The Qualcomm Snapdragon logo.

Following this year’s first Snapdragon 845 devices and the launch of its super-mid-tier Snapdragon 700 series, Qualcomm is now refreshing its mid-range platform options to put a bit more pep in your next cost-effective smartphone.

Today’s announcement includes the new octa-core Snapdragon 632 and two lower level entries with the Snapdragon 439 and 429. None of these chips really dramatically shake things up, but they’ve all got some very welcome iterative improvements.

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The most noteworthy news comes in the form of the performance gains over the previous generation. Qualcomm is positioning the Snapdragon 632 as a replacement to the 626 and boasts a 40-percent CPU uplift and 10-percent gain in the GPU department over it. This is thanks to the inclusion of four high performance and four energy efficiency CPU cores, not unlike the more powerful 636.

Importantly, the 632 is pin compatible with the 626, as well as the 625 and old 450, making it a cost-effective upgrade path for manufacturers. This chipset also boasts higher resolution dual camera options and support for Qualcomm’s suite of “AI” tools.

Snapdragon 632Snapdragon 439Snapdragon 439
CPU
Snapdragon 632:
8x Kyro 250
(big + LITTLE cores)
Snapdragon 439:
8x Cortex-A53
Snapdragon 439:
4x Cortex-A53
CPU Clock
Snapdragon 632:
4x 1.8GHz + 4x 1.8GHz
Snapdragon 439:
4x 1.95GHz + 4x 1.45GHz
Snapdragon 439:
4x 1.95GHz
GPU
Snapdragon 632:
Adreno 506
Snapdragon 439:
Adreno 505
Snapdragon 439:
Adreno 504
Modem
Snapdragon 632:
X9 LTE
300Mbps up, 150Mbps down (LTE-A)
Snapdragon 439:
X6 LTE
150Mbps up, 75Mbps down
Snapdragon 439:
X6 LTE
150Mbps up, 75Mbps down
Display
Snapdragon 632:
FHD+
2240x1080
Snapdragon 439:
FHD+
2240x1080
Snapdragon 439:
FHD+
2240x1080
Camera
Snapdragon 632:
24MP single or 13MP Dual
Snapdragon 439:
21MP single or 8MP dual
Snapdragon 439:
16MP single or 8MP dual

The Snapdragon 439 and 429 aren’t targeting the same level of performance but boast some similarly notable gains over previous generation products. The 439 sees a 25 percent CPU and 20 percent GPU boost over the 430. It also shrinks down to a FinFET process for improved energy efficiency. The chip is clocked a bit higher than the 28nm 435 too, though otherwise seems very similar.

 

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 429 is a much lower end affair, with just four energy efficiency cores in tow. There’s the same 25-percent CPU boost over the Snapdragon 425 due to the FinFET move, and an even larger 50-percent gain to graphics performance thanks to the adoption of an Adreno 504 GPU. There’s also now enough bandwidth for dual camera support too. Weirdly though, these latest 400 series chips only have Qualcomm’s X6 LTE modem, rather than the faster LTE-A-ready X9 we previously saw in the 427 and 435. They still support dual VoLTE, though.

Wrap up

There are some major performance benefits on offer with the latest mid-range Snapdragons, which should rid lower cost products of those occasional stutters and stalls. There are also some improved features, but compared to Qualcomm’s other recent mid-tier platforms these SoCs don’t feel all that new.

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The company has an ever-expanding portfolio of chips to cater to almost every price and performance point, but from a consumer perspective, it’s increasingly tricky to keep track of exactly which of these mid-range chips is the very latest and greatest. Perhaps we’re due for a new naming convention.

Qualcomm expects the first devices shipping with these new chipsets to hit the market in the second half of 2018.