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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 will bring improved battery life and better VR experiences

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Expect to see it in devices this spring


Qualcomm is today announcing more details about its forthcoming Snapdragon 835 mobile processor, which is expected to be in devices launching in the first half of this year. The Snapdragon 835 is the successor to 2016’s Snapdragon 820 flagship and features improved performance, more efficient components, and new capabilities for virtual reality and taking photos. Qualcomm says the new processor consumes 25 percent less power than last year’s chip, which leads to a claimed 2.5 more hours of run time on an average day of usage.

As previously announced, the Snapdragon 835 also comes with the latest version of the company’s fast charging technology, dubbed Quick Charge 4.0. The new version is fully compatible with USB Type-C industry standards, can charge 20 percent faster than Quick Charge 3.0, and comes with new protections against overcharging. Qualcomm says Quick Charge 4.0 can provide “5 hours of use from just 5 minutes of charging.”

Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 on the left, Snapdragon 835 on the right

Qualcomm says the 835 has a 50 percent power reduction compared to the Snapdragon 801, 2014’s flagship processor. It is based on 10nm fabrication technology — a first for the Snapdragon line — which is smaller and allows for thinner phones with larger batteries compared to earlier processors.

In addition to improved power management, the Snapdragon 835 expands upon the 820’s virtual and augmented reality capabilities, with faster 3D graphics rendering and 60 times more colors. It also has improved sound processing to produce “true to life sound” in virtual environments. Qualcomm says that in addition to smartphones that support VR, the Snapdragon 835 will find its way into dedicated virtual reality headsets, as well.

The new platform also includes improves for image capture, including native support for optical zoom systems and better autofocus technologies. It also has enhanced electronic image stabilization when capturing video. The 835 is also the first Snapdragon processor to support Ultra HD 4K Premium video playback, including HDR 10.

Outside of Apple devices, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line has dominated the premium smartphone world, and is found in nearly every flagship Android device on the market. The 835 will likely continue that trend, though Qualcomm’s efforts to bring it to other devices that aren’t smartphones could mean even greater expansion for the company. We’ll be able to see just how good it is first hand when the first devices launch with it this spring.