The new flagship is the Snapdragon G3x Gen 2, which is the “better than Snapdragon 8 Gen 2” processor AYA had been teasing for its upcoming AYA Neo Pocket Air S handheld game console. But Qualcomm is also launching new Snapdragon G2 and Snapdragon G1 processors for lower-priced handhelds.
The new Snapdragon G3x Gen 2 features an octa-core Qualcomm Kryo CPU and Adreno A32 graphics. Qualcomm says the result is a chip that brings a 30% boost in CPU performance and double the graphics performance of the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 chip used in the Razer Edge.
Qualcomm says the chip features support for hardware-accelerated ray tracing, WiFi 7 and 5G sub-6 and mmWave connectivity, as well as Snapdragon Sound technology with support for “premium Bluetooth audio,” among other things.
As for that better than Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 performance? At least part of that comes from the fact that this chip is designed for handhelds rather than smartphones: according to The Verge, it has peak power consumption around 15 to 18 watts, which puts it in the same territory as the AMD processor used in the Steam Deck (although Qualcomm isn’t quite promising Steam Deck-rivaling performance at that power level).
Qualcomm has also begun sampling a Snapdragon G3x Gen 2 Handheld Gaming Reference Design to “select OEMs and ODMs,” with the goal of helping them bring devices to market quickly. The reference design includes a 6.8 inch, 144 Hz display, 12GB of LPDDR5x memory, 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage, stereo speakers and a headphone jack, 1080p front and rear cameras, and a fan for active cooling.
But, like I said, at least one device has already been announced: the AYA Neo Pocket Air S, which is expected to be a higher performance alternative to the cheaper (and also not yet actually launched) AYA Neo Pocket Air with a MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor.
There’s no word on if or when we’ll start to see devices with the lower-spec Snapdragon G1 or G2 processors, but Qualcomm says that in addition to AYA Neo, it’s been collaborating with a few other companies on G Series hardware including Huaqin, Inventec, and Thundercomm.
Here’s an overview of the Snapdragon G series lineup:
|3Gx Gen 2||G2 Gen 1||G1 Gen 1|
|CPU||8 x Kryo cores||8 x Kryo cores||8 x Kryo cores|
|GPU||Adreno A32||Adreno A21||Adreno A11|
|Display||Up to FHD+ @ 144 Hz||Up to FHD+ @ 144 Hz||Up to HD @ 60 Hz|
|Haptics||Support for stereo haptics||?||?|
|Cameras||Support for dual cameras||?||?|
|WiFi||WiFi 7 (up to 5.8 Gbps down)||WiFi 6/6E||WiFi 5|
|Bluetooth||BT 5.3||BT 5.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
|5G||mmWave (up to 10 Gbps down)|
While Qualcomm doesn’t provide details about which specific Kryo cores its chips are using, or what the differences are between Adreno A11, A21, and A32 graphics, the entry-level chip only supports HD/60Hz displays, suggesting that it’s destined for significantly cheaper devices than the other two chips.
But the Snapdragon G1 Gen 1 does have at least one thing going for it: lower power consumption. Qualcomm says it’s designed for fanless devices with long battery life. Just don’t expect blazing fast frame rates when running games on the console itself. Instead it may be a chip that’s most useful for cloud gaming devices that rely on remote servers to do the heavy lifting. Of course, it would be nice if the chip that’s built for cloud gaming had better wireless capabilities. The G1 Gen 1 tops out at WiFi 5 and lacks cellular capabilities.