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Qualcomm addresses flagship-lite phone market with Snapdragon 8s Gen 3

By Liu Hongzuo - on 18 Mar 2024, 1:30pm

Qualcomm addresses flagship-lite phone market with Snapdragon 8s Gen 3

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8s Gen 3.

Qualcomm today (18 March 2024) announced the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 mobile platform (SD8sG3), designed for flagship-tier Android smartphones that want the Snapdragon 8 series performance without the premium cost.

Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 is still a flagship-tier offering by Qualcomm, but with "selected premium experiences" inherited from the original SD8G3.

The “s” designation trades out some overly powerful perks on the original Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 to keep selected premium performance capabilities intact. This helps make the SD8G3 premium experiences still accessible to a growing market of budget flagship and flagship-lite smartphones.

As seen in recent phone launches, it’s typically only the highest-end premium devices getting the original Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, like the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the Xiaomi 14 / Xiaomi 14 Ultra. Phone makers are opting for lower-tiered, or older premium chipsets, for budget flagship and flagship-lite alternatives to their premium flagship models. This is where Qualcomm's new product comes in to satisfy that gap, where these phones can still get near-SD8G3 quality without bearing its hefty cost.

Qualcomm said that the new Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 retains the on-device generative AI assistant with 10 billion parameters, so there’s no losing out on the consumer-facing generative AI features that are popping up on recent Android phones.

Summary of features on the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3.

To better understand where the trade-offs are, below is a table showcasing the technical differences between the original Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, and the new Snapdragon 8s Gen 3, along with a quick note where appropriate. Categories or components that are not mentioned would mean no changes between both models.

Technical differences between SD8G3 and SD8sG3
Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 Notes
Dual always-sensing ISPs "Always-sensing camera" Reduced number of concurrent always-sensing cameras
Snapdragon X75 5G Modem-RF System Snapdragon X70 5G Modem-RF System Maximum downlink speed of 5Gbps instead of 10Gbps
8K HDR video capture and 64MP photo capture 4K HDR video capture with 64MP photo capture Lower resolution (4K instead of 8K) for capturing HDR video content
Computational HDR video capture, up to 4 exposures; Truepic C2PA-compliant certification NIL SD8sG3 does not have these features

Qualcomm Kyro CPU:

1x 3.4GHz prime core 

5x 3.2GHz performance cores

2x 2.3GHz efficiency cores

Qualcomm Kyro CPU:

1x 3.0GHz prime core

4x 2.8GHz performance cores

3x 2.0GHz efficiency cores

Slightly lower clockrates and mildly altered core layout for CPU performance
Real-time, hardware-accelerated ray-tracing with global illumination; support for Unreal Engine 5 Lumen Real-time, hardware-accelerated ray-tracing Still has ray-tracing for immersive lighting in games, but not the extra light bouncing for extra realism
Secure Processing Unit (SPU) for Android StrongBox SW components NIL Processing for Android StrongBox's security relying on the rest of SD8sG3 chipset
Support for LPDDR5x RAM up to 4,800MHz Support for LPDDR5x RAM up to 4,200MHz Slightly lower RAM frequency supported, hence fewer cycles (of processing) per second

If the above table made no sense to you, that's good news because the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 differences won't matter to you, and most end-users can still enjoy the bits they need. For example, its Qualcomm AI Engine, the support for USB 3.1 Gen 2 via USB-C port, Wi-Fi 7 support (via the FastConnect 7800 component), on-device display support of up to 4K60FPS, and having triple 18-bit ISPs for photography, and even aptX Lossless quality via Bluetooth Audio.

Availability of Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 in consumer smartphones

The Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 will be featured on upcoming phones by manufacturers, including Honor, iQoo, Realme, Redmi, and Xiaomi, by March 2024. More OEMs will also implement SD8sG3 at a later time.

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