Qualcomm reveals Snapdragon 690 – bringing 5G to lower end phones

Qualcomm’s latest 5G platform is a significant one, because it’ll see cheaper 5G-enabled handsets hit the market. 

All the 5G phones launched so far have been either premium flagship smartphones or mid-rangers using Snapdragon 700 and 800 series chips, meaning that if you wanted to jump on the 5G bandwagon you’d need to spend a significant amount of money. 

But with 5G networks set to reach many more areas in 2020 in the US and UK, something needs to change with the phones that support them to work towards mass adoption. We’ll see Snapdragon 690 phones from vendors such as Nokia, Motorola, LG and TCL later this year, so expect a glut of releases in around three months’ time. 

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One drawback with the Snapdragon 690 is that it doesn’t support mmWave 5G – basically the faster standard for 5G networks – instead only supporting sub-6GHz bands. The upshot of that is that they won’t get the fastest speeds on the fastest networks in the US, but it won’t make a difference in European markets as everything in countries like the UK is sub-6GHz. 

690 has a few tricks up its sleeve – it can capture 4K HDR video at 30fps which is decent for entry-level smartphones. It also has the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 on board and the 8nm octocore chipset uses Qualcomm’s latest generation Kryo 560 processor cores meaning there’s a 20 percent performance improvement over previous generations. 

It’ll be partnered with Qualcomm’s X51 5G modem. 

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