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Qualcomm showcases Snapdragon 801's Hexagon DSP capabilities in music playback

Qualcomm showcases the power-saving capabilities of the Snapdragon 801 in music playback via Hexagon DSP, allowing continuous playback on the OnePlus One for 60 hours.
August 11, 2014
OnePlus One Qualcomm Snapdragon

Touted as the ‘flagship killer’ when it was launched, the OnePlus One aimed to challenge top-selling smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 but without the premium price. Offered at a $299 starting price, the One promised reasonable performance with its Snapdragon 801 chipset, 5.5-inch LTPS display and decent kit for the price. One other thing that this industry newcomer offers: stellar battery life. (Read our full review here.)

At least this is what Qualcomm, which manufactures the Snapdragon 801 chipset that powers the One, is trying to highlight. In a recent blog post, Qualcomm touted the One’s battery capabilities in music playback, which reached 60 hours straight, with the device outputting audio to stereo speakers with its 3.5-mm audio jack. The company says is due to the Hexagon DSP found in the Snapdragon 801 processor, aided by the phone’s 3,100 mAh battery.

Of course, used as a daily driver, the One is likely to be limited to one day under moderate to heavy use, and you will definitely want to plug in your device at the office, in the car or before you sleep, to make sure you have enough juice when you need it. Qualcomm’s tests were done in a very controlled environment, meaning the OnePlus One did not have a SIM, and the wireless radios (WiFi, Bluetooth) were turned off.

Still, if you’re fond of using your smartphone as a digital music player, then Qualcomm’s Hexagon DSP will be a big help in reducing the processing overhead. As per Qualcomm, smartphones powered by other processors still rely on the CPU to play back music. But with certain Snapdragon processors, playback is handled by the DSP, which uses much less power. This lets the application processor sleep while music is being played back, thereby resulting in reduced battery consumption.

Will your OnePlus One last 60 hours on a single charge? Probably not in regular use. But it’s good to know that chipmakers are designing their hardware with power efficiency in mind, especially in common tasks like playing music.