Qualcomm’s faster Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is coming to Android phones in 2023

The chip is promising 35 percent faster performance, better AI, improved pictures, dynamic spatial audio, and Wi-Fi 7.

Qualcomm just announced its next flagship processor. The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 was revealed during the company’s annual Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii, and it’s the chip that you’ll find in a lot of flagship phones come 2023. And like the past few flagship Snapdragon processors (including the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1), this one doesn’t make any crazy leaps in performance or efficiency, but the improvements are notable and appreciated.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is here

  • Qualcomm’s latest flagship chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, has arrived.
  • It’s not a huge leap forward for Qualcomm and its processors, but there is a decent mix of new features and performance improvements like a 35 percent faster CPU, 45 percent better graphics, and over four times faster AI.
  • The first devices to ship with the new processor will arrive by the end of the year.
Close up of new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor
A closer look at the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 from Qualcomm. | Photo: Qualcomm

The big focus of the new chip is artificial intelligence, which Qualcomm says will have most notable performance boost. The company says the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will feature up to 4.35x faster AI performance thanks to a new AI Engine that uses a tensor accelerator that’s twice as large as before. It’s coupled with a dedicated power delivery system that allows the engine to integrate with the rest of the chip’s components while increasing performance pet watt and lowering latency.

The 4nm chip uses an octa-core Kryo CPU, consisting of a new primary 3.2GHz Arm Cortex X3, four 2.8GHz “performance” cores, and three 2.0GHz “efficiency” cores. Together, the upgraded CPU should be up to 35 percent faster than the 8 Gen 1. Meanwhile, the upgraded Adreno GPU onboard should be 25 percent faster. Both the CPU and GPU will also be more efficient, with 40 percent better power management for the former and 45 percent for the latter.

Qualcomm’s camera technology is also seeing upgrades with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The Spectra Image Signal Processor has been rebranded to Cognitive ISP, and it has a couple of nice upgrades in tow. It’s now capable of using real-time semantic segmentation for both photos and videos, which means it can identify different subjects in the frame and apply appropriate levles of tuning to each for a more balanced image. There’s also support for new camera sensors from Sony and – most notably – Samsung, like its 200MP ISOCELL HP3 which is rumored to make its way into the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also includes a new OLED Aging Compensation feature which should help displays avoid burin-in issues down the road. The chip packs Wi-Fi 7 support (not really a big deal now, but important for future-proofing), dual-Bluetooth connectivity, faster 5G performance thanks to the new X70 modem, support for two active 5G SIMs, and a rebranded “always sensing” feature that can – for example – detect your presence and hide your notifications when you’re not looking at your phone.

The new processor also has support for dynamic spatial audio, which can track your head movements and keep audio in the same place. You’ll need headphones that support the technology in order to get it to work, but since it’s on the rise in popularity, you probably won’t have a hard time finding a pair.

Qualcomm confirmed that the first devices to ship with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will appear by the end of the year. The list of companies that are promising to ship a phone with the chip inside is pretty lengthy. It includes OnePlus, Motorola, Sony, Asus ROG, Redmi, Oppo, Nubia, iQOO, Redmagic, Sharp, Vivo, Xiaomi, ZTE, and Meizu. Oddly enough, Samsung isn’t on that list, but all signs point to the S23 series boasting the chip come early next year.