Qualcomm unveils its first-ever 'Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders' (yes, really)
You know that supposed Snapdragon-branded phone Qualcomm and Asus have been working together on for at least the last few months? The first-of-its-kind device is now official, and believe it or not, it's called the "Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders." Also, it's set to cost a whopping $1,499 stateside.
In addition to that catchy name (snark, snark), the ultra-high-end handset obviously has a bunch of other things going for it to justify (at least in part) its extravagant price point. We're talking everything from a state-of-the-art Snapdragon 888 SoC to a hefty 16GB RAM, three top-shelf rear-facing shooters, 5G support, and a stunning 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2448 x 1080 pixels and 144Hz refresh rate technology.
Aren't you better off just buying the ROG Phone 5?
In case that sounds familiar, the Asus ROG Phone 5, which is targeted at the general hardcore mobile gaming community rather than "Snapdragon insiders", comes with an extremely similar spec sheet... at a much lower $999.99 MSRP.
Then again, there are some important differences you may want to note before writing Qualcomm's own-brand Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders off. For one thing, this bad boy can accommodate 512 gigs of data internally instead of "just" 256 while sadly still lacking a microSD card slot.
Asus ROG Phone 5
Secondly, that triple rear camera system is upgraded with a handy 8MP telephoto lens replacing the largely useless 5MP macro sensor on the back of the ROG Phone 5 and a seemingly better 12MP ultra-wide-angle shooter with f/2.2 aperture while the main 64MP cam goes unchanged.
Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, at least from Qualcomm's point of view, the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (come on, guys, the "DragonPhone" name was right there in front of you) integrates all of the semiconductor giant's latest and greatest technologies, which presumably no other mobile device on the market today does.
The beastly phone's "curated collection of Snapdragon experiences" includes Snapdragon Elite Gaming features for, well, elite gaming sessions, Snapdragon Sound technology for "true-to-life" audio delivered by both the handset's own dual stereo speakers and a premium pair of true wireless earbuds bundled in as standard, as well as a rear-mounted Gen 2 3D Sonic fingerprint sensor that almost feels like a downgrade compared to the ROG Phone 5's screen-embedded biometric authentication method.
Global 5G, not-so-global availability
On top of everything, the Asus-designed Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (oh, for crying out loud, let's just call it the Qualcomm DragonPhone) promises a "truly global" 5G experience, with the "fastest and most comprehensive" mobile connectivity allegedly available around the world, mmWave networks included.
That must be nice to hear for the five Verizon customers who can actually get decent 5G Ultra Wideband coverage and are also interested in this very unusual product and have fifteen hundred bucks to spend this summer.
Of course, we don't expect Qualcomm and Asus to make millions and millions of units, with the "limited-edition" device heading for the latter's official e-stores in countries like the US, UK, Japan, and South Korea at some point next month before eventually expanding to India as well.
The aforementioned $1,499 price will include a few premium extras, ranging from some no doubt expensive Master & Dynamic true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation functionality to a blazing fast 65W Qualcomm Quick Charge 5 power brick, a custom rubber bumper with "reinforced edge protection", and a couple of "enhanced" USB Type-C to C and Type-C to A cables.
Weirdly enough, the "DragonPhone" (now that's more like it!) lacks the ROG Phone 5's good old fashioned headphone jack while also downgrading its "cousin's" monstrous 6,000mAh battery capacity to a run-of-the-mill (by 2021 flagship standards) 4,000mAh.
All in all, this... thing is unlikely to make our list of the very best phones money can buy in 2021, but if you live, breathe, and dream Qualcomm stuff, it might be a good idea to join the Snapdragon Insider program to be notified first about the handset's impending (and limited) availability.