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Qualcomm 215 Mobile Platform announced: A much-needed upgrade for $100 phones

Qualcomm's new chipset brings 64-bit cores to its entry-level tier for the first time, but it enables plenty more features too.
By
July 9, 2019
The Qualcomm 215 Mobile Platform.

The Snapdragon 200 series hasn’t received much attention in recent years, with the low-end mobile chipset family still stuck in the 32-bit era. Fortunately, Qualcomm is rectifying this with the brand-new Qualcomm 215 Mobile Platform, positioned as the successor to the obsolete Snapdragon 212.

The new chipset finally brings the series into the 64-bit era, offering a quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU layout (1.3Ghz). In fact, the San Diego chipmaker says you can expect a CPU performance boost of 50 percent over previous 200-series chips.

Qualcomm’s new chipset also sports an Adreno 308 GPU which won’t trouble mid-range or flagship processors, but serves up 28 percent better gaming performance than the previous generation. Then again, this is the same GPU seen in the Snapdragon 425 series, so don’t expect a much better gaming experience.

Qualcomm 215 Mobile PlatformSnapdragon 212
CPU
Qualcomm 215 Mobile Platform
4x Cortex-A53
Snapdragon 212
4x Cortex-A7
CPU Clock
Qualcomm 215 Mobile Platform
4x 1.3GHz
Snapdragon 212
4x 1.3Ghz
GPU
Qualcomm 215 Mobile Platform
Adreno 308
Snapdragon 212
Adreno 304
Modem
Qualcomm 215 Mobile Platform
Cat 4 LTE
150Mbps downlink, 50Mbps uplink
Snapdragon 212
Cat 4 LTE
150Mbps downlink, 50Mbps uplink
Display
Qualcomm 215 Mobile Platform
HD+
1,560 x 720
Snapdragon 212
WXGA
1,280 X 720
Camera
Qualcomm 215 Mobile Platform
13MP single or 8MP dual (13MP+13MP via "hot switching")
Snapdragon 212
8MP single

The Qualcomm 215 Mobile Platform is a solid hand in the media category though, serving up 8MP/8MP or 13MP/13MP dual camera support (including depth sensing and optical zoom), up to 13MP image capture, 1080p recording, HD+ display resolution (1,560 x 720), and Qualcomm’s Hexagon DSP for more efficient audio and sensor processing.

The Snapdragon 200-series chipset also serves up noteworthy connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), dual SIM support with dual VoLTE, NFC support, and ultra HD voice calls. Don’t hold out hope for the latest fast charging technology though, as the chipset only tops out at Quick Charge 1.0.

What to look for when buying a $100 smartphone
Features
The Xiaomi Redmi 5A.

It all sounds pretty pedestrian if you bought a mid-range smartphone in the last three years or so. But it’s pretty impressive when you consider that phones with a Snapdragon 200 series chipset retail for well under $140, such as the $99 Nokia 2. Qualcomm says devices with this chipset will land in the $70 to $120 price bracket.

Phones with the Qualcomm 215 Mobile Platform are set to land in the second half of the year, so you can expect a noteworthy performance/feature boost in this tier. What do you look for in a $100 phone? Let us know in the comments!

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