Qualcomm discusses benefits of the new Snapdragon 821 processor at IFA

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Asus' ZenFone 3 is already confirmed as the first recipient of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 chip, which should be considered a mid-term bump to the ubiquitous Snapdragon 820. Announced last month, Qualcomm has seized the opportunity to share a few more details at the IFA trade show in Berlin.

As noted before now, the chip is still a quad-core offering, but Qualcomm has boosted clock speeds with the Snapdragon 821. High performance cores max out at 2.4 GHz versus 2.2 GHz with the 820, while the economic cores see a welcome bump from 1.6 GHz to 2 GHz. According to Qualcomm, the new silicon offers a 10 percent speed increase, and thanks to its more efficient nature, your battery should last around 5 percent longer. 

Apps loading times should reap the benefits of the ten percent speed bump with the new chip which, perhaps obviously, has been optimized for the latest Android 7.0 Nougat. Adreno graphics performance is up by five percent, which is good news for gamers and VR enthusiasts. Speaking of which, Qualcomm also mentions the 821's compatibility with the Google Daydream virtual reality system, though this isn't too much of a surprise given that the current Snapdragon 820 is, too. 

For the camera-savvy, there's Dual PDAF (phase detection auto-focus) support, which means auto-focus will be a tad more responsive in less-than-ideal environments. Point-and-shoot aficionados should also enjoy the Extended Laser Auto-Focus Ranging support, which enhances focus on distant subjects. 

Looking at the Snapdragon 821's numbers, it's all shaping up rather nicely, provided there's no repeat of the shenanigans that afflicted last year's Snapdragon 810. With Qualcomm having seemingly addressed all major issues with the Snapdragon 820, we're not expecting such drama this time around, but instead, a host of powerful new handsets spearheaded by the ZenFone 3

With a few days to run at IFA and plenty of companies still to announce their new gear, here's hoping we see a device or two bearing the latest fruits of Qualcomm's labor. 

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38 Comments

1. Youraveragejoe

Posts: 134; Member since: Oct 31, 2014

This is like snapdragon 800 & 801

15. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

F*** them for not updating drivers to allow Android Nougat.... greedy a**holes

19. sgodsell

Posts: 7369; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Two things in regards to the 800 and 801. They are 32 bit where as everything 64 bit now. I know that is a lame excuse for some, but 64 bit is on every flagship device now. The other thing is the GPU cannot handle Vulcan API's, so no Daydream and it will perform slow when it comes to VR in general. It's not like you can't find an inexpensive SD 820 device running one of the later versions of Android. Move along.

22. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

good to know... but still, do you speak for everybody internationally? cause in my third world country there aren't many choices anyway... Eventually I will still end up buying a QC device but I am still a bit angry that OEM are willing to update, but then component manufacturers are not.

23. jove39

Posts: 2146; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

32 bit is not limitation to churn out drivers for Android 7.0. And S800/801 are way better than any other 64bit soc in S2xx, S4xx and S6xx category. "...GPU cannot handle Vulcan API..." Android 7.0 has only addded support for vulcan, didn't removed support for previous open gl version. My OnePlus One (secondary device) is still rocking...and it's certainly capable of handling updates for couple of more years.

36. vincelongman

Posts: 5695; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Vulkan or OpenGL ES 3.1 is not a requirement of Nougat The General Mobile 4G has gotten Nougat yet it has the SD 410/Adreno 306, which doesnt support Vulkan or OpenGL ES 3.1 One theory is that its because that the SD800/801 don't support acclerated encryption But we wont know for sure unless details of the CCD or CTS become public (the CCD will probably be public soon, but I dont believe the CTS gets released)

20. willy.4

Posts: 72; Member since: Oct 14, 2015

Here's a link to the processors that will be updating to nougat...... Hope this helps out everyone.. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/technology/mobiles-and-tabs/270816/some-oneplus-xiaomi-samsung-mobiles-wont-get-android-nougat-report.html

21. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

And I hope this follows the footsteps of that. The 801 imo is their best with the 805, so I think be seeing greatness with this in phones like the new V20, Xiaomi and hopefully new Nexuses?

2. combatmedic870

Posts: 986; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

We can only hope. The 801 is one of the best they have produced. Any 2nd Gen of something will usual come ahead. Being better optimized ect...

14. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

My oneplus 3 got 1720 in single core and 4050 in multi core. The score got reduced due to the memory test getting removed from the CPU test.

28. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

thats Reddit is a joke. They took the worst SD820 device on the market ( Samsung S7 ) wich we all know is badly optimised. Just done the test and i got 1834/4561 Also geekbench is not thats neutral in test the result change too much from one version to another so its look really fishy.

33. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

There is no way you got 1834/4561 with SD820. Obviously the scores change every version since the baseline as well as the tests change.

34. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

Here are the scores I got for the G5 from the official page: https://browser.primatelabs.com/v4/cpu/41667 https://browser.primatelabs.com/v4/cpu/41600 https://browser.primatelabs.com/v4/cpu/41600 Oneplus 3 is the best performing 820 device by far and even it can't break 4200. There is no way your or anyone else's G5 got anywhere near 4500. G5 barely breaks 4000 hardly.

37. vincelongman

Posts: 5695; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Is that surprising? The 820 has 2 "big" Kryo cores and 2 "LITTLE" Kryo cores The 652 has 4 "big" A72 cores and 4 "LITTLE" A53 cores So its no surprise the 652 beat the 820 in multicore

3. AgentZero

Posts: 314; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

if it really offers 10 % better battery then OEMs should jump on this ASAP

5. Unordinary unregistered

10% is yuge! A welcome benefitial hardware upgrade if true

6. AgentZero

Posts: 314; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

yep if the V20 has a 4000MAH battery and the new nexus has 3450 mah and they use it then the battery life will be fantastic

7. Scott93274

Posts: 6034; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

It would be even better if Google fixed Doze.... sorry just venting. But yeah, exciting stuff. I won't be getting a phone with this particular processor, but maybe the generation after that. I just hope they keep aiming for power efficiency.

11. Unordinary unregistered

Exactly. Batteries keep getting bigger and more features keep coming. Nothing changes. Efficiency is the way to go here.

13. Scott93274

Posts: 6034; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Maybe this will be an unpopular opinion, but I'm perfectly content with my year old Nexus's speed. I'm not a gamer so I don't worry about the absolutely fastest processor on the market, I wouldn't mind it if for a couple years, chip makers would focus entirely on efficiency and less on speed. I would rather have a phone that lasts an extra hour or two VS one that opens up an app 26 ms faster than the previous model. Efficiency is most definitely the area that'll benefit the end user the most.

16. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I prefere speed. All the phones get you through the day; some with 15% battery left, some with 40%, but you still have to charge them for the next day. So,they might as well be fast.

17. AgentZero

Posts: 314; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

i support that , i like having the latest specs but i think mobile processors are fast enough right now , we need bigger batteries and more efficiency

29. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

I beleive the CPU part is fast enuf yes. GPU always need to be faster but would be nice to have them in a big little architecture ( one big GPU for gaming and VR one smaller for UI ect ) This would be the road to go.

27. DoggyDangerous

Posts: 1028; Member since: Aug 28, 2015

4000mah from lg? Impossible.

32. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

The article says 5% increase in battery life not 10%

38. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

10% doesn't make a significant impact. Literally in noticeable.

8. redbaronk12

Posts: 99; Member since: Dec 14, 2013

10% speed improvement, 5% battery improvement

9. torr310

Posts: 1659; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

The S820 still runs hot. How do they manage to overclock the same chip without making it hotter? S821 = 10% hotter than S820?

12. Gatorsrule52

Posts: 103; Member since: Mar 18, 2013

Not really. It gets warm like every other Qualcomm chip. They likely improved the process and increased efficiency within the chip and then overclocked it.

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