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Snapdragon-branded phones and earbuds exist now (Update: Pre-orders open)
- Qualcomm and ASUS just launched the first-ever commercial phone with Snapdragon branding: the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders.
- The phone is essentially a tweaked ASUS ROG Phone 5. There are also a set of companion earbuds with Snapdragon branding.
- You can now pre-order the pair of products as a package for a whopping $1,499 with shipping set for August.
Update: July 30, 2021 (1:05 AM ET): You can now pre-order the ASUS-made Qualcomm Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders. It’s good news for eager buyers but the estimated shipping date is listed as August 27. There’s still a pretty long wait ahead. Nevertheless, you can preorder the device for $1,499 from ASUS’ official store right now.
Original article: July 8, 2021 (12:43 PM ET): For years now, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets have proven to be the best-of-the-best in the Android world. However, those chips have always appeared in phones designed and created by other companies, such as Samsung, Google, OnePlus, etc.
Now, though, Qualcomm is stepping into the spotlight. The company just launched its first-ever Snapdragon-branded smartphone, clumsily called the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders. The name refers to the Snapdragon Insiders program, which is a social media initiative Qualcomm launched earlier this year.
However, Qualcomm didn’t actually create the phone. ASUS took over those duties, which is why the phone looks a whole lot like the ASUS ROG Phone 5 series. It does introduce a few upgrades (and downgrades) though.
Additionally, Qualcomm and ASUS are also launching a set of Snapdragon earbuds. The ‘buds will come with the phone and a selection of accessories for $1,499 starting in August 2021.
Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders
As previously mentioned, the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders shares its core DNA with the ASUS ROG Phone 5. It has a lot of similar specs: a Snapdragon 888 chipset, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 512GB of internal UFS 3.1 storage, and Android 11. It has a 6.78-inch Full HD+ OLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate covered with Gorilla Glass Victus. It has 65W wired charging and lacks wireless charging.
However, there are some differences. The SFSI is slightly lighter (210g vs 239g) which is mostly thanks to a smaller battery (4,000mAh vs 6,000mAh). It also doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack, which was one of the highlights of the ROG Phone 5.
See also: The best phones with a headphone jack
The Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders does have a notably better camera, though. It preserves the 64MP IMX686 primary lens as well as the 12MP wide-angle. It ditches the 5MP macro cam, though, and replaces it with an 8MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom. That’s certainly a nice perk.
The most interesting change, though, is that the SFSI doesn’t have an in-display fingerprint sensor. Instead, its sensor is capacitive and on the back. Qualcomm does say that this sensor works well with wet or dry fingers, so that’s probably the main reasoning behind this change.
What’s included for $1,499?
You won’t just get the phone when you buy the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders. At a cost of $1,499, that’s probably a big relief!
The most notable addition to the package is the set of true-wireless active noise-cancelling earbuds. They are co-created with Master & Dynamic and have 24-bit 96kHz audio quality. They do feature a kind of clunky design, though.
Elsewhere in the box, you’ll find a 65W charger, a braided USB-C cable, and a custom rubber bumper case.
Qualcomm and ASUS don’t give an exact date for the release of the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders. They do say that it will land in the United States, China, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and, eventually, India. The rollout will begin in August with ASUS selling the phone via its online shop.
Stay tuned for more info on how to get this for yourself.