Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 to bring enhanced AI, dual 20 MP camera support and X15 LTE modem on mid-range handsets

The new Qualcomm chipset shows an increasing focus on enabling AI features on mid-range smartphones.

Qualcomm has just announced the launch of a brand new mobile platform. Called the Snapdragon 710, the new platform is meant to bridge the gap between the flagship 800-series platform and the high-end 600 series platform.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chipset.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chipset.

AI: 2x the performance

Looking at the specs of the new platform, it’s immediately obvious that the new series is showing an increasing focus on enabling AI features on smartphones. Qualcomm notes that the 710 has 2x the AI processing capabilities of the previous 660 platform. The chip incorporates several new modules specifically for speeding up AI processing, including a new Hexagon 685 DSP, Spectra 250 ISP, Adreno 616 VPU.

And Kryo 360 CPU, all of which feature optimisations that enable faster and more efficient processing of AI workflows. Frameworks like Caffe2 and TensorFlow are natively supported and accelerated. Support for these frameworks means that features like video style transfer, Animoji, face unlock, object detection and more will run faster and more efficiently than on the previous 660 platform.

Connectivity: More efficiency

On the connectivity front, the 710 boats of an X15 LTE modem, which can offer a maximum bandwidth of 800 Mbps along with support for features like 4x4 MIMO for improving network quality. This is a significant bump over the 660’s X12 modem, which topped out at around 600 Mbps. According to Qualcomm, improvements in the X15 modem will also translate to about 2.5x improved performance in areas with poor signal quality.

The chip also supports features like 2x2 Wi-Fi (802.11 ac), Bluetooth 5.0 and Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo Technology.

Camera: All the bells and whistles, and then some

On the camera front, arguably the most important feature on a phone these days, things are getting very interesting.

The 710 series supports all the camera features that we’d expect from a flagship smartphone. Features like noise reduction, active depth sensing, slow-motion video, super-resolution, image stabilization and more are natively supported and hardware accelerated. Supported image resolution sees a bump to 32 MP on a single ISP and dual 20 MP units on dual ISP.

Notably, UHD video capture will consume 40 percent less power, which should help newer phones capture longer duration 4K video.

Multimedia: 1.07 billion colours, at 4K

The Snapdragon 710 series will now natively support 4K HDR playback. We’d like to point out that when Qualcomm is talking about HDR here, they’re referring to true, 10-bit HDR. Regular 8-bit displays are capable of displaying a maximum of 16.7 million colours.

The new Adreno 616 GPU is claimed to be 35 percent faster than that on the 660 and it natively supports Unreal Engine 4.1.2 and Unity 5.6 features. Again, this will translate to much-improved gaming performance at a lower performance cost. The 710 platform supports QHD+ displays.

The 8 cores of Snapdragon 710 chipset.

The 8 cores of Snapdragon 710 chipset.

Kryo 360 CPU: 8 cores of computing goodness

The Kryo 360 CPU features a slightly unusual design this time around. Normally, you’d find an 8-core CPU with 4 high-performance cores and 4 high-efficiency cores. With the 710 platform, Qualcomm has gone with a configuration that uses 2 high-performance cores (running at 2.2 GHz) and 6 high-efficiency cores (running at 1.7 GHz). Considering that the Kryo 360 is derived from the more powerful Kryo 385 design of Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 845 platform, we can surmise that the high-performance cores are modified ARM Cortex A75 cores and that the efficiency cores are modified ARM Cortex A55 cores.

The A75 and A55 are between 15 percent and 48 percent faster than their predecessors while still consuming the same amount of power. The A75 cores also sustain a higher load. Qualcomm’s modifications are sure to have extracted even more power/efficiency from these chips.

Battery life

The 10 nm manufacturing process and use of more modern ARM cores should result in a faster, more efficient platform when compared to its predecessor. Overall, Qualcomm is touting 40 percent reduction in power consumption in 4K video playback and gaming and a 20 percent reduction in power consumption when streaming. Simultaneously, Qualcomm says that we’ll see up to 25 improvements in tasks like web browsing, app launch, and other tasks.

The platform also supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4+ charging standard, which is capable of charging a phone to 50 percent within 15 minutes.

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