Qualcomm Unveils Snapdragon 8s Gen 3: A More Affordable Take on flagship processors

This brings most of the important high-end features from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, its flagship smartphone chipset for this year. So, what's different between them?

Introduction

On March 18th Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3, a new high-end smartphone processor for flagship killers. It brings most of the important high-end features from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, its flagship smartphone chipset for this year. So, what’s different between them?

  • Focus on Advanced AI: It boasts advanced on-device AI capabilities, which could mean faster performance for tasks that rely on AI, like facial recognition or taking great photos.
  • Powerful Camera System: The chip features a camera system that is always aware of its surroundings, which has sparked some privacy concerns
  • Targets Affordable Flagships: This chipset is expected to be in a wave of new smartphones launching this month from manufacturers like Xiaomi, Redmi, and Honor.

The naming might confuse many users, as the 8s Gen 3 might make it feel like it is better than the 8 Gen 3. However, that’s not the case.

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Flagship killers are smartphones that offer high-end features and performance at a significantly lower price point

Why did Qualcomm release this Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 processor?

  • Offer a More Affordable Flagship Experience: The 8s Gen 3 provides a way for phone manufacturers to create smartphones with flagship-level features like powerful processors and advanced AI capabilities, but at a slightly lower cost than the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. This allows them to target a wider audience, particularly those who want a premium phone without the flagship price tag.
  • Focus on On-Device AI: The 8s Gen 3 prioritizes on-device generative AI functionalities. This means the chip can handle powerful AI tasks directly on the phone, rather than relying on cloud processing. This translates to features like smarter virtual assistants, on-device image generation, and enhanced camera experiences.
  • Cater to Different Phone Tiers: With both the 8 and 8s series, Qualcomm caters to a wider range of smartphone categories. The 8 Gen 3 remains the absolute top performer, while the 8s Gen 3 offers a balance of strong performance, AI focus, and affordability, potentially creating a new “premium” tier within the Android smartphone market.

Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 vs. Snapdragon 8 Gen 3: What’s different?

The Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 is a trimmed-down version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. So, it sits below the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 and even the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in some aspects. It is tailor-made for the so-called flagship killer phones and would be a great fit for the Galaxy S24 FE if it exists.

This new chip has an underclocked CPU and one less high-performance CPU core than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. As you can see in the comparison table below, the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 is made using the same 4nm process node from TSMC as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. However, it has one prime Cortex-X4 CPU core clocked at 3GHz, four Cortex-A720 CPU cores clocked at 2.8GHz, and three Cortex-A520 CPU cores clocked at 2GHz.

Snapdragon 8 gen 2 vs 8s gen 3 vs 8 gen 3

Feature
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Snapdragon 8s Gen 3Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
Fabrication Tech4nm TSMC4nm TSMC4nm TSMC
CPU (Prime Cores)
1x Cortex-X3 @ 3.2GHz
1x Cortex-X4 @ 3.0GHz

1x Cortex-X4 @ 3.3GHz
CPU (Big Cores)2x Cortex-A715 @ 2.8GHz
2x Cortex-A710 @ 2.8GHz
4x Cortex-A720 @ 2.8GHz3x Cortex-720 @ 3.15GHz
2x Cortex-720 @ 2.96GHz
CPU (Small Cores)
3x Cortex-A510 @ 2.0GHz
3x Cortex-A520 @ 2.0GHz2x Cortex-A520 @ 2.3GHz
RAM
LPDDR5x 4,200MHz

LPDDR5x 4,200MHz
LPDDR5x 4,800MHz
Storage
UFS 4.0
UFS 4.0UFS 4.0
USBUSB 3.1 (5Gbps)USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps)USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps)
GPUAdreno 740Adreno 735Adreno 750
ISPTriple 18-Bit SpectraTriple 18-Bit SpectraTriple 18-Bit Spectra
Video8K HDR @ 30fps
4K @ 120fps
4K HDR @ 60fps
1080p @ 240fps
8K HDR @ 30fps
4K @ 120fps

What is the difference between Cortex X3 and Cortex X4?

Cortex-X is a lineup of high-performance CPU cores designed by ARM. The Cortex-X4 is the successor to the X3, offering a phone a potential 14% speed boost for tasks like opening apps.  It’s also up to 40% more power efficient, so your battery lasts longer.  Think of it like a faster engine in a car that also uses less fuel.  Both are powerful cores, but the X4 is the newer, more refined model.

Comparative commentary from the table

The Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 has five high-performance CPU cores and three power-efficient CPU cores. In comparison, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 has a total of six high-performance CPU cores and two power-efficient CPU cores. The Adreno 735 GPU in the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 is less powerful than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3’s Adreno 750 GPU and lacks support for ray-tracing’s global illumination effects.

The RAM is also underclocked, and the new chip supports up to 24GB LPDDR5X DRAM and 4,200MHz (600MHz lower than Snapdragon 8 Gen 3).

The built-in Image Signal Processor of this chip can record 4K 60fps videos but lacks support for 8K 30fps video recording, which is possible with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. Even for slow-motion videos, it tops out at 1080p videos at 240fps. In comparison, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 supports recording 4K slow-motion videos at 120fps, which is possible on the Galaxy S24.

The Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 features the Snapdragon X70 5G modem, which offers peak theoretical cellular download speeds capped at 5Gbps, a step below the Snapdragon X75 5G modem utilized in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which boasts speeds of up to 10Gbps. The rest of the features remain similar to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.

Read more Qualcomm Challenges Intel’s Dominance in Desktop CPU Market – techovedas

Conclusion

The Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 has a slower CPU, a less powerful (but still powerful) GPU, slightly slower RAM, and a slower 5G modem. It also lacks features like 8K video recording and 4K 120fps slow-motion video recording. However, it will still be great for high-end gaming and other high-end tasks.

By the release of Snapdragon 8s gen 3, Qualcomm is trying to target affordable smartphone segment.

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