Qualcomm introduces Snapdragon 786G for better mid-tier phone performance

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Qualcomm teams with Imint to improve chipset video capabilities.
Image: Qualcomm

Consumers have a wide variety of choices when it comes to smartphones. From $1,000 flagship models to budget devices from the same manufacturers and everything in between. Often, mid-tier phones are equipped with hardware from a previous generation’s flagship devices. However, dedicated chips for this segment help improve performance and decrease costs.

On Sunday, Qualcomm introduced its new Snapdragon 786G. The chip is specifically designed for mid-tier, non-flagship phones. It is an upgrade over last year’s Snapdragon 765G and should offer solid performance in a wide range of models.

Snapdragon 786G Specs

Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon processor is “designed to bring next-level performance that enables smart, immersive gaming experiences with the integration of truly global 5G.”

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Focusing on those two features is wise considering that they are two of the trendiest advances in the tech space. The current generation of smartphones is the first to widely support faster 5G networks. Meanwhile, mobile gaming is taking off like never before.

While the new chip isn’t the fastest, it can hold its own. The Snapdragon 786G has a 2.8GHz clock speed. That’s a slight increase over the 765G which was released last year. Qualcomm says that the new chip offers “up to 15 percent performance improvement” over its predecessor.

Like the older chip, the 786G features Qualcomm’s X52 integrated modem. This allows it to tap into low-band, mid-band, and millimeter-wave 5G. As of now, it appears that mobile carriers (at least in the United States) are taking different approaches to set up their networks. The ability to connect to every type of 5G makes the Snapdragon 786G versatile—a feature that will serve it well in the mid-range smartphone market.

The chip facilitates respectable download speeds over 5G. It tops out at 3.7 gigabits per second on 5G and hits 1.2Gbps on a 4G LTE connection.

Focus on Gaming

A neat aspect of Qualcomm’s line of mobile processors is its Snapdragon Elite Gaming features. They optimize smartphone gaming by enabling smoother play, better detail, and enhanced colors. The 786G specifically supports true 10-bit HDR for crystal clear pictures that make the most of a display.

Qualcomm notes that its newest chip also supports displays with a 120Hz refresh rate. That spec has quickly become a buzz word in 2020. Both Samsung’s Galaxy S20 lineup and the OnePlus 8 Pro feature the smoother display. Recent rumors also suggest that Apple is working to add the feature to its iPhones slated to launch this fall.

The ability to support a 120Hz refresh rate is noteworthy for the 786G. Although mobile chips are rarely used for more than one or two generations, Qualcomm’s latest processor could have a longer life than other mid-tier chips.

By focusing on what consumers want right now—and the features they’ll expect in the future—the Snapdragon 786G seems poised for success.

The first phone to include the new chip is Xiaomi’s Redmi K30 Racing Edition. It was also announced on Monday and will go on sale in China for $280.

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