Qualcomm Snapdragon has been the most popular and loved mobile processor lineup for quite some time now. Snapdragons are synonymous with the best mobile processors on the planet. Well, the beasts which run are daily drivers come in a myriad of forms and specifications. The different processors are a part of series, identified by the 3-digit codename, here we are going to unravel the differences and help you find out the best dragon for your pocket in the Snapdragon 600 series, the brand new & only member for the 700 series by the name Snapdragon 710, quite often found in mid-range smartphones.
The Snapdragon 625 and 626 are an older species, not so old from 2016, whereas Snapdragon 630 and 660 were announced in May 2017. The 626 was a minor increment over 625, while the 630 is here to take over the place of 626 in 2017. The Snapdragon 660 is Qualcomm’s 2017 answer to take over Snapdragon 653 and is the most powerful among the ones in consideration here. We have added details of Snapdragon 636 as well which just made its global debut with Redmi Note 5 Pro.
Without further delay, let’s take a look at the spec-sheet of all the processors in question.
|SoC||Snapdragon 625||Snapdragon 626||Snapdragon 630||Snapdragon 636||Snapdragon 660||Snapdragon 710|
|Manufacturing Process||14 nanometre||14 nanometre||14 nanometre||14 nanometre||14 nanometre||10 nanometre|
|8 x ARM Cortex-A53 upto 2.2 GHz||8 x ARM Cortex-A53 upto 2.2 GHz||4 x ARM Cortex A53 upto 2.2 GHz + 4 x ARM Cortex A53 upto 1.8 GHz||4x Kryo 260 @ 1.8GHz||4x Kryo 260 @2.2 GHz + 4x Kryo 260 @1.8GHz||2 x Kryo 360 @2.2 GHz + 6 x Kryo 360 @1.7 GHz|
|GPU||Adreno 506 Up to 650 MHz||Adreno 506 Up to 650 MHz||Adreno 508 Up to 850 MHz||Adreno 509||Adreno 512 (Vulkan API)||Adreno 616 (Vulkan API)|
|Modem||X9 LTE (Download: 300 Mbps, Upload: 150 Mbps)||X9 LTE (Download: 300 Mbps, Upload: 150 Mbps)||X12 LTE (Download: 600 Mbps, Upload: 150 Mbps)||X12 LTE (Download: 600 Mbps, Upload: 150 Mbps)||X12 LTE (Download: 600 Mbps, Upload: 150 Mbps)||X15 LTE (Download: 800 Mbps, Upload: 150 Mbps)|
|Display Support||Up to 1920 x 1200 @ 60 fps||Up to 1920 x 1200 @ 60 fps||Up to QXGA (2048 x 1536) @ 60 fps||Up to FHD+ (2160 x 1080) @ 60 fps||Up to WQXGA (2560 x 1600) @ 60 fps||Quad HD+|
|Video Capture and Playback||Up to 4K Ultra HD @ 30 fps||Up to 4K Ultra HD @ 30 fps||Up to 4K Ultra HD @ 30 fps, 1080p @ 120 fps||Up to 4K Ultra HD @ 30 fps, 1080p @ 120 fps||Up to 4K Ultra HD @ 30 fps, 1080p @120fps||Up to 4K Ultra HD @ 30 fps, 1080p @ 120 fps|
|Camera||Dual ISP (Image Signal Processor), Up to 24 MP||Dual ISP (Image Signal Processor), Up to 24 MP||Dual ISP + Qualcomm Spectra 160 ISP, Up to 24 MP||Dual ISP + Qualcomm Spectra 160 ISP, Up to 24 MP||Dual ISP + Qualcomm Spectra 160 ISP, Up to 24 MP||Dual ISP + Qualcomm Spectra 250 ISP, Up to 32 MP|
|Digital Signal Processor (DSP)||Qualcomm Hexagon 546||Qualcomm Hexagon 546||Qualcomm Hexagon 642||Qualcomm Hexagon 680||Qualcomm Hexagon 680||Qualcomm Hexagon 685|
|Wi - Fi||11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz) Up to 433 Mbps||11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz) Up to 433 Mbps||11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz) Up to 433 Mbps||11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz) Up to 867 Mbps||11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz) Up to 867 Mbps||11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz) Up to 867 Mbps|
|Bluetooth||4.1, BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy)||4.2, BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy)||5.0||5.0||5.0||5.0|
|RAM||LPDDR3 933 MHz||LPDDR3 933 MHz||Dual Channel LPDDR4 1333 MHz||Dual Channel LPDDR4/4x 1866 MHz||Dual Channel LPDDR4/4x 1866 MHz||Dual Channel LPDDR4/4x 1866 MHz|
|Storage||SD 3.0 and eMMC 5.1||SD 3.0 and eMMC 5.1||SD 3.0, eMMC 5.1 and UFS||SD 3.0, eMMC 5.1 and UFS||SD 3.0, eMMC 5.1 and UFS||SD 3.0, eMMC 5.1 and UFS|
|Charging||Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0||Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0||Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0||Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0||Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0||Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+|
In the memory department, Snapdragon 630 supports dual channel LPDDR4x RAM with up to 1333 MHz clock speed. In comparison, the Snapdragon 626 supports single channel LPDDR3 RAM running at up to 933 MHz. This means a lot in terms of App launching times and memory management. In simple words, Snapdragon 630 is far better and fluid at managing RAM.
For the first time, we find a flagship-grade Spectra 160 Image processor, previously found in Qualcomm flagships such as Snapdragon 820/821. A flagship-level camera quality in your mid-segment smartphone, How cool is that? That’s a big point in favour of Snapdragon 630, with far better optical zoom, hybrid auto-focus and superb Image processing skills. Snapdragon 630 also features Hexagon 642 DSP (Digital Signal Processor) bringing neural processing capabilities and a new feature ‘’All-Ways-Aware’ for greater sensor and multimedia performance.
Snapdragon 630 leaves no stone turned, with significant strides in the Storage department. The new dragon allows latest UFS memory modules, whereas the old one stops at SD 3.0 and eMMC v5.1. In plain english, this means faster app installation and smoother and more swifter response in memory I/O tasks. We heard I/O right, Snapdragon 630 doubles down on copy speed with upto 10 Gbps (all thanks to USB 3.1), while the 626 could only push upto 5 Gbps.
Cellular and Charging
Snapdragon 630 improves greatly over its predecessor in cellular modem too, showcasing X12 LTE modem, translating to support for download speed of upto 600 Mbps and upload speed of 150 Mbps, that’s a lot!
Image Source: Qualcomm
That’s not all folks, Quick Charge 4.0 is here and you definitely are in for the treat with Snapdragon 630. This means that you will get faster-charging speed with the 630. Qualcomm claims a battery life of 5 hours with just 5 minutes of charging a 2750mAh cell on the newer SoC.
Snapdragon 660 - The New Boss In 600 Series
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room (Sorry! The biggest dragon in the room indeed). The Snapdragon 660 is a successor to Snapdragon 653 from 2016. Snapdragon 660 was announced in May 2017, alongside the previously discussed Snapdragon 630. As the figures say, the Snapdragon 660 is the most powerful, latest and the greatest SOC among the ones under consideration here.
As with Snapdragon 626 and 630, Snapdragon 660 improves greatly over the 653. The first major change stemming from the manufacturing process. The Snapdragon 660 in developed using 14nm process, compared to 28nm in the case of 653. Secondly, Qualcomm has introduced all new Kryo 260 cores in Snapdragon 660, switching things up for the octa-core ARM Cortex-A72 and A53.
Qualcomm has sealed lips on exactly what goes into making these new Kryo 260 cores, my guess is that we’re looking at some similar stuff that was used for Kryo 280 cores, of course with some minor tweaks and customisations. What is for sure is that Kryo 260s are arranged in familiar octa-core arrangement with 4 cores running at 2.2 GHz and other 4 running at 1.8 Ghz. Each having 1 MB of L2 cache, total 8MB of L2 cache, that translates to super fast performance.
Image Source: Android Authority
Forgot the GPU? No, we haven’t (Or you may say, Qualcomm hasn’t), the Snapdragon 660 has been upgraded with a more powerful Adreno 512, up from the Adreno 510 seen in the 653, which not only grants 30% gains on graphics workloads but also boosts the CPU performance by 20%. Well, that’s for brotherhood :)
Of course, Qualcomm’s latest mobile platform wouldn’t be complete without a host of advancements. The 660 has the same X12 LTE cellular modem as in 630, Quick Charge 4 goes without a question. Bluetooth 5 and faster Wi-Fi with 11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz) Up to 867 Mbps. The same loved Spectra 160 Image signal Processor with Hexagon 642 DSP unit with All-Ways Aware technology as in Snapdragon 630.
It supports Type-C with compatibility for USB 3.1, that’s sweet. Don’t fret by technical jargon, For end customers like you and me, this means improved support for dual camera setup and advanced image processing capabilities, such as optical zoom and Clear Sight sensor arrangements, eye tracking, and depth mapping. Battery life has also received some extra attention, with Qualcomm suggesting that the 660 should grant users an extra 2 hours of battery life when compared to the 653.
If we pit Snapdragon 630 with 660, we find that other than core processing and computing power, the SOCs don’t differ by much. The differences however small they may seem, are pretty significant and make Snapdragon 660 leagues ahead of any budget segment SOC out there. With all of that intense computing and graphics horsepower, all thanks to new Kryo 260 setup and Adreno 512, the 660 blows all the competition away. With the Snapdragon 660, you get support for more features including 2x2 WiFi and eye tracking for iris scanners and the like. Camera functionality is also a step up, with support for optical zoom as well as noise reduction at night. It also allows for more camera features and effects, such as bokeh-style background blurring, Dual Pixel autofocus (found in the Galaxy S8, Moto G5 Plus and don’t forget Pixel 2) and improved video stabilization with EIS 3.0.
The world is shifting towards AI more and more. Qualcomm being at the heart of this revolution through its mobile processors understands and is increasing its focus on Machine learning and heterogeneous computing. Both of Qualcomm’s new platforms(Snapdragon 630 and 660) can be used with machine learning algorithms through the Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine SDK, which offers support for Caffe/Caffe2 and TensorFlow.
Redmi Note 4 was powered by Snapdragon 625 and Xiaomi’s latest Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with Snapdragon 636 and more smartphones from different manufacturers will be seen showcasing this mighty dragon very soon.
One more thing: Snapdragon 636
Snapdragon 636 just made its debut with Xiaomi's budget device: The Redmi Note 5 Pro (See review, ratings, pros cons of Note 5 Pro). Overall, the Snapdragon 636 is built on 14nm and is very similar to Snapdragon 660. You can call it a lower variant of Snapdragon 660 as well. Most of the specifications are same, the main difference is the clock frequency of Kyro cores and the GPU.
Snapdragon 636 packs an octa-core Kyro 260 CPU setup along with the Adreno 509 GPU. These cores are same as the ones on Snapdragon 660 but the GPU is different. While the Kyro 260 cores of the SD 660 runs at 2.2 GHz; that of the Snapdragon 636 are clocked a bit lower at 1.8 GHz. According to Qualcomm, Snapdragon 636 is 40% faster than Snapdragon 630. This is also visible in our benchmark score where 636 is showing 30-40% gains over 630.
SD636 is optimized for Full HD+ 18:9 displays which is expected as almost all latest phones are coming with an 18:9 display.
Coming to the video, the Snapdragon 636 can record and playback 4K Ultra HD videos at 30fps and 1080p at up to 120fps. In-Camera department, Snapdragon 636 comes with Qualcomm Spectra 160 ISP and supports up to 16 MP dual camera and 24 MP single camera this is again similar to what we saw on Snapdragon 660.
Connectivity-wise, the Snapdragon 636 is similar to Snapdragon 660 and is equipped with the X12 modem and can facilitate up to 600 Mbps download speed and 150 Mbps upload speed through cellular networks.
Snapdragon 636 supports up to 8 GB of LPDDR4 RAM clocked at 1333 MHz.
Snapdragon 710 - Great Things Aren’t Always Expensive
Just when you start to predict Qualcomm, the company outdoes Itself and we have a rather intriguing silicon to prove our case here. Qualcomm showed off Snapdragon 710 to the world a few months ago, the perfect yet inexpensive beast bridging the gap between the budget-strong Snapdragon 600 series and the flagship overkill grade 800 series. Snapdragon 710 stands as the first 700 series chip, and we are already wooed. It takes most of Its learnings and capabilities from Snapdragon 800 series found in high-end smartphones, the likes of which have been aggressing towards $1000 mark, more often than not but falls easy on the pocket, while this might have been a utopian dream for some, It is not anymore.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 can be cited as Snapdragon 845 lite version, with all the good parts. Snapdragon 660 - the best of Snapdragon 600 lineup is already a rock in the range with superb performance and cost efficiency, Snapdragon 710 takes it leaps forward. Coming to silicon and circuitry, Snapdragon 710 is fabricated using 10nm FinFET process, the same which the likes of Snapdragon 845 are done. This guarantees flagship grade quality, performance and power efficiency from initiation. The power-efficient architecture really shines out here, as the repercussions can be long-lived and greatly rendered like thermal efficiency or battery longevity.
The SoC comprises of an octa-core CPU composed using BIG. Little technology with 2 Kryo 360 Gold cores (clocked at 2.2 GHz) and another 6 Kryo 360 Silver cores (clocked at 1.7GHz). Kryo 360 Gold cores are actually Qualcomm’s magic wrap on ARM Cortex A75 cores meant to do all the heavy lifting, while the Kryo 360 Silver cores are derivatives of ARM Cortex A55 cores designed for power-efficient processing. This configuration allows Qualcomm to levy 30% uplift in performance while cutting power consumption by up to 40% compared to Snapdragon 660.
Moreover, gaming takes a new leap forward with Adreno 616 which in Qualcomm’s own words supports ‘lifelike visuals’ and ultra fluid gaming. Graphics rendering is faster, performant and efficient by a significant margin compared to the Snapdragon 600 contestants. Not only serious horsepower, thermal performance also takes a stride with Snapdragon 710’s GPU.
As image processing gets better than ever, Snapdragon 710 brings a whole lot of promises to the mid-range cameras, courtesy - Qualcomm 250 Spectra ISP (Image Signal Processor) which supports up to 32MP single sensor shooters and up to 20 MP each dual sensor cameras with almost no shutter lag and some top crop features like Hybrid AutoFocus and accelerated EIS and of course 10-bit HDR.
Flagship grade X15 LTE modem makes Its way into Snapdragon 710 with peak download speeds of up to 800Mbps and 150Mbps for uploads. Wi-Fi gets a makeover as well with Integrated 11ac Wi-Fi with speeds of up to 867Mbps, which is almost chilling to see in a mid-range SoC.
Qualcomm’s Hexagon 685 DSP (Digital Signal Processor) enables a whole new league of features along with Qualcomm All-Ways Aware technology. On the audio front, we see Qualcomm’s AptX and Aqstic technologies alleviating the audio output quality. On the charging and power frontier, Snapdragon 710 features the very favourite QuickCharge 4+ technology, capable of charging smartphones from 0 to 50% in just 15 minutes.
Qualcomm has been taking AI and Neural net support down to silicon as Snapdragon 710 supports almost all popular Machine learning frameworks like Tensorflow, Caffe, Caffe 2 etc. So, what you get is on-chip support for Machine learning tasks making a bold move in the mid-range.
In all, Snapdragon 710 is the ultimate embodiment of power at a significantly less price, so that the mid-range can be showered with flagship grade performance and features without raising the prices. Snapdragon 710 has not entered with full force into the market yet with just Xiaomi’s Mi 8 SE as the only smartphone with the new SoC. We expect to see a lot more devices featuring 710 in the upcoming future.
Antutu Benchmark Scores
GeekBench Scores(Single Core-Multi Core)
|Processor||Single Core||Multi Core|
So, in a nutshell, the rankings stand as:
Snapdragon 710 > Snapdragon 660 > Snapdragon 636 > Snapdragon 626 > Snapdragon 630 > Snapdragon 625
Snapdragon 710 > Snapdragon 660 > Snapdragon 636 > Snapdragon 630 > Snapdragon 626 = Snapdragon 625
Image Signal Processor (Camera & Video)
Snapdragon 710 > Snapdragon 660 = Snapdragon 636 > Snapdragon 630 > Snapdragon 626 = Snapdragon 625
Memory (RAM & Storage)
Snapdragon 710 = Snapdragon 660 = Snapdragon 636 > Snapdragon 630 > Snapdragon 626 = Snapdragon 625
Snapdragon 710 > Snapdragon 660 = Snapdragon 636 = Snapdragon 630 > Snapdragon 626 = Snapdragon 625
Snapdragon 710 > Snapdragon 660 > Snapdragon 636 > Snapdragon 630 > Snapdragon 626 ~= Snapdragon 625
On an ending note,Remember,
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