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Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3 announced: A big upgrade for mid-range phones

This looks like a worthy follow-up to arguably the best mid-range chip of 2023.
By

Published onMarch 21, 2024

Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3 phone at night.
Supplied by Qualcomm
TL;DR
  • Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3 processor for smartphones.
  • This chip is the latest in its mid-range Snapdragon 7 series.
  • OnePlus, Realme, and Sharp are among the brands confirmed to launch a phone with this SoC.

Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 earlier this week, and this chip is meant for affordable flagship phones. Now, the company has announced the Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3, which is targeting mid-range phones.

Much like the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3, the Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3 is built on a 4nm TSMC process and brings a flagship-grade CPU. More specifically, we’re looking at an octa-core CPU consisting of one Cortex-X4 at 2.8GHz, four Cortex-A720 cores at 2.6GHz, and three Cortex-A520 Refresh cores at 1.9GHz.

This is obviously a drop in frequency compared to both the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, but it should still deliver fantastic performance. In fact, Qualcomm claims a 15% boost in CPU performance over the already impressive Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2.

Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3 GPU and AI

The GPU situation is a little murkier, though, as Qualcomm hasn’t clarified whether this part is derived from any previous silicon. Nevertheless, the lack of ray tracing support suggests that this isn’t derived from last year’s flagship processor, as we saw with the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3.

Qualcomm also says the GPU is 45% faster than the Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2’s GPU. For what it’s worth, the Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2 achieved GPU benchmark scores that were behind the Galaxy S22 Ultra, although it beat Samsung’s phone in stress tests. So it definitely seems like this chipset could beat some older flagship phones.

The Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3 sees a notable drop in GPU and AI performance compared to the Snapdragon 8 line.

In any event, the Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3 GPU brings features like super-resolution support in games, frame interpolation, and 120Hz support at QHD+ resolutions. AV1 decoding isn’t supported here, though, which would’ve made for more efficient and higher-quality video streaming on supported services (e.g. YouTube and Netflix).

Qualcomm is also pushing support for on-device generative AI. The company touted support for features like Gemini Nano, Stable Diffusion image generation, virtual assistants, and multi-language translation and transcription. We asked how the AI support compares to the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3, and Qualcomm noted that the 8-series chip had “better AI feature sets and provides premium gen AI experiences.” So don’t expect blistering speeds or features like image expansion.

Camera, connectivity, and more

A Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3 phone taking a photo of pink trees.
Supplied by Qualcomm

The Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3 seems to have the same camera capabilities as the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3. That means a triple image signal processor (ISP) capable of seamlessly switching between three lenses, support for 200MP single cameras, triple 36MP cameras, and real-time semantic segmentation (up to 12 layers) in photos and videos.

It’s no surprise to see that the new chipset doesn’t support 8K video capture, topping out at 4K/60fps HDR video recording. Other notable camera-related features include Google Ultra HDR photo support, 1080p/240fps slow-mo support, and multi-frame noise reduction.

The Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3 doesn't support 8K video recording, but you've still got most of the ingredients for a great camera experience in theory.

One major downgrade compared to the Snapdragon 8 series is the switch to an X63 modem. This modem uses the Release 17 standard and brings peak downlink speeds of 4.2Gbps. This modem also brings older versions of technologies like Smart Transmit for improved reception and PowerSave for reduced power consumption.

Fortunately, the new mid-range chipset inherits the FastConnect 7800 wireless connectivity suite from the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. This means we’ve got Wi-Fi 7 support with HBS Multi-Link as well as Bluetooth 5.4 capabilities.

Other notable features include a claimed 5% overall power savings, Snapdragon Seamless support, support for LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 4.0 storage, and Spatial Audio capabilities.

What about Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3 phones?

One of the biggest issues with last year’s Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2 was that only two phones actually used the chip (one phone if we don’t count rebrands). Thankfully, that seems to be changing with the Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3.

Qualcomm says OEMs such as OnePlus, realme, and Sharp will use the new chipset in the coming months. We won’t have to wait that long, though, as OnePlus has already confirmed that the OnePlus Ace 3V will launch in China on March 21.

We asked Qualcomm whether any phones with this chipset will be coming to the US, but it would only say that the Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3 is a “global chipset.” That’s still encouraging news for users in Europe, India, and several other markets outside China.

The company also told us that it expects Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 3 phones to retail for $400 to $600. This makes sense in light of the chipmaker previously saying that it expects phones powered by the more premium Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 to range from $500 to $800.