Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 is here and it’s a graphic powerhouse

We already knew that Qualcomm’s forthcoming Snapdragon 821 processor was going to be faster than the Snapdragon 820 that powers many high-end phones currently available. But with Qualcomm releasing more details about the processor’s graphical prowess, we’re getting a better sense of what having a Snapdragon 821 inside will mean for the next generation of smartphones.

On Tuesday at IFA 2016, Qualcomm shared more details about the new flagship processor, which is the company’s fastest to date. It has a 10 percent faster CPU and 5 percent faster graphics processor than the Snapdragon 820, which is in top smartphones like LG’s G5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S7.  Apps loading times should reap the benefits of the ten percent speed bump with the new chip which, perhaps obviously, has been optimized for the latest Android 7.0 Nougat.

Also Read : Devices powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800/801 would not be updated to Android 7.0 nougat

Adreno graphics performance being  up by five percent should be good news for gamers and VR enthusiasts. Speaking of which, Qualcomm also mentions the 821’s compatibility with the Google Daydream virtual reality system, though this isn’t too much of a surprise given that the current Snapdragon 820 is, too. New UI optimizations also bring “smoother scrolling and more responsive browsing performance,” Qualcomm says.

We also get a GPU clock disclosure, with full details as seen below.

Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 821
CPU Perf Cluster 2x Kryo 2.15 GHz 2x Kryo 2.34 GHz
CPU Power Cluster 2x Kryo 1.59 GHz 2x Kryo 2.19 GHz
GPU Adreno 530 624 MHz Adreno 530 653 MHz

Interestingly enough, Qualcomm is also claiming a 5% bump in power efficiency, which sounds like it’s actually referring to platform power but could just be overall SoC efficiency. That would not only improve battery life, Qualcomm notes, but it would allow phone makers to continue shrinking the size of phones by using smaller-sized batteries.

For the camera-savvy, there’s Dual PDAF (phase detection auto-focus) support, which means auto-focus will be a tad more responsive in less-than-ideal environments. Point-and-shoot aficionados should also enjoy the Extended Laser Auto-Focus Ranging support, which enhances focus on distant subjects.

The Snapdragon 821 SoC is already shipping in devices like the ASUS ZenFone 3, so we shouldn’t be far off from seeing major launches using this SoC. It’s interesting to note here that last year we got details of Snapdragon 820 by September but we have yet to see what Qualcomm plans to launch for next year’s flagships. With IFA taking place in Berlin this week, we’re hoping a few other phone makers reveal plans that include this souped-up processor.

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