Snapdragon 835 Unveiled: Everything You Need to Know

About a month ago, Qualcomm teased its next top-of-the-line mobile processor, the Snapdragon 835. But now at CES 2017, we can finally take a much deeper dive on all the tech and features coming on Qualcomm's upcoming flagship chip.

A photo of the Snapdragon 835 (right) next to the Snadragon 820 (left) and a penny.A photo of the Snapdragon 835 (right) next to the Snadragon 820 (left) and a penny.For the Snapdragon 835, Qualcomm is focusing on a five main areas of improvement: battery life, immersion, capture, connectivity and security.

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Starting off with battery life, the 835 will be built using 10-nanometer FinFET tech in partnership with Samsung, which is a step up from the 14nm fabrication used on the Snapdragon 820 and 821. Qualcomm says this makes the Snapdragon 835 25 percent more power-efficient than the previous generation, as well as 35 percent smaller in size. The 835 will also let you recharge your device faster, thanks to Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4, which is 20 percent faster than the QC3 found on devices such as the LG G5 and HTC 10.

Qualcomm also says that the 835 features improved heterogenous computing, which seeks to offload specific tasks to the type of processor that can complete those tasks with the greatest efficiency. Put more simply, that means the 835 will better utilize specific parts of the processor, such as the GPU to perform graphics-based tasks, or the DSP (digital signal processor) or the ISP (image signal processor) when you need to handle visual data from the camera.

As for immersion, Qualcomm says the 835 will deliver more engaging content to its users, whether it's 4K video content with true high-dynamic range lighting, or lag-free VR experiences with decreased latency between your head movements and what you see on the screen.

Qualcomm is also working on a new Snapdragon VR developer kit to help content creators better understand and leverage all the new tech inside its chips.

Improved capture abilities are another important aspect of the 835, especially since one of the biggest reasons to get a new phone often comes down to how good its camera is. Qualcomm says that by combining its new Hexagon DSP and Spectra ISP, device makers will have an easier time implementing new features like the optical zoom seen on the iPhone 7 Plus or the dual rear cams seen on the Huawei Mate 9

The company also says that the 835 will come with support for EIS 3.0, electronic image stabilization that can correct for pitch, yaw and roll so you can capture smoother, less shaky without the need for optical image stabilization.

The 835's connectivity may be one of its strongest characteristics. It will sport an X16 LTE cellular modem capable of gigabit speeds, Bluetooth 5.0, and multi-gigabit 802.11 and Wi-Fi, so matter how you are connected to the net, things should always be super fast.

Finally, the 835's security has been improved with Qualcomm's new Haven platform, which incorporates fingerprint, eye and face-based biometrics to create a full ecosystem for device attestation. This should give 835-equipped devices enterprise-level access security that may fuel the next generation of mobile payment tech.

In addition to Qualcomm's five pillars, there are other major improvement such as the 835's new octa-core Kryo 280 CPU and Qualcomm's new Neural Processing Engine for machine learning, which should improve overall performance and help your device stay fast months and years after purchase.

The major caveat to all this is that while Qualcomm has created a lot of new technology for use on the Snapdragon 835, in the end, it's up to device makers to actually implement these features for consumers to use. To really see the benefit of its new chips, we're going to have to wait for devices with the 835 to hit the market.

That could be as soon as this spring on devices including the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 or LG G6, although neither Qualcomm nor any phone makers have yet officially say which upcoming devices will feature the Snapdragon 835.

Images and Snapdragon 835 specs courtesy of Qualcomm.


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