Qualcomm says its new mid-range chipset, the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2, has more than 50% improved CPU performance over its predecessor, the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1.
That’s a claim as bold as the unconventional naming scheme the company has decided on for this range of mobile chips. There is no 7+ Gen 1 or 7 Gen 2, confusingly.
Sitting one tier below Qualcomm’s top-of-the-range 8-series chips, the 7 series is getting even more powerful, to the point it is comparable to high-end chips from recent months.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2, a chip the company built with partner TSMC.
When will the first Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 phones launch?
Qualcomm said it expects devices with the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 to be launched this month, March 2023.
Given it was announced in March, there’s usually a little time before devices hit shelves but we should start to hear from Android manufacturers soon about upcoming releases with the new silicon.
Which phones will use the 7+ Gen 2?
Realme and Redmi are already confirmed as brands that will release phones with the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2.
In a media briefing, Qualcomm spokesperson Cindy Lei said we can expect the 7+ Gen 2 to appear in phones that cost between $400-$600 – putting the chipset firmly in place to appear in the best mid-range phones yet to come out this year.
What are the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 specs and features?
Before any phones are announced, we have a ton of information about the new chipset. Here are the most important details.
Qualcomm claims the Kryo CPU in the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 has a peak speed of 2.91GHz, a 50% improvement over the 7 Gen 1, the chip that came before it in the line-up.
This puts the new chip very close in peak processing power to 2022’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 that sits in phones such as the OnePlus 10T.
The CPU in the 7+ Gen 2 has one prime core, three performance cores and four efficiency cores. Cor. It’s a chip built on a 4nm process with a 64-bit architecture, geared towards the performance needed for modern phones to power games, photography, audio, and everything else we throw at our devices these days.
It’s notable that Qualcomm is pushing its 7-series to keep hot on the heels of the 8-series, as it seems as though only those after the best gaming phones will need to specifically choose the recent Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 over something as powerful as the 7+ Gen 2.
The 7+ Gen 2’s Adreno GPU has a claimed 2x performance improvement over the 7 Gen 1, which Qualcomm says is the biggest generational leap ever for a 7-series chipset.
It’s able to support 10-bit colour depth for HDR gaming and is the first 7-series chip to support auto variable rate shading (VRS) that helps to optimise power and performance for high-end games.
Chris Martin / Foundry
The 7+ Gen 2 has Qualcomm’s Spectra Triple 18-bit image signal processor (ISP) that supports processing of images uo to 200Mp as well as 18-bit RAW photo capture.
Additionally, phones with the chip will get enhanced low light photo capabilities and be able to computationally merge up to 30 captures of a scene to form the best possible image.
Advances like this are important to note on a below-flagship smartphone chipset because while the most expensive phones in the world are somehow getting pricier, features we expect to remain flagship are trickling down quite quickly into mid-range phones.
It’s just up to the Android phone manufacturers to make use of all the power under the hood with their products.
The chip has Qualcomm’s X62 modem which (now almost assumingly) gives you 5G, but less obviously support for Wi-Fi 6 and 6E standards. This is great to see and futureproofs a device’s connectivity for several years.
Qualcomm also claims “truly global” support of mmWave and sub-6 GHz band 5G, but it will be up to the manufacturers to ensure their devices can access these bands worldwide.
The 7+ Gen 2 also supports 4G and 5G dual SIM dual active modes so you can run two numbers at once with full data connections.
Qualcomm has gone quite hard with the AI potential of the 7+ Gen 2, even if the actual application for the consumer might not be as obvious as gaming or photography.
You arbitrarily get 2x better AI performance compared to the 7 Gen 1, but when the AI most people are playing with is stuff like ChatGPT – whose compute is on a server in the cloud, not on device – its hard to see how useful this is to most people.
A better illustration is the idea the chip could be smarter at contextual awareness and acoustic scene detection. Translation: it could set your headphone audio levels up or down more intelligently depending on the ambient noise around you.
Again, such smarts are left up to Android OEMs to deliver to you, the consumer.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 benchmarks
We were lucky enough to go hands-on with a reference device powered by the 7+ Gen 2 at Mobile World Congress in February 2023. This reference device was a non-retail smartphone with the chipset inside, along with a 144Hz 6.65in FHD AMOLED display, 4192mAh battery, 8GB RAM and 512GB UFS 3.1 storage.
The phone was loaded with benchmark apps including the popular Geekbench 5 processor test (multi-core scores, higher is better). In the chart below, check out how the 7+ Gen 2 scored against phones running the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (Galaxy S23 Ultra), 8+ Gen 1 (OnePlus 10T), the Google Tensor G2 (Pixel 7), Apple A16 (iPhone 14 Pro) and Apple A15 (iPhone 14).
It’s notable that the 7-series chip scores higher on this multi-core processor test than the 8+ Gen 1, a chip from Qualcomm’s premium tier that debuted in May 2022. It also wins out against Google’s Tensor G2, which we know to be lower powered. But the 7+ Gen 2 also finds itself in the same ballpark as the Apple A15 on the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14, meaning Qualcomm’s newest silicon could really pack a punch.
It remains to be seen just how many phones we actually see it appear in.