Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 brings hope to mid-tier 5G smartphones

The recently launched Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 is expected to power mid-tier smartphones with 5G capabilities.

The Snapdragon 690 is the first chipset in Qualcomm’s lineup that is geared towards the mid-tier market. It is also the company’s first mid-tier chipset to offer 5G capabilities. The first smartphones to use the chipset are expected to be released in the second half of this year.

A powerful and affordable chipset

The Snapdragon 690 is part of the 6-series family of chipsets. Some of its predecessors are at the heart of popular smartphone models like the Xiaomi A3 and Moto G8 Plus. The chipset is known for its affordability and its support for 5G networks.

Compared to its predecessor, the Snapdragon 675, the new chipset offers much more compute power. Qualcomm claims that the new chipset is up to 60% faster in terms of graphics performance compared to its predecessor.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Snapdragon 690 is its support for 5G. Currently, not many chipsets support this fledgling technology, and adoption is quite slow. Nevertheless, Qualcomm has the foresight to adopt this technology as an investment for the future.

One of the first smartphones to use the Snapdragon 690 is Nokia. The company recently confirmed that it is working on a new smartphone model that will use the chipset. The exact specs of the smartphone are still unknown, although the company confirmed that it would be a mid-tier device.

The Snapdragon 690 promises a lot of features. Among which is support for 4K HDR photos of up to 192 megapixels. The chipset is also capable of supporting 120Hz displays, making it a viable choice for gaming smartphones.

At the heart of the chipset is an octa-core Kryo 560 processor clocked at 2GHz. It has an Adreno 619L GPU to handle the graphics workload.

Ahead of its time

Following its launch, many tech experts criticize the Snapdragon 690 to be ahead of its time. For one, 5G user adoption is not that fast, and telecommunications companies are still struggling with it. The spread of the coronavirus is exacerbating this further.

Perhaps the most crucial mistake of the Snapdragon 690 is that it does not support the mmWave 5G spectrum. Telecommunication companies like Verizon and AT&T are building their infrastructure on this protocol. The chipset only supports sub-6Ghz 5G frequencies, which is slower compared to mmWave.

Despite its missteps, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 still shows a lot of promise. By bringing affordable 5G hardware to the mainstream, the chipset is sure to make some waves.

Image courtesy of Masaru Kamikura/Wikimedia Commons

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