Qualcomm's Snapdragon 780G brings 5nm tech to affordable phones

A faster CPU and 5nm processor promises to make those devices faster.


Over the last year, Qualcomm's 7-series chips have enabled some of the best value phones. You wouldn't have devices like the Pixel 4a and OnePlus Nord without the Snapdragon 730G and 765G. But for all their strengths, those chips weren't without their flaws. They tend to buckle under more processor-intensive tasks and, outside of the capable hands of Google, they haven't had delivered the best camera experiences. Qualcomm's latest 7-series chip, the Snapdragon 780G looks to address those issues.

To start, it features new CPU and GPU components. It's also on a 5nm process, a first for one of the company's 7-series chips. In practice, Qualcomm says the 780G's Kyro 670 CPU runs 40 percent faster than the processor on its predecessor, the 768G. Any task involving an AI component will also get a boost from the 780G, thanks to its Hexagon 770 processor. Qualcomm has also included a low-power AI accelerator in the 780G that will reduce the amount of battery life phone calls consume while at the same time filtering out background noises so the person you're calling can hear you easily.

As with almost every other modern chip, the 780G comes with support for 5G. But when it comes to connectivity, the story of Qualcomm's latest chip is the inclusion of its FastConnect 6900 technology, which the company says makes the 780G's WiFi 6E modem capable of theoretical speeds of up to 3.6Gbps. There's also support for the latest Bluetooth 5.2 standard and Qualcomm's Snapdragon Sound suite for support 24-bit 96KHz music streaming.

When it comes to photos, the 780G's Spectra 570 image signal processor (ISP) features a new architecture the company claims makes it better at taking low-light images. It can also capture HDR10+ video. But the headline feature of the Spectra 570 is that it can process three 25MP images simultaneously. In theory, that will allow a phone to capture photos from its wide, ultra-wide and telephoto cameras with one shutter press. But it's up to manufacturers to take advantage of that capability within their camera apps like Samsung did with the Galaxy S21 and its Snapdragon 888 processor.

You won't have to wait long to see the 780G make its way into new phones. Qualcomm says the first devices to include the chip will ship in the second quarter of 2021.