Qualcomm has been launching midrange, upper midrange and high end chips the past few years. Now they have launched their budget 5G chip called the Snapdragon 690. It’s the first snapdragon 6xx series to feature the latest generation network. But this one gets a step down, and won’t feature the higher bands(mmWave, or bands in 26GHz and above), but the slower ones(bands in the frequency range of 6GHz and below) instead.
Snapdragon 690 Features
Qualcomm had said that the new chip offers a variety of improvements over it’s predecessors which includes 20% better CPU performance, and 60% better graphics performance compared to the Snapdragon 675. The 5G modem is the latest Snapdragon X51 modem, and is an important one for budget adoption.
5G had first rolled out in a few phones released with the 855+, then all phones starting with the 865 had 5G, and this year, Qualcomm decided to release 5G in an upper midrange chip, the Snapdragon 765G. Qualcomm finally released 5G on this lower midrange chip, Snapdragon 690.
The chip supports 120Hz refresh rate, including 4k video capture which is a surprise as these were unavailable for the previous snapdragon 6 series. The chip will also support a max of 192MP resolution cameras for the rear.
Snapdragon 690 Availability
Now that the Snapdragon 690 has been released, a bunch of phones in the $150 to 200 range will be supporting the new 5G chip, and this should bring alive a fierce competition in the midrange market for 5G devices. It is expected that Nokia HMD, LG, Motorola, Sharp, TCL, including others like Xiaomi, Realme, Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei could also feature this chip in their handsets.
Snapdragon 690 specs:
CPU & RAM:
The Snapdragon 690 uses 8 CPU cores in a configuration of 2+6. The main 2 cores are Kryo 560 which are none other than Arm Cortex A77 at a frequency of 2.0GHz, while the other six, which feature Cortex A55 cores, are clocked at 1.8GHz. ARM says that the new A77 cores give a 20% uplift over the A76. The Snapdragon 690 is fabricated on Samsung’s 8nm LPP(Low Power Plus) process node. Compared to the 855 and 865 which are on the 7nm process from TSMC.
The memory support is LPDDR4X at 1866MHz, and a peak capacity of 8GB.
The new chipset uses the Adreno 619L. Qualcomm claims that the new GPU is around 60% faster than the Adreno 612 in the Snapdragon 675. There’s barely any info given about the internals. The Adreno 619L supports Vulkan 1.1 and Physically Based Rendering(PBR)
AI(Artificial Intelligence) Engine:
The Snapdragon 690 supports Qualcomm’s latest 5th Generation AI engine. The engine combines the CPU, GPU, Hexagon 692 DSP, and the Qualcomm Sensing Hub. They brought something new to the 6xx series. It’s called the Hexagon Tensor Accelerator (HTA). There’s also Hexagon Scalar Accelerator and Hexagon Vector Extensions present. All these features have boosted the AI performance of the chip by over 70% from the Snapdragon 675. The Snapdragon 720G and 730G do not have this feature on them. It seems like the newer snapdragon 700 series will feature the new AI engine.
ISP(Image Signal Processor):
The latest ISP is the Spectra 355L which consists of dual 14 bit ISPs in the Snapdragon 690 and helps support 4k video capture with portrait mode(bokeh). It now supports 1.08 billion colours when capturing photos and videos. Another first for this chip. You can get a maximum of 192MP cameras, and a max of 48MP with Multi-Frame Noise Reduction(MFNR). Regarding dual camera support, you can get 32+16MP at 30fps using ZSL.
Snapdragon’s X51 5G modem is integrated into the chip compared to the Snapdragon X55 modem with is a separate module. The X51 modem supports Stand-Alone(SA) and Non Stand-Alone(NSA) 5G networks. Stand-Alone refers to 5G networks on existing towers, while Non Stand-Alone refers to new towers set up exclusively for 5G networks. As pointed earlier, it uses sub 6GHz spectrum, and not one in the mmWave bands, or 26GHz to 100GHz frequencies. It supports 4×4 MIMO(Multiple Input Multiple Output) and has a peak downlink speed of 2.5Gbps and uplink speed is 660Mbps. It also uses a 4G modem with a peak downlink speed of 1.2Gbps and uplink 210Mbps. Again, another first for this chip in the LTE department too as previous Snapdragon 600 series only supported a peak LTE downlink speed of 600Mbps and uplink of 150Mbps..
WiFi and Bluetooth:
The new chip supports Qualcomm FastConnect 6200 system which supports both the WiFi as well as the Bluetooth. Qualcomm says that the chip is WiFi 6 ready.d Wifi 6 is the latest WiFi AX standard, which uses a combination of both 2.5GHz and 5GHz bands. It also supports previous WiFi standards, supports 2×2 MIMO, including MU-MIMO. It utilises 20MHz, 40MHz and 80MHz WiFi channels. WiFi 6 also supports 1024 QAM while WiFi 5 supports a max of 256QAM. The FastConnect 6200 uses the latest Bluetooth 5.1 with support for Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive codec and its TrueWireless technology.
There’s FHD+ (Full HD plus) display resolution support, and support for max 120Hz refresh rate. It can also support QHD (Quad HD) but at just 60Hz. There’s also support for 10 bit displays. HDR10, HDR10+, and the futuristic Rec.2020 colour gamut.
Like the Snapdragon 720G and Snapdragon 460, the Snapdragon 690 too will be using the all new NavIC GNSS(Global Navigation Satellite System). There’s also support for dual frequency GNSS. Apart from NavIC, there’s support for other GNSS like GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS, and SBAS.
Audio and Charging:
The Snapdragon 690 uses the Qualcomm’s Aqstic audio codec (up to WCD9385). The Hexagon Voice Assistant Accelerator as well as Aqstic smart speaker amplifier (up to WSA8815) are also present. For charging, Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ is available. Last but not the least, there’s DisplayPort output over USB Type C. But it’s up to the device makers to use this feature.
Excited for the new 690 chipset? Do let us know in the comments.