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Qualcomm Snapdragon 678 looks an underwhelming mid-range update

Qualcomm has announced the new Snapdragon 678 processor, which is the successor to the mid-range Snapdragon 675 family of chips, but not a big stride forward.

The overdue update to 2018’s chipset seems to be a pretty modest upgrade overall, deploying the same Kyro 460 CPU and Adreno 612 GPU components. There are some clocking improvements, which boosts the CPU to 2.2GHz, up from 2.0GHz on its predecessor. On the GPU front, the Adreno 612 doesn’t have any improvements on the face of things, but Qualcomm simply says there’s a “performance increase” without elaborating.

Qualcomm reckons the CPU/GPU pairing will provide solid performance for gaming with “faster graphics rendering, allowing for sharp, life-like visuals at high framerates with fewer frame drops.” It also offers support for Unity, Messiah, NeoX, and Unreal Engine 4.

There’s no boost from 4G to 5G though, as the SoC offers Snapdragon X12 LTE modem which maxes out at 600Mbps downloads and 150Mbps uploads. As for cameras, the chipset can support HD 4K video with recording, 5x optical zoom, and dual-camera support up to 16-megapixels.

Related: Best Android phone 2020

Given the Snapdragon 700 Series has become the go-to for mid-range phones, it’s not clear how many popular phones will be running the Snapdragon 678 processor in 2021.

The new Google Pixel 4a 5G, for example, is powered by the Snapdragon 765G chipset which provides access to next-gen connectivity while keeping the price tag down. Next year we expect the majority of top Android devices to arrive packing the eagerly-awaited Snapdragon 888, including the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S21 series.

Kedar Kondap, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc, says: “We are uniquely positioned to support OEMs in delivering the next generation of devices with in-demand features and performance. Snapdragon 678 brings in-demand mobile capabilities for daily entertainment at lightning-fast speeds over reliable connections and long-lasting battery life for consumers worldwide.”