Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 goes official: 10% faster than 820, interim chip until next big chip


The Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 is real. After months of rumors and speculations about the chip that comes after the powerful and successful Snapdragon 820, today, Qualcomm has officially announced its existence.

Rather than replacing the current top-line Snapdragon 820 system chip, though, this new Snapdragon 821 is meant to serve as an interim solution before a next-generation chip that is coming in the future.

What are the improvements that come with the Snapdragon 821? It's still a quad-core chip, but it's also 10% faster, as Qualcomm has managed to boost clock speeds. Just like the 820, the new 821 features two high-performance Kryo CPU cores that run at a higher clock when that is needed, and two additional battery-savvy Kryo cores that run at a lower pace. And while on the 820, the high-performance cluster was clocked at up to 2.2GHz, on the 821, the clock speed goes up to 2.4GHz, while the battery-savvy cluster is bumped from 1.6GHz to 2GHz.

Qualcomm
Snapdragon 820
Qualcomm
Snapdragon 821
Process14 nm14 nm
Cores4x Kryo
(2x high-performance, 2x economical)
4x Kryo
(2x high-performance, 2x economical)
Clock speed
(for high-perf cores)
2.2 GHz2.4 GHz
Clock speed
(for economical cores)
1.6 GHz2 GHz
GPU624 MHz650 MHz
DevicesSamsung Galaxy S7 / S7 Edge (U.S.)
LG G5, HTC 10, OnePlus 3, etc
*Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Nexus phones (2016 edition)

Another slight, but still notable improvement in the Snapdragon 821 comes in its graphics chip. It is now clocked at a higher frequency, going up from 624MHz to 650MHz.


The U.S. version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is rumored to be one of the biggest launch platforms for the Snapdragon 821, but chances are that it will also power the two rumored new HTC-made Nexus phones. An interesting rumor is spreading about independent virtual reality headsets powered by the Snapdragon 821 as well.

Finally, the Snapdragon 821 release date is set for the second half of 2016, and that's when the majority of gadgets with it are expected to hit the market.

source: Qualcomm via AnandTech

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44 Comments

1. yann

Posts: 613; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

Just overclocked CPU and GPU. Nothing new.

5. tedkord

Posts: 17307; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

So?...

39. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

BTW according to Josh from AnandTech The 821's CPU is more like a homogeneous configuration The 820's was a much more asymmetric configuration i.e. the 821 is a "true" quad core with turbo boost, instead the being a "big.LITTLE-like" quad core like the 820 So that's actually a pretty big difference Will be interesting to see how the efficiency compares

6. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Pretty sure its something more not just that

16. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

It's just that. However, that's not very easy to achieve. This chip supposedly has much better yield and much less die errors compared to the 820. 10-20% higher clocks is no joke. The 821 to 820 is like 801 to 800. Since it's a higher quality chip, you can also expect cooler temps and better battery life compared to 820.

32. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Thats what i was going to say. Its better yield thats give it better thermal threshold so in the end its will throttle even less for overall better performance.

22. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Over clocked 820...nice

27. rick_mobile

Posts: 358; Member since: Dec 13, 2010

The 820 is a joke with battery life. Thats why I sold my s7 edge with snapdragon. Now it's overclocked... *facepalm*

30. hemedans

Posts: 755; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

its normal for samsung phone with sd soc to have worse batterylife, but in gsmarena test xiaomi mi5 has better batterylife than all variety of s6. sometime optimization can make difference

31. dmakun

Posts: 382; Member since: Jun 06, 2011

Mi5 is not quad HD screen though.

33. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

A test thats came out on PA not long ago proven how badly SD820 is optimised for power draw compared as on HTC 10 and LG G5. for the battery size HTC 10 and LG G5 get more battery life per MAH of the battery.

40. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

Yeah, but they still pale in comparison to the exynos. So there you go.

37. fyah_king unregistered

Something must be wrong with your s7 edge my battery life has been great!

29. combatmedic870

Posts: 984; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

It's a second gen 820. Can't complain about that. It's the the 800 vs the 801. The 801 was a better chip.

2. SuperAndroid507

Posts: 361; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

I think phonearena sent me to the reading room for using adblock, well I believe my commenting days here are over.

10. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

I was thinking the same. I wouldn't mind to make an exception for PA as they have to make money as well (besides the sponsoring they get from two well known brands), but the ads that pop up everywhere are so distracting and annoying that they force us to use adblock. But on the other hand, someone here has to represent the Xperia brand...

15. krystian

Posts: 423; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

Yah The site runs great but as soon as I remove adblock it starts to slow down because it's ad infested. Go to the page and look at how many ads adblock blocks. It's nuts.

44. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I can comment just fine on chrome using adblock but on Opera I can't. I'm sure it depends on which ad blocking extension you have. I would tell you which I have but I'm not sure that is a good idea lol, I have 3 but the others are disabled for this site because they don't allow me to comment. I'll shoot you an email if you want?

11. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

So.. its still a problem? :-/ several day ago I already post some tips for uBlock users on PC just disable cosmetic filtering (eye icon) and comment box will show up again (while ads still blocked)

12. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

I thought it was only issue on my phone

3. Supraman21

Posts: 467; Member since: Jun 09, 2010

That's pretty disappointing. I would rather have performance the same and power consumption dropping by 10% or more.

17. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

It's the same thing. You won't run at full speed all the time anyway. So when you're not using the CPU 100%, this chip will use less power than the 820 as the voltage will be lower to run at the same clock speed.

23. XaErO

Posts: 353; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

+1 here !! Clocking it higher is a good improvement but practically (real world usage) there will be almost negligible improvement from performance perspective .. It would be great if the manufacturers work on power consumption & sustained performance part of SOC rather than working on clocking it higher .. this really gives significant improvements in real world usage scenario ..

34. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Read Sarcastic_nerd reply. here an example with fictive number. if SOC A do 2 gigz per core using 100 MAH per min what happen if soc B do 2.2 gigz per core using 100 MAH per min. thats mean if its run at 2.0 gigz its will use 90 MAH only. So when your phone is not pushed to the max its will use less battery and same battery if used to the max.

41. XaErO

Posts: 353; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

I agree to you Man !! But the example you demonstrated work on a principle that's where it changes .. You are already assuming that both the SOC (SD820 & SD821) are drawing same amount of power while achieving these higher clock speeds. (Any proof for that ??) If these SOC are drawing same power then your example holds absolutely true .. However, it may not be the case. It is also very much possible that Qualcomm have now better managed heat dissipated from the SD821 SOC and hence achieving higher clock speeds (may be at an expense of slightly higher power draw than SD820) .. And this certainly does not indicates that this chip is drawing similar amount of power like what SD820 does. Beside, I'm open for an educative discussion here .. Please add your points, if you want !!

4. vuyonc

Posts: 1089; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

If it's the spiritual successor to the SD801 (where 2014 smartphones have better battery life than those of today's), that's good enough I guess.

7. Mxyzptlk unregistered

So that's it? Is this the only that matters now, which phone has the biggest benchmark numbers? All of that becomes irrelevant after real world use.

8. John-Knotts

Posts: 380; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Exactly. Suddenly everyone is a spec nerd over usability? Smh

9. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Easy there, Nancy !! No one said benchmark number only matters but it certainly is a good indicator of devices' performance before its released. If benchmark doesn't matter to you just don't read the article. Such a drama queen !!

19. John-Knotts

Posts: 380; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Silly conment. You can read an article and still voice concerns. What is this, Russia?

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