Nearly two years after launching the first Snapdragon G series chip built for handheld gaming devices, Qualcomm is expanding the lineup with three new processors.

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 2G2 Gen 1G1 Gen 1
CPU8 x Kryo cores8 x Kryo cores8 x Kryo cores
GPUAdreno A32Adreno A21Adreno A11
DisplayUp to FHD+ @ 144 HzUp to FHD+ @ 144 HzUp to HD @ 60 Hz
HapticsSupport for stereo haptics??
CamerasSupport for dual cameras??
WiFiWiFi 7 (up to 5.8 Gbps down)WiFi 6/6EWiFi 5
BluetoothBT 5.3BT 5.0Bluetooth 5.0
5GmmWave (up to 10 Gbps down)
sub-6 GHz
Snapdragon x65
mmWave
sub-6 GHz
N/A

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.

press release

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  1. Wasn’t the G3x Gen 1 just a rebadged snapdragon 888? They could push the clocks higher because it had active cooling, but I don’t think the silicon was any different.

    I suspect it’s going to be the same story with some of these, especially the G1 with it’s older wifi and whatnot.

    1. The QSD 888 was a lousy chipset for phones, it kept throttling down to QSD 855 levels after short bursts. The QC 8g1 was even worse.

      Yet from those chipsets, if you can crank up the voltage, and somehow deal with the heat, they were okay. Certainly not for phones, but for tablets or actively cooled devices they worked.

      That idea is what Qualcomm has taken and run with it. Firstly with the QC G3X g1 (cutdown QSD 888 that’s overclocked) and now again with the QC G3X g3 (QC 8g2 rebadge). The QC G2 g1 meanwhile looks suspiciously like an overclocked QSD 865. I can’t be too sure about the QC G1 g1 but to me it looks like a rebranded QSD 695 or maybe a QSD 768.

      Overall, these all are pretty disappointing. We know they won’t be sipping power at the 1W-5W range like the QSD 778, or even stay balanced under 8W like the QC 8g2, but they will be guzzling power above the 10W level. Which means battery life will be around 50-60% lower, or close to 2-3 hours instead of 5-6 hours. And they’ll all come in portable sizes, nothing that is pocketable. The reason why all of this is disappointing is because it doesn’t achieve anything that the x86 chips (AMD Aerith, 6600u, Z1, 7640u, 6800u, Z1e, 7840u) don’t already do.

      If anything, the x86 chips are better because they can run legacy code, full desktop programs, and run AAA-Titles. The options Qualcomm are giving us are just for “better” Mobile Apps. A legitimate upgrade for someone like GPD would be to instead opt for the QC 8CX g3, which wouldn’t really afford more performance at that 10W level, but would have the option to turbo upto 30W, and is supported by Microsoft for official Windows 11S devices. Meanwhile, the Apple M1 and it’s variants run rings around all these chipsets in the same power mark but they aren’t for gaming.