The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is official and promises various improvements in performance for devices like smartphones, as well as a number of new features. Here’s everything you need to know including release date and full specs. 

As expected, Qualcomm has unveiled the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform at its Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii. Luckily we’re not under embargo until January this year.

Although the Snapdragon 835 is still a perfectly good SoC (system on a chip), consumers always want more. Its successor is on the way so can it beat the likes of the Apple A11 Bionic and Huawei's Kirin 970?

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 release date

Now the Snapdragon 845 is official, it's no surprise that we have a better idea of when devices will arrive with the new processor.

Qualcomm said at the summit that we can expect to see devices running on Snapdragon 845 'early 2018'. So we could see some, including smartphones, as early as CES in just a few weeks.

What devices will have Snapdragon 845?

The 845 is for more than just phones, and this time it will cover even more device categories. Qualcomm said we can expect to see it in smartphones, XR (extended reality) headsets and always connected PCs, among others.

Xiaomi has already confirmed that it will be launching a flagship phone with the 845 and we're expecting Windows 10 devices powered by the 845 sometime in 2018. Find out about Window 10 running on Snapdragon including the first devices.

Snapdragon Summit

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 specs and features

As usual, Qualcomm has split the Snapdragon 845 into five key areas, or pillars so here they are and what they mean for upcoming devices with the processor.

Performance

The headline specs for the Snapdragon 845 are as follows: It’s a quad-core processor and is made with a 2nd-generation 10nm process, once again with Samsung.

Whether or not the firm gets first dibs for the upcoming Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus remains to be seen.

The 845 has four performance cores that clock up to 2.8GHz, offering up to 30 percent gain. There are four efficiency cores that go up to 1.5GHz, with up to 15 percent performance gain.

Overall, we’re looking at a 30 percent reduction in power for things like video capture and gaming. Meanwhile, it offers a 25 percent gain for gaming, launch times and more. 

The former means better battery life and Qualcomm says devices with the 845 will offer multi-day usage. You’ll get 4+ hours of 4K video capture 3+ hours of VR and 2+ days of Ultra HD Voice.

Immersion

This is the key pillar for Qualcomm and hinges around the Adreno 630 GPU and Spectra 280 ISP. The former is a brand new subsystem and brings up to 30 percent better performance and the same in power efficiency compared to the 835.

Qualcomm promises better image capture, particularly as you’ll be able to capture Ultra HD Premium video, not just play it back. Going deeper, colour volume, gamut and luminance are all improved – up to 64x - so images will look more vivid and real.

The firm believes that devices with Snapdragon 845 will hit DXO Mobile scores of 100+. 

There’s also better XR (eXtended Reality) thanks to 2K per eye at 120fps and, for the first time, six degrees of freedom with simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM).

AI

Artificial intelligence is everywhere these days and it’s a key focus for the 845, with Qualcomm now on its 3rd-generation of AI platform.

The firm is touting three times the performance compared to the 835 with lower latency, improved privacy and better reliability. This will mean using digital assistants will be faster, more accurate and more natural.

This is thanks, in part, to the Aqstic Audio part of the chip. Qualcomm said it will transform “your mobile device into the ultimate personal assistant; simplifying how you take pictures and videos; enhancing your VR games, and making voice interaction natural.”

Connectivity

When it comes to connectivity, things can never be good enough but the X20 LTE modem on the 845 bring improvements.

It offers multi-gigabit Wi-Fi and can achieve a peak speed of 1.2Gbps with Cat 18 LTE. This means a 20 percent gain on the previous X16 modem and you’ll be able to download a 3GB movie in less than three minutes.

Qualcomm has also made other improvements including Dual SIM VoLTE, 5x carrier aggregation and 4x4 MIMO. 

Bluetooth 5.0 is even better with the ability to connect directly to multiple devices simultaneously. That includes wireless earbuds rather than one relaying information to the other so can reduce power consumption by up to 50 percent.

Security

Last but not least is security and the Snapdragon 845 has new secure processing unit.

This has its own micro-processor, memory, power island and random number generator to improve security on devices. Qualcomm describes it as ‘vault-like’.

“Doing so makes it possible for improved biometrics security used for authentication, as well as user or application data key management used to encrypt critical information,” said Qualcomm.

Snapdragon 845 specs

Snapdragon 845 full specifications

Qualcomm Spectra 280 ISP

  • Ultra HD premium capture
  • Qualcomm Spectra Module Program, featuring Active Depth Sensing
  • MCTF video capture
  • Multi-frame noise reduction
  • High performance capture up to 16MP @60fps
  • Slow motion video capture (720p @480 fps)
  • ImMotion computational photography

Adreno 630 Visual Processing Subsystem

  • 30% improved graphics/video rendering and power reduction compared to previous generation
  • Room-scale 6 DoF with SLAM
  • Adreno foveation, featuring tile rendering, eye tracking, multiView rendering, fine grain preemption
  • 2K x 2K @120Hz, for 2.5x faster display throughput
  • Improved 6DoF with hand-tracking and controller support

Qualcomm Hexagon 685 DSP

  • 3rd Generation Hexagon Vector DSP (HVX) for AI and imaging
  • 3rd Generation Qualcomm All-Ways AwareTM Sensor Hub
  • Hexagon scalar DSP for audio

Snapdragon X20 LTE Modem

  • Support for 1.2Gbps Gigabit LTE Category 18
  • License Assisted Access (LAA)
  • Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) shared radio spectrum
  • Dual SIM-Dual VoLTE (DSDV)

Connectivity

  • Multigigabit 11ad Wi-Fi with diversity module
  • Integrated 2x2 11ac Wi-Fi with Dual Band Simultaneous (DBS) support
  • 11k/r/v: Carrier Wi-Fi enhanced mobility, fast acquisition and congestion mitigation
  • Bluetooth 5 with proprietary enhancements for ultra-low power wireless ear bud support and direct audio broadcast to multiple devices

Secure Processing Unit

  • Biometric authentication (fingerprint, iris, voice, face)
  • User and app data protection
  • Integrated use-cases such as integrated SIM, Payments, and more

Qualcomm Aqstic Audio

  • Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec(WCD934x):

Playback:

  • Dynamic range: 130dB, THD+N: -109dB
  • Native DSD support (DSD64/DSD128), PCM up to 384kHz/32bit
  • Low power voice activation: 0.65mA

Record:

  • Dynamic range: 109dB, THD+N: -103dB
  • Sampling: Up to 192kHz/24bit

Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+

Kryo 385 CPU

  • Four performance cores up to 2.8GHz (25 percent performance uplift compared to previous generation)
  • Four efficiency cores up to 1.8GHz
  • 2MB shared L3 cache (new)
  • 3MB system cache (new)

10-nanometer (nm) LPP FinFET process technology