Qualcomm has now unwrapped its Snapdragon 845 system-on-a-chip, which will most certainly be on nearly all flagship smartphones — and maybe even laptops — that'll be released soon.
The Snapdragon 845 directly follows this year's Snapdragon 835, which has been a ubiquitous component for 2017's crop of premium-tier flagships, several examples being the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and a ton of others.
Of course, the Snapdragon 845 isn't merely a processor, but a mixture of systems and components, including CPU, GPU, ISP, and DSP. What's more, the new and improved chip comes with the manufacturer's latest gigabit LTE and Wi-Fi modems.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Camera
The marquee feature is the ability to record 4K video in HDR quality at up to 60 fps. 4K has become a huge selling point in phones recently, with many, if not all, premium smartphones being able to record in that resolution.
The chip also offers slow-motion recording at 480 fps in 720p, but bump that up to 1080p and the framerate gets significantly lower, at 120 fps.
For still photos, the Snapdragon 845's image processing unit offers multiframe noise reduction on 16-megapixel images at 60 fps, and now supports 10-bit color depth, which represents 64 times as many color shades than the previous chip.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Graphics
Qualcomm promises 30 percent better graphics, 30 percent better battery efficiency, and a display throughput that's nearly thrice as fast as the previous chip.
It's big on VR as well. The Snapdragon 845 supports six degrees of freedom, or 6DOF, meaning it can map rooms in real time and incorporate that into virtual and augmented reality applications.
In addition, there's support for eye tracking, hand tracking, and foveated rendering, which is just a fancy term that means users will get more detail from the part of the screen they're looking at. Multiview rendering is also supported, which is yet another fancy term that simply means it'll be great at rendering graphics for each eye.
Because of these capabilities, Qualcomm isn't even calling the chip's Adreno 630 graphics unit as a GPU anymore, but rather a "Visual Processing Subsystem." Granted, these things aren't actually innovations because they've all been possible before, but it's still great that the Snapdragon 845 supports it right out of the box.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Great For Phones With No Headphone Jack
The Snapdragon 845 keeps up with the times. Because most flagships have increasingly been abandoning the headphone jack, Qualcomm's new chip has included a so-called TrueWireless Bluetooth 5 system, which allows pairing of multiple Bluetooth devices at the same time. Also, the company promises that there's a 50 percent improvement in terms of power consumption when pairing wireless headphones.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Availability
The Snapdragon 845 will start appearing in smartphones by 2018, in spring. It'll make its way to Windows 10 PCs by the end of the year.