Qualcomm has just launched the new Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 630 chipsets, offering enhanced gaming, more advanced photography features and other benefits to smartphone users. Here’s how the Snapdragon 660 and 630 compare with the existing 653 and 630 chipsets, as well as each other.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600-series chips are commonly found on a wide range of mobile phones that typically sit just beneath the flagship models. For instance, the Moto Z Play rocks a Snapdragon 625 chipset, while the Sony Xperia X packs in a slightly more beefy Snapdragon 650.
Now we have two new entries in the Snapdragon 600-series family. In May 2017, Qualcomm has announced the arrival of the Snapdragon 630 and 660, which are a step up compared with the existing 626 and 653 models. We'll touch on the main features and differences between each other, as well as how they improve on the existing 600-series chipsets.
What’s different about the Snapdragon 660 and 630?
The two new chipsets come with a number of improvements over the original 600-series processors. These include:
- A performance boost, with an emphasis on enhanced gaming prowess
- Longer battery life thanks to better overall energy efficiency
- Faster battery charging times thanks to Quick Charge 4 support, as well as Type-C USB compatibility
- Faster LTE speeds, for smoother web browsing and quick downloads over a mobile network
- Improved camera performance from the Spectra 160 ISP. Offers better-looking photos, including superior low light photography and more realistic skin tones.
- Support for more camera features and effects, such as bokeh-style background blurring, Dual Pixel autofocus (found in the Galaxy S8 and Moto G5 Plus) and improved video stabilisation with EIS 3.0.
Snapdragon 660 vs Snapdragon 630: How they compare
The 660 chipset is more advanced than the 630, although they both offer many of the same features.
For instance, the Snapdragon 660 is smaller than the more basic 630, at 14nm compared with 28nm. It’s also more powerful, offering a better CPU and GPU performance in Qualcomm’s benchmark tests.
With the Snapdragon 660, you get support for more smartphone features too. These include 2x2 WiFi and eye tracking for iris scanners and the like. Camera functionality is also a step up, with support for optical zoom as well as noise reduction at night.
Besides that, the chipsets are very similar. Both the 660 and 630 boast Qualcomm’s X12 LTE modem, Bluetooth 5, Quick Charge 5, support for Type-C USB and the Spectra 160 Image Sensor Processor (ISP).
Snapdragon 660 vs Snapdragon 653: How they compare
For a start, the Snapdragon 660 is more compact than the older 653, with a 14nm build compared with 28nm. That means marginally more room for other components or a slimmer design.
According to Qualcomm’s benchmarking tests, the Snapdragon 660 offers up to 20 percent higher performance than the Snapdragon 653. You also get up to 30 percent greater GPU performance, to handle more graphically intensive games and creative apps.
Qualcomm’s new X12 LTE modem is on-board, offering faster downlink speeds than the Snapdragon 653’s X9 modem. Good news for media streamers.
Connectivity options have improved on the Snapdragon 660 also. You have Bluetooth 5 support (the 653 uses BT 4.1), for twice the speed and four times the range, as well as 2x2 Wi-Fi (compared with 1x1).
Snapdragon 660 smartphones will enjoy faster charging, with full Quick Charge 4 support. That should net you five hours of basic use from just five minutes at the plug, while a full charge will also be quicker. In addition, the new chipset supports Type-C USB, unlike the older 653 processor.
Lastly, there are several built-in improvements to boost camera performance via Qualcomm’s Spectra 160 ISP. Actual results will of course vary depending on how a manufacturer chooses to implement the camera tech and the hardware used. But with the Snapdragon 660, you get immediate support for nippy Dual Pixel autofocus, as well as true-to-life colour capture. Qualcomm’s excellent EIS 3.0 image stabilisation tech is also available, which significantly reduces judder when shooting video.
Snapdragon 630 vs Snapdragon 626: How they compare
The Snapdragon 630 offers a 30 percent jump in performance over the older Snapdragon 626, according to Qualcomm’s own benchmark tests. The new chipset is also more energy efficient, which could mean longer battery life for smartphones.
You get many of the same updates found on the Snapdragon 660, including the Spectra 160 ISP camera features. You can therefore expect more true-to-life photos, cool bokeh effects and smoother video thanks to the improved digital image stabilisation.
The 630 chipset also includes Bluetooth 5 support, for twice the transfer speed and four times the range compared with the 626’s Bluetooth 4.1 tech. Quick Charge 4 means less time at the plug, proving faster in tests than the older 626’s Quick Charge 3.0. You also now have support for Type-C USB.
When will we see smartphones using the Snapdragon 660 and 630 chipsets?
Qualcomm revealed at the 600-series launch that these processors would be available to manufacturers imminently. In fact, the Snapdragon 660 is already here and the Snapdragon 630 will be available from the end of May.
When can we actually expect to see them used by smartphone manufacturers? Well, Qualcomm expects Snapdragon 660 handsets to be launched this quarter, so before summer is up. As for the Snapdragon 630, that’ll be found in devices from Q3 2017.