We had an opportunity to get some quality time with Qualcomm's latest mobile development platform, a 10.1-inch tablet equipped with the quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 SoC and Adreno 320 GPU. It's fast, handily eclipsing the Samsung Galaxy S III's Exynos 4 Quad, the HTC One X's Tegra 3, and Qualcomm's own Snapdragon S4 on a spate of synthetic benchmarks.
While the $1,299 tablet will start shipping in two the three weeks, it's primarily aimed at developers. To that end, it isn't much to look at: the simple black plastic shell is untextured and unadorned, save for model numbers and the Snapdragon badge. The star of the show is the 1.5GHz quad-core processor, but the tablet is fairly well equipped. The SoC is accompanied by 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of total storage capacity. On the left, the microUSB port is accompanied by the microSD slot, headphone jack, and volume toggle switch. The power button and orientation lock are on the top right edge, while a fingerprint reader sits on the lower right corner. Also tucked inside are an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, temperature and pressure sensors. The display offers a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution; we've seen higher pixel counts on the 10.1-inch Acer Iconia Tab A700 and Apple's new iPad, but it serves just fine here. Of particular interest are the seven microphones scattered about the machine. A curious inclusion, but a Qualcomm representative explained that the company hoped to encourage surround sound audio capture on mobile devices.
|Quadrant||Vellamo||GLB 2.1 Egypt (720p)||AnTuTu|
|Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064||7,635||2,527||131fps||13,998|
|Acer Iconia Tab A700 (Tegra 3)||3,574||1,210||60fps||10,480|
|Asus Transformer Pad (Tegra 3)||3,623||1,358||63fps||9,614|
|Galaxy S III (Exynos 4 Quad)||5,283||2,008||101fps||10,568|
|HTC One X (Tegra 3)||4,430||1,614||65fps||11,322|
|HTC One S (Snapdragon S4)||5,141||2,420||57fps||7,107|
Our hands-on time wasn't extensive enough to get a real idea of how the battery life holds up, but after an hour and a half of benchmarking, taking snapshots with the 13-megapixel camera and browsing on the venue's woefully spotty Wi-Fi, the battery level shifted about 15 to 20 percentage points. That's hardly a scientific measurement, but Qualcomm reminded us that the Snapdragon S4 Pro's asynchronous cores are design to manage workloads intelligently; individual cores will shut themselves off when necessary, to give users a bit of extra juice.
Qualcomm's Raj Talluri has high hopes for the Snapdragon S4 Pro, claiming that Qualcomm believes that it will be the highest performance mobile processor out on the market. These preliminary results seem to suggest that they're right, but we'll need to wait a bit longer to see for ourselves — Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon S4 Pro will start showing up in laptops and phones this year. If you can't wait that long (and have $1,299 to spare), you can preorder yours from BSquare.