Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 revealed with big focus on camera, battery life and security

At its annual tech summit in Hawaii, Qualcomm has just unveiled the next iteration of its mobile platform.

If you’ve picked up a flagship phones from the likes of Google, Samsung or HTC in 2017 then the likelihood is that it’ll be powered by the Snapdragon 835 mobile platform – now Qualcomm has unveiled its successor.

The Snapdragon 845 will likely feature in the big phones of 2018 and below you’ll find some of the best improvements.

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Improved camera with single-sensor bokeh 

Qualcomm spent a lot of the time during the announcement of the Snapdragon 845 talking up how it’s going to improve the photos taken by smartphones that use it.

The 845 supports single-sensor bokeh – just like the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL – giving you that shallow depth of field effect without needing two sensors on the back of the phone. We’ve already seen how well the Pixel 2 captures the bokeh effect, so it’ll be interesting to see how well Qualcomm’s Spectra 280 ISP handles it.

Qualcomm also claimed that it hopes to power phones in 2018 that’ll break 100 point barrier in the DxOMark camera benchmarks.

Related: Best smartphones

Ultra HD Premium recording with 10-bit colour and HDR

Another big upgrade for the camera is full support for video recording at the Ultra HD Premium level – this means you’ll be able to capture high dynamic range, 4K footage at 60fps with 10-bit colour.

This wider colour depth and gamut will add much more lifelike colours of your videos and the demos we were shown on stage certainly seemed to show this. The Rec 20.20 colour gamut is supported, as is slow-motion capture at 480fps in 720p.

Better security for your biometrics and support for Face Unlock

Apple ditched the fingerprint scanner completely with the iPhone X and while Qualcomm clearly isn’t seeing this as the future for everyone yet, it’s still adding support for Face Unlock with the 845.

There’s also much improved security for all your biometrics – fingerprint, voice and iris – with a secure processing unit that’ll house all your data.

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Improved connectivity options

Inside the Snapdragon 845 is the new X20 LTE modem – this is the second-generation gigabit LTE modem from Qualcomm with a 20% increase in peak and real world performance.

There’s support for dual VoLTE sims in a single phone and Qualcomm has added some proprietary elements to Bluetooth 5 that’ll be able to send content to multiple devices. This should help battery life on truly-wireless earbuds, as it’ll be able to send the music to both earbuds rather than to a single one.  

Better battery life life and quicker charging

During the presentation Qualcomm said that the number one feature people want in their phones is good battery life. So, with the Snapdragon 845 it’s making some improvements to help endurance.

It didn’t go into much detail regarding the improvements, but it did claim the following:

  • Continuous UHD 4K capture video for 4+ hours
  • 3+ hours of continuous VR gameplay
  • 2+ days of Ultra HD Voice

There was also talk of Quick Charge 4, which was originally launched with the Snapdragon 835 last year. There hasn’t been much adoption of QC 4 yet, Razer Phone aside, but hopefully that’ll change in 2018. Qualcomm said you’ll be able to go from 0-50% with just a 15 minute charge and it’s a compatible superset of USB-C PD (power delivery) so you can use a supported charger to charge all your USB-C devices.

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Boost to graphical performance

Sitting inside the Snapdragon 845 platform is the next iteration of the Adreno GPU. The Adreno 630 offers 30% faster graphics and 30% greater power-efficiency, plus there’s support for all the latest Vulkan APIs.

There should also be a 20% boost to CPU power too, but we haven’t been able to really benchmark an 845 device yet and Qualcomm didn’t go into too much detail about the improvements here.

We’ll be bringing you more details from the Qualcomm Tech Summit, so stay tuned for more

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