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Qualcomm's Snapdragon 678 wrings more speed from mid-range phones

It's not a huge leap over the Snapdragon 675, but any leap helps.

Published onDecember 15, 2020

Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 5G
  • Qualcomm has unveiled the Snapdragon 678, a successor to the 675.
  • The chip aims to improve performance for mid-range phones.
  • There’s no 5G, though.

Qualcomm isn’t focusing all its attention on top-tier chips like the Snapdragon 888 — it’s giving more affordable devices a boost as well. The company has unveiled a Snapdragon 678 system-on-chip that promises better performance for mid-range Android phones.

As the name implies, the Snapdragon 678 it’s a subtle upgrade to Qualcomm’s earlier 675. You can expect the high-performance Kryo 460 CPU cores to run at 2.2GHz instead of the previous part’s 2GHz, and the Adreno 612 graphics should run faster as well.  In short: it should be that much better-suited to mobile games and intensive apps.

Read more: The best budget phones you can buy

Just don’t expect 5G and other creature comforts. The Snapdragon 678 still uses Qualcomm’s X12 LTE modem, and the Spectra 250L image processing remains intact. Those respectively promise up to 600Mbps downloads and 48MP photos. This is a speed bump to keep the 670 series relevant rather than a full-fledged successor, and you should set your expectations accordingly.

Qualcomm didn’t say when the Snapdragon 678 would be available, although the subtle improvement suggests it won’t take long to reach shipping phones.

SoCs like this are more important than they seem. With chips like Qualcomm’s own Snapdragon 765G dominating affordable flagships, the 678 may be the best option for true mid-range and even low-end Android phones. How long it lasts in that role might be another story, though. With 5G devices reaching increasingly affordable prices, the 678’s mid-pack status might be short-lived.

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