All the Jaw-Dropping Features Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Will Bring to Your Next Phone

Published on November 17, 2022

At this year’s Snapdragon Summit, Qualcomm will demonstrate the newest generation of its chips and the diversified areas of innovation they will enable in the mobile, automotive, audio, mixed reality, and other markets.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
(Image credit: Qualcomm)

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 was announced as part of the proceedings on the first day of the Summit, signifying the company’s next flagship mobile chip (one that will likely power the company’s next mobile devices).

This launch event was paid for by Qualcomm, but the views expressed are the independent opinions of the writer.

The fact that Qualcomm abandoned its triple-digit chipset naming convention last year may have already given some clues as to what the next one will be, and now we have confirmation on that front.

Qualcomm’s latest and greatest mobile SoC (system on chip) contains a multitude of improvements across its CPU architecture (a ‘prime’ core, supported by three performance cores and four efficiency cores), which, for those unfamiliar, might not seem like a major departure from its predecessor. Those areas include AI processing, gaming quality, image processing, connectivity, and power efficiency, which are all improved.

Skip the preliminaries

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 brings a lot to the table in terms of improvements, so what are they and why should you care enough to want to upgrade your phone to one that uses it?

What’s the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2?

It’s Qualcomm’s newest flagship mobile chipset.

When will the 8 Gen 2 launch?

Qualcomm estimates that consumers will be able to purchase phones powered by the 8 Gen 2 as early as December 2022. The majority of gadgets employing the chip will arrive in the first half of 2023.

How much does the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 cost?

Qualcomm provides the 8 Gen 2 to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) like Motorola, OnePlus, and Xiaomi straight, so the silicon is the only thing consumers have to pay for. The Snapdragon line’s latest iteration will probably power gadgets that need flagship pricing; something in the range of $800/$1M (£700/$1M).

Devices that can recognize what they see

The 8 Gen 2’s ‘Cognitive ISP’ is one of the most exciting improvements set to offer some of the most tangible benefits to users.

With real-time processing, this generation’s Spectra ISP (image signal processor) improves upon the image segmentation of its predecessor. It is a world-first from Qualcomm. Your device’s camera will be able to tell the difference between the ground and the sky, your cat from the bed it has chosen to lie down on, or the flower from the foliage around it, and apply color, tone, sharpness, and noise reduction algorithms at a pixel level to produce the best final picture.

What’s most exciting is that it can perform this level of real-time processing on both still and video images, displaying an accurate final image on the viewfinder with little delay. As a result, you will see and receive exactly what you expect after taking a photo or recording a video.

A stand-out-from-the-non-8-Gen-2-powered-competition feature that will undoubtedly help the next wave is what will certainly help the next wave stand out from the non-8-Gen-2-powered competition.

Better visuals for gaming, including ray tracing

Samsung’s own chip in 2021 was the only one of its kind to feature hardware-accelerated support (improvements in gaming graphics, reflections, soft shadows, and ambient occlusion).

Qualcomm wanted to address this with its next iteration, and sure enough, the 8 Gen 2 commits to delivering hardware-accelerated ray tracing on mobile; with confirmed partners such as Red Magic, which makes some of the best gaming hardware (Wright, 2019).

The Adreno 8 Gen 2 GPU promises 25% faster performance and up to 45% less power consumption, as well as new support for Vulkan 1.3, the Chinese ‘HDR Vivid’ standard, and an aging compensation feature for OLED displays.

Using less power, AI tasks can be performed in parallel more

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the rising star in mobile computing over the last few years, and that trend continues upwards with the 8 Gen 2.

The Hexagon Processor in the SoC is responsible for processing nearly every aspect of the device, and it’s getting an upgrade this generation that will make it even stronger. The Tensor accelerator is one of those elements, and it’s doubled in size to deliver some significant gains.

In addition to leveraging INT4 precision to deliver a 4.35x increase in performance when executing AI-powered tasks, the 8 Gen 2 is the first of its kind to do so; it enables 60% more AI-based activities to be carried out concurrently per watt.

According to Ziad Asghar—VP of Product Management at Qualcomm—the company is able to scale 32-bit processes down to 4-bit without compromising the data sets’ quality, which amounts to a 64x power reduction. That’s arcane wizardry if you ask me.

An upgraded Sensing Hub that is always on is what is being proposed

Modern phones can already assist us in converting the analog world into digital; the Sensing Hub within the 8 Gen 2, on the other hand, is designed to assist with such tasks. Its two AI processing cores provide up to twice the AI performance of the 8 Gen 1, in addition to 50% more memory than before.

The camera hub is great for scanning QR codes, detecting face proximity, recognizing faces, and even tracking eyes, all without having to open your device’s camera app.

Multiple OEM partners have been interested in the Sensing Hub’s ability to scan and action QR codes and the like, suggesting that the next generation of phones may have the ability to do so without even needing to be woken up or for specific apps to be open. Asghar confirmed this to TechRadar.

Qualcomm assures that the Sensing Hub doesn’t leak data, even though the device is always on.

5G and WiFi will be even faster and more flexible

The 8 Gen 2 supports up to 10Gbps down and 3.5Gbps up over 5G, as well as DSDA (Dual SIM Dual Active) for two 5G SIMs, dual-active. Furthermore, it has an AI processor to optimize cellular performance and conserve power. mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G, as before, are all supported.

In addition to being one of the first consumer silicon chips to support WiFi 7 bandwidth and speeds, the FastConnect 7800 inside the 8 Gen 2 is one of the first to support WiFi 6E; MediaTek’s newly unveiled Dimensity 9200 chipset is the only one to beat it.

Video streaming has become increasingly popular, and there is growing interest in cloud gaming and competitive mobile gaming. These upgrades are necessary to allow those experiences to continue evolving as a result.

Which devices will be powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 2?

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Despite a release date still being unconfirmed, Oppo is the first company to confirm that its next Find X-branded flagship Android phone (assumed to the series) will utilize the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, (Q Qualcomm detailed a number of partners at the chip’s announcement).

In the near future, Asus, Honor, Motorola, OnePlus, Sony, Vivo, Xiaomi, ZTE, and many other companies will release 8 Gen 2-enabled devices, but the order in which they do so is still unknown.

Alex became TechRadar’s Senior Phones Editor in June 2022, but he brings over a decade of experience to the position, with an emphasis on smartphones, tablets, and wearables. He has attended the launches of some of the most prominent mobile devices of the last decade, including keynotes hosted by the biggest brands. Alex has gathered his experience at some of the most renowned consumer technology publications, including GSMArena, TechAdvisor, and Trusted Reviews. He is waiting for the Pixel Watch to flourish and anticipates that foldable mobile phones will be much better in the near future.

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