapdragon 821 is a slightly faster and more efficient version of the 820 that keeps all the characteristics that have made Snapdragon 820 such a successful chip.

Qualcomm says we should expect a 10% improvement compared to the Snapdragon 820, thanks to the higher CPU and GPU clock speeds. Here’s a breakdown of the high level Snapdragon 821 vs Snapdragon 820 differences, as per AnandTech:

Snapdragon 821

  • CPU (high performance): 2 x 2.4 GHz
  • CPU (low power): 2 x 2 GHz
  • GPU: ~650 MHz

 Snapdragon 820

  • CPU (high performance): 2 x 2.2 GHz
  • CPU (low power): 2 x 1.6 GHz
  • GPU: 624 MHz

Qualcomm hasn’t clarified if there are any differences between 821 and 820, other than the better performance, but it’s possible that Snapdragon 821 is just a higher-binned version of the 820. Binning is the process where chips are tested and sorted based on their actual performance, which varies from chip to chip due to imperfections in the fabrication process or material.

This isn’t the first time Qualcomm re-launches slightly improved chips with new designations – the Snapdragon 800-801 pair is perhaps the best-known example.

According to Qualcomm, Snapdragon 821 will be featured in devices released in the second part of the year. No names were dropped, but we can speculate that the Galaxy Note 7, the LG V10 successor, and the higher-end HTC Nexus will be powered by Snapdragon 821. In addition to smartphones, Qualcomm said that the 821 will be used in “mobile VR head mounted displays and other new devices.”

Qualcomm says more details will be coming soon. Let us know your thoughts!

Bogdan Petrovan
Bogdan is the European Managing Editor of Android Authority. He loves tech, travel, and fantasy. He wishes he had more time for two of those things. Bogdan's phone is a Nexus 6P.
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