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Fast Charge: The Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2 is capable, but will any phones use it?

OPINION: Qualcomm has just lifted the lid on the upgraded Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2, the chipset that sits just below its flagship 8 Gen series. It sounds like a solid upgrade with some previously exclusive 8 Gen features trickling down to the slightly more affordable chipset, but the question is, will any manufacturers actually use it? I’m not so sure. 

Don’t get me wrong, my scepticism doesn’t come from the fact that it’s not a good chipset – quite the opposite actually. According to Qualcomm, the new Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2 boasts up to a 50% boost in performance compared to its predecessor with up to 2.91GHz clock speeds, a 2x boost to the Adreno GPU and a 13% boost to energy efficiency.

It’s also designed to keep cool under pressure, with claims of being able to deliver over 40 minutes of high-intensity gameplay without any kind of degradation in frame rate. Throw in features like aptX Lossless, auto variable rate shading and dual-SIM dual active capabilities previously exclusive to the top-end Snapdragon 8 Gen series, and you’ve got a solid mobile chipset.

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Instead, my concerns about widespread adoption come from the fact that the previous-gen Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 remained a niche chipset that made an appearance in very few phones. While it was used in a handful of China-only smartphones like the Xiaomi Civi 2, it really only made an appearance in the global market with the Xiaomi 12 Lite 5G NE and, most recently, the Xiaomi 13 Lite.  

That certainly doesn’t bode well for the upgraded Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2. But why aren’t manufacturers using it more often?

That’s a complicated question that’ll likely have a different answer depending on which brand you speak to, but in my mind, it’s down to a mix of pricing and branding.

Qualcomm sees the Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2 used in premium mid-range smartphones that cost between $400-600. The issue is that, at that price point, some manufacturers simply decide to opt for an older Snapdragon 8 Gen chipset. We’ve seen this with the likes of the $599 Realme GT 2 Pro

This not only performs better and has access to the full suite of premium 8 Gen features, but it also looks better to consumers as it was a chipset that was used in top-end flagships not that long ago.

Will that change with the Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2 in 2023? Possibly, but I do have my doubts. Qualcomm has confirmed that two phone partners are interested in using the new 7 Plus Gen 2 chipset in upcoming smartphones, but that pales in comparison to the suite of companies that commit to the top-end Snapdragon 8 Gen chipsets.

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