Snapdragon 480 Introduces 5G to the Lower Mid-Range

By Bill Toulas / January 5, 2021

The Snapdragon 4 series has always been about cutting on the cost while still being in a position to offer a good enough smartphone experience. That is to pack enough power and camera capabilities, as well as to include a comprehensive set on the aspect of connectivity tech.

As we enter into 2021, 5G tech will be included in this set, as the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 will come with an X51 5G Modem-RF unit, supporting mmWave and sub-6 GHz 5G connectivity full with Time Division Duplexing (TDD), Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD), and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS).

Since the new 480 sits at the top of the series, it offers the most advanced capabilities, as well as the most power. So in the chip department, we have an 8nm CPU featuring eight Kryo 460 cores clocked at 2.0 GHz and an Adreno 619 GPU for the graphics. That’s enough power to support a 120 fps FHD+ display, which was reserved for flagship-level devices until very recently.

In the camera department, we have the Qualcomm Spectra 345 ISP, which is a triple ISP, allowing the simultaneous capturing of 13MP photos or 720p videos. Again, the triple ISP system is something that we saw for the first time in Snapdragon 888, and it’s amazing to see it land on the 480, even if it’s for lower resolutions.

Also, in the battery sector, there’s support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4+, which is not the latest available tech, but it’s still a lot better than the QC 3.0 used on the rest of the 4-series range. Finally, the Hexagon 686 AI unit promises 70% better AI performance compared to the previous generation while keeping the energy consumption frugal.

Then there are a couple of key connectivity features like support for WiFi 6 through dual antennas, Bluetooth 5.1, etc., but the main thing here is the presence of full-spectrum support for 5G connectivity. It is what brings the next-gen tech to really affordable devices and, by extension, to a greater number of consumers out there. With Snapdragon 480, Qualcomm is leaving behind the age when 5G was considered a “tout” feature and is putting it as a “standard” element of the modern smartphone.

Speaking of which, Nokia will be among the first to launch a device with the new Snapdragon 480, and so are OnePlus and OPPO. All three have confirmed that in Qualcomm’s announcement, so it’s going to be great to see some cost-conscious implementations from them. However, no dates or model names were mentioned, so we may have to wait for a while.

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