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Event Coverage

First Looks: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Processor

By Sidney Wong & Lionell Go Macahilig - 1 Jul 2013

First Looks: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Processors

Enter the New Snapdragon

Qualcomm demonstrated its Snapdragon 800 series processors at a workshop held in Beijing, China. As part of the workshop, Qualcomm provided the attending media delegates from Asia with smartphone and tablet prototypes that are powered by Snapdragon 800 processors.

Guests were treated to a gymnastics routine which also served as the subject of the Snapdragon 800 workshop's 4K Ultra HD video recording demonstration.

The prototype smartphones and tablets that were presented are noticeably bulkier than the commercial devices that use Snapdragon 800 processors. Nevertheless, the prototype devices adequately provided us a glimpse of the possible features that manufacturers may enable on the Snapdragon 800 processors. The prototype tablets that Qualcomm showed us are equipped with an HDMI, USB 3.0, and a regular SD slot, suggesting that these connectors can be supported on actual commercial tablets that will employ Snapdragon processors. In addition, the prototype tablets come with a dock in which an additional HDMI and LAN connectors are found.

 In this segment, the prototype tablet powered by a Snapdragon 800 processor shows the presence of four cores. While running the game "Epic Citadel", the tablet uses only one of its four cores.

Below are some additional photos.

Seen here is the prototype tablet's profile which is noticeably thicker than that of a commercially available tablet. It hosts an HDMI, USB 3.0, and an SD card slot.

The back of the tablet shows a 12-megapixel camera. It is docked on a platform that has a USB, HDMI, and a LAN connector.

Within, the prototype tablet employs a lithium ion battery module made by Samsung.

Here are the specifications.

  • Qualcomm MSM 8974 (Quad-core ARMv7 Processor) 2.26GHz Max.
  • 1080 x 1848 240dpi display
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 10058MB ROM (expanded via microSD)
  • 1864MB RAM
  • 13.1-megapixel main camera
  • 2.1-megapixel front camera
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean

Similar to the tablet, the prototype smartphone also sports a thick profile. From this angle, we can see the camera button, volume/zoom rocker, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0 connectors occupying the side.

This prototype smartphone is mounted on a tripod to demonstrate the device's 4K Ultra HD video recording capability.

In the case of the prototype smartphones, these handsets come with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connectors. They are also supplied with a volume adjustment rocker and two cameras. There is also a separate camera button which is not common among Android handsets. All prototype smartphones and tablets are preinstalled with Android OS.

Snapdragon 800 series processors are equipped with four cores. Through a demonstration, Qualcomm showed us that these four cores are not all used even if the processor is loaded with a task that is deemed intense. Running the game "Epic Citadel", for example, requires only one of the four cores of a Snapdragon 800 processor. Photo editing may require the usage of another core.

Devices that are powered by Snapdragon 800 series processors come with built-in image editor that can be maneuvered by means of finger gestures.

The folks at Qualcomm also demonstrated a photo editing application that is integrated to devices that are powered by Snapdragon 800 processors. The application allows users to crop, outline, and remove elements of a photo by just using a finger. When asked if the application is available on Google Play, Qualcomm representatives told us that it is not available for download and it is exclusive to devices that come with Snapdragon 800 processors.

Apart from demonstrating the features of Snapdragon 800 series processors, Qualcomm also showed us how these new chips fare in various benchmarks.

Quadrant Standard - The tablet powered by a Snapdragon 800 processor got a high score of 20808, which leads the current quad-core competition by huge margins. For example, the Snapdragon 600-powered ASUS PadFone Infinity, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 scored 11141, 12413 and 12292 respectively. 

AnTuTu Benchmark - The device got an overall score of 35517, CPU score of 15612, GPU score of 13015, RAM score of 5973, and I/O score of 917.

LinPack Pro - Single Thread: 643.766 MFLOPS, Time: 0.26 seconds, Multi-thread: 423.401 MFLOPS, Time: 0.2 seconds

Smartbench 2012 - Productivity Score: 10301, Gaming Score: 4229, Pi: 15978, Mandelbrot: 15704, GLTunnel: 5650 (58fps), String: 6062, GLShark: 5434 (58fps), GLJellyfish: 2870 (52fps)

This screenshot of Quadrant Standard shows how the Snapdragon 800-powered prototype tablet overwhelmed powerful devices such as the HTC One X and the ASUS Transformer Prime TF201.

CF-Bench - Native Score: 37965, Java Score: 36169, Overall Score: 36887. Far behind it are the Samsung Galaxy S3 (23966, 5489, 13080), and the HTC One X (22988, 6003, 12797). The Galaxy S3 has a Snapdragon S4 while the HTC One X comes with Tegra 3.

Geekbench 2 - Geekbench Score: 4169, Integer: 2861, Floating Point: 6257, Memory: 3908, Stream: 1965

Vellamo Mobile Benchmark - HTML 5: 2992, Metal: 1211

GLBenchmark - 2.7.0 1478 frames 26fps

Futuremark 3DMark - Ice Storm Score: 19722, Ice Storm Extreme Score: 13835

Based on the demonstrations and the benchmark results, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 series processors have the clear potential to bring smart devices like smartphones and tablets to a new level of performance, and consumers to a new level of user experience.

We are looking forward to experiencing Snapdragon 800 processors' prowess through the upcoming devices that are yet to hit the market. LG has announced that the successor to its Optimus G flagship will run on Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor while sources told GottaBeMobile that LG's upcoming Android phone with always on voice commands in 2014 will tap on the capabilities of the Snapdragon 800 processors.

The recently announced Sony Xperia Z Ultra is also powered by the Snapdragon 800 quad-core processors. The benchmark score we obtained on the prototype unit reflected a slightly lower score than what we've seen in the prototypes at this workshop, but is still very much higher than the current competition. You can check out our hands-on article here.