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Like traditional PCs and laptops, the processor is the digitally beating heart of mobile devices. "Each tier of Snapdragon processors is designed to give mobile users a perfect balance of power and efficiency. The result is a broad spectrum of mobile technology that is innovative enough to carry the name Snapdragon," says Qualcomm.
Read on to find out what Qualcomm's range of Snapdragon processors compare and offer. Plus find out which devices they are used in.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series
The Snapdragon 800 series is the top tier of Qualcomm's processors – effectively the flagship offering with the best performance and feature set. You'll find these processors in the more expensive phones and tablets on the market such as HTC One M9 and Sony Xperia Z5.
Qualcomm says: "Designed to enable premium tier mobile user experiences, the Snapdragon 800 series processors expand the possibilities of connected computing and empower manufacturers to deliver leading mobile experiences."
The 800 tier is at least quad-core, has at least Adreno 330 graphics and at least LPDDR3 memory.
Although some phones are still arriving to market with them, the Snapdragon 800, 801 and 805 are fairly old now and don't support 64-bit processing. While the Snapdragon 805 is rare (namely in the Nexus 6) and the 801 was the main flagship chip for 2014 flagship devices it's in devices such as the OnePlus X which has just launched.
Higher up the range and more recent is the Snapdragon 808 and 810. You'll find the former in phones like the LG G4 and the latter in many devices. Qualcomm has experienced some overheating issues with the 810 prompting a v2.1 edition as found in the OnePlus 2.
The Snapdragon 820 is the flagship processor for 2016 so we could see devices with it as early as CES in January. It offers twice the performance as previous generations and with better power efficiency, plus the Adreno 530 GPU, Hexagon 680 DSP and X12 LTE modem.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 series
Covering the mid-range is the Snapdragon 600 tier which is, as you might expect, above the 400 tier but below the 800 tier.
"Offering superior mobile user experiences ranging from 4K Ultra HD video capture and playback, advanced camera, multichannel audio and expanded connectivity options, Snapdragon 600 series processors are a natural fit for powerful and beautifully designed smartphones and tablets," explains Qualcomm.
With the Snapdragon 600 out-of-date and the 602A designed for the automotive industry, this leaves five other chips in the range with a slightly more confusing naming structure compared to the 800 range.
The Snapdragon 610, 615 and 616 are all chips from 2014 with the latter two being Qualcomm's first octa-core SoCs (system on a chip). You'll find the 615 in phones such as the HTC Desire 820 and Sony Xperia M4 Aqua.
Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 617, 618 and 620 are all 2015 chips with features such as the X8 LTE modem. The 617 added Quick Charging 3.0 while the other two offer Adreno 510 graphics and are either hexa- or octa-core. HTC's recently launched One A9 features the Snapdragon 617.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 series
Supplying entry-level devices is the Snapdragon 400 range. You'll mainly find these processors in budget smartphones and smartwatches, too.
Qualcomm said: "Snapdragon 400 series processors are designed to support the most popular smartphone features: comprehensive internet connections with 4G LTE-Advanced, cutting-edge camera technologies, Full HD displays, and high-fidelity audio."
Although it's been around for a long while, the Snapdragon 400 is still popping up in a number of devices – notably Android Wear smartwatches including the Huawei Watch and Motorola Moto 360 (2nd gen). There are various iterations offering up to quad-core with Adreno 305 graphics.
The Snapdragon 410 was Qualcomm's first 64-bit mobile SoC and features an Adreno 306 GPU, Cat 4 4G LTE and up to 13Mp cameras. This chip is found in devices including the Samsung Galaxy A3 and Motorola Moto G (3rd gen).
Announced early in 2015, the Snapdragon 415 is octa-core SoCs featuring eight ARM Cortex-A53 processor cores and Adreno 405 graphics. However, we've not seen it in any devices we've reviewed.
The most recent is the Snapdragon 430 which is also octa-core and features Quick Charge 3.0, Adreno 505 and the X6 LTE modem. Sampling availability is scheduled for 2016 so you can expect devices to arrive next year with this chip.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 series
The low-end 200 tier of Snapdragon processor is 'designed to make exceptional performance more accessible than ever'.
"Snapdragon 200 series processors are made to allow smooth navigation and switching between apps while supporting vibrant HD visuals and premium multichannel audio," explains Qualcomm.
Starting with the Snapdragon 200, it's a processor for even cheaper versions of budget phones such as the Moto E. You'll also find it in phones such as the Lumia 535 and Sony Xperia E1. The second generation Moto E also has it for the 3G-only model since the chip doesn't support 4G. The Snapdragon 208 is designed to add better 3G connectivity but isn’t found in any devices we’ve seen.
The Snapdragon 210 namely brings 4G LTE (Cat 4) but is only present in a handful of devices such as the HTC Desire 520 and Microsoft Lumia 550. Set to arrive in devices next year, the Snapdragon 212 bumps the processor speed up 1.3GHz.