2016 Snapdragon 820 Roundup!

2016 Snapdragon 820 Roundup!

Snapdragon 810. You might have heard something about it in 2015. After all, this particular processor from the stables of Qualcomm was quite literally the topic of hot debate throughout the year.

Blogs all over, including us, wrote extensively about the hottest star of 2015. The horse was beaten to death, and then back again. But now, as 2016 begins, the tech community yearns to find something else to talk about, something that can help us move past the debacle and get excited about new phones releases all over again.

Enter the Snapdragon 820, the processor that is shouldering the responsibility of lifting up Qualcomm from a bad year in the news. The 820 is the next top-of-the-line SoC from Qualcomm, which the company claims to be more powerful, thermally efficient and longer-lasting than any previous Snapdragon chip and which we expect very well to be. We’ve already covered a lot of what is inside the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, so if you need a refresher, head on over there.

Seeing that Qualcomm hopes that the Snapdragon 820 will make its way to devices beyond smartphones and tablets, like cars, home appliances, Internet of Things and more; we can be sure to see a lot of SD-820 devices in the very near future. For now though, here’s a look of what’s in store for us with the Snapdragon 820:

LeTV’s Le Max Pro

This device comes courtesy of a Chinese (not French) company, LeTV. The claim to fame for the Le Max Pro is that it is the first device to come with the Snapdragon 820. For the rest, there’s the accompanying Adreno 530 GPU, 4GB of RAM, 32/64/128 GB of internal storage, a 6.3″ WQHD display, a 21 MP rear camera, USB Type C and a 3,400 mAh battery.LeTV-Le-Max

On the whole, the Le Max Pro has most of the features which make it a very good device from a spec sheet point of view.

Xiaomi Mi 5

The Mi 5 is Xiaomi’s trump card for the beginning of 2016. The device is still unreleased, but based on the rumors, it sounds quite promising. With 3GB + 32GB and 4GB + 64GB (RAM + Internal storage) variants, a 5.2″ QHD display, 16MP rear camera and 13MP front camera, USB Type C with Quick Charge 3.0, 3600 mAh battery and an expected cost of just $305 for the base model, the Mi 5 certainly seems to be on track to set the mid segment on fire with its great bang-per-buck USP, just like other Xiaomi flagships.

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Samsung Galaxy S7

Quite possibly the star of this lineup, the Samsung Galaxy S7 needs no introduction. While the international variants of the Galaxy S7 will sport Samsung’s own Exynos 8 Octa 8890, chances are that the North American variants of the device will most likely come with the Snapdragon 820.

There were also talks that the Galaxy S7 will be the first device to launch with the Snapdragon 820, and that Samsung had secured exclusive rights for usage of the SD 820 in smartphones until April 2016. Of course, with the launch of the LeTV Le Max Pro and the estimated launch of the Xiaomi Mi 5, we know that this is no longer true.

Virtual Reality Headsets

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NextVR’s Rig For Capturing VR-ready Live Content

Smartphones are not the only ones taking advantage of the Snapdragon 820. Qualcomm’s claim that the Snapdragon 820 is optimized for virtual reality has found agreement with notable VR broadcast company, NextVR, who has high praise on what the chipset can achieve in the VR context. The company has worked with Qualcomm to create a VR live streaming app which is specially optimized to take advantage of the prowess of the Snapdragon 820. According to them, the Snapdragon 820 levels the playing field for mobile VR devices by putting the SD 820-powered flagships ahead of the best mobile VR devices available currently.

NextVR also announced that they will demonstrate high-quality, full 360-degree virtual reality content on mobile phones using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820. This demonstration is currently live at CES at Qualcomm’s booth 8643, so we can expect more content to be mass-ready in the latter half of 2016.

In-Car Infotainment Systems

Leveraging the output of the best of their efforts in 2015, Qualcomm also announced the Snapdragon 820 Automotive family of products, namely the standard 820A and the 820Am with LTE support. These chips are designed for in-car navigation and infotainment systems running QNX, Linux and Android. The wireless capabilities of the SoC will keep your car connected to your phone and even to the Internet directly. The chip has support for multiple displays, along with support for 4K displays and can seamlessly run satnav and map apps while powering these displays. These chips can also detect multiple lane markings, can understand traffic signs using machine intelligence or “deep learning” and can do GPS and GLONASS in one chip.

The point of difference between the SD 820A and the SD 820 in our smartphones seems to be the modular approach Qualcomm has taken for designing the chip. This, theoretically, allows a vehicle infotainment system to be upgraded both in terms of hardware and software to keep up with the latest technology. You can read up on the Snapdragon 820A over here.

Qualcomm has begun sampling the 820A family, and concept demonstrations based on the chip are available at its CES booth.


The Snapdragon 820 aims to cool down the bad press and heat generated by the Snapdragon 810. There is a lot riding on this chip. Qualcomm realizes this, and so far, they have pulled out all stops to make sure that the 820 remains in the good books of all stakeholders. The success of the 820 affects both Qualcomm and all flagships and other technologies that will inevitably come to rest to depend on it.

Can the Snapdragon 820 put all the 810 troubles behind it? Can it return confidence to Qualcomm SoC’s, the likes of which we witnessed with legends such as the Snapdragon 801? Only time, and the technology released in Q1 2016, will tell. We hope it does, at least, so that we can leave all the heat jokes and puns behind.

What do you think of all the technology released based on the Snapdragon 820, so far? Are you excited for the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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