Skip to main content

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 690 processor brings 5G to midrange phones

Qualcomm is amping up its midrange 6-series of chips. The company has taken the wraps off of the new Snapdragon 690 processor, which is now the highest-end offering in the 6-series, and is aimed at delivering some premium features to inexpensive phones.

Of course, there’s one premium feature in particular to note here — support for 5G. That makes the Snapdragon 690 the first platform in the 6-series to offer 5G support, meaning that much cheaper phones could soon support 5G.

“Driving the expansion of 5G into the Snapdragon 6-series has the potential to make 5G accessible to more than 2 billion smartphone users around the world,” said Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm Incorporated.

Over the next year or so, 5G in general is expected to become more mainstream. Not only are carriers continuing to deploy their 5G networks, but manufacturers are launching more affordable 5G phones, too.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Snapdragon 690 offers other features, too, and many of them are firsts for the 6-series. For example, the Snapdragon 690 has support for 4K HDR, 120Hz displays, and more. These features aren’t commonly found on midrange phones, but they will likely trickle down to cheaper phones over the next few years.

The Snapdragon 690 also offers some performance upgrades compared to the previous-generation Snapdragon 675. For example, you’ll get up to a 20% performance boost, along with support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0 and Wi-Fi 6. While it definitely isn’t as powerful as Qualcomm’s higher-end chips, it does support some of the same premium features, which is good news for midrange phone buyers.

Qualcomm has also announced partners that are expected to release phones that support the Snapdragon 690. Notably, the company says that HMD Global, LG, Motorola, Sharp, TCL, and Wingtech are all expected to launch phones featuring the Snapdragon 690. There is no timeline for any of these devices. Current-gen phones that use 6-series chips include the likes of the Motorola Moto G series, along with the Nokia 6.2, which comes with a lower-end Snapdragon 636. It’s possible that follow-ups to these devices may offer a Snapdragon 690, though only time will tell.

According to Qualcomm, devices that offer the Snapdragon 690 will arrive in the second half of 2020.

Editors' Recommendations

Christian de Looper
Christian’s interest in technology began as a child in Australia, when he stumbled upon a computer at a garage sale that he…
Here’s how fast 5G on your Samsung Galaxy S23 really is
Samsung Galaxy S23 cameras against greenery

If you’ve been on the fence about picking up one of the latest Galaxy S23 phones, some new research from Ookla may help tip the scales in Samsung’s favor.

In a new speed test report, Ookla tcompared the 5G performance specs of the Galaxy S23 models to last year’s Galaxy S22 in several countries — with some surprising results across the board.
A worthwhile 5G upgrade

Read more
What is 5G UW? The real meaning behind the icon on your phone
Woman holding up smartphone with speed test results on Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband network.

You've probably noticed that there's been much more hype around 5G than for any of the wireless technologies that came before. Some of that is just marketing, of course; we are living in an increasingly connected era, and there are far more people toting smartphones now than there were in 2012 when 4G/LTE was just beginning to go mainstream. However, it's also not an exaggeration to say that with considerably faster speeds and the ability to handle many more devices, 5G is a much bigger step into the next stage of global connectivity. You've also probably noticed it yourself with a "5G UW" icon at the top of your phone.

As with most new technologies, 5G comes with some new challenges for both carriers and consumers. One of the most significant of these has been working out the best way to deploy 5G services across the much wider range of frequencies that it's capable of operating on. This wasn't nearly as significant a problem in the days of 3G and 4G/LTE services, which all operated in a much narrower range of radio spectrum.

Read more
Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 is big news for cheap phones
Hand holding up a smartphone against a city background with Qualcomm Snapdragon7+ Gen 2 logo.

Qualcomm has taken the wraps off its Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2, the next generation of its midrange mobile platform. The new chip is designed to deliver powerful entertainment experiences and performance gains to a broader range of smartphones.

The new platform is an evolution of last year’s Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, which was already a leap beyond the older Snapdragon 700 series it replaced. It began closing the gap with the premium Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 — a trend that continues with this year’s Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2.

Read more