Qualcomm is updating its Snapdragon 600 series lineup with two new chips* that the company says brings camera, audio, video, and connectivity improvements.

The Snapdragon 630 and Snapdragon 660 include an updated modem, improved camera image signal processing, and updated CPU and graphics cores.

Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 660 offers up to 20 percent better CPU performance and up to 30 percent better graphics performance than the Snapdragon 653. But the chips are pin-to-pin compatible, which should make it easy for device makers to switch from the older platform to the new one.

Likewise, the Snapdragon 630 is pin compatible with the Snapdragon 626, but offers up to 30 percent better graphics performance and up to 10 percent better CPU performance, along with modem, image processing, and other improvements.

The new chips are also said to be more energy efficient: Qualcomm says a device with a Snapdragon 660 processor should get up to 2 hours longer battery life than a similar device with a Snapdragon 653. There’s also support for Quick Charge 4 technology, which Qualcomm says can get you up to 5 hours of battery life from a 5 minute charge.

Other changes include a new electronic image stabilization system, improved camera auto focus technology, and support for Bluetooth 5.

To get a bit more technical, here are some of the differences between the Snapdragon 660 and 653:

  • Modem has been updated to Qualcomm X12 (updated from X9)
  • Qualcomm Kryo 260 custom CPU cores (instead of ARM Cortex-A73/A53)
  • Qualcomm Adreno 512 graphics (updated from Adreno 510)

Both chips are 14nm processors with support for up to 8GB of RAM, and support for the Vulkan graphics API. Other features include a Hexagon 680 DSP and Spectra 160 ISP with improved support for processing zoom, bokeh effects, and other photographic effects on phones with dual camera systems.

Qualcomm positions its 600-series chips as “high tier” processors, which means they’ll likely show up in upper mid-range phones and tablets soon, but won’t offer the same level of performance as the Snapdragon 835 platform.


Snapdragon 660-powered devices should hit the streets this quarter, while the Snapdragon 630 is coming at the end of the month, with devices featuring the new processor expected to ship in Q3, 2017.

*I’m sorry, these aren’t chips, they’re “mobile platforms.”

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4 replies on “Qualcomm launches Snapdragon 630, Snapdragon 660 chips for mid-range devices”

  1. I found the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 to be decently speedy. Albeit it was only an incremental improvement over the QSD 800.

    The whole QSD 808 and QSD 810 were a disaster for 2015’s excellent Nexus devices.
    Only Samsung’s Exynos 7420 and Apple’s A9 were a good improvement over it in terms of efficiency and performance.

    However, since then the QSD 650, QSD 652, and QSD 653 have offered competitive performance and efficiency to the E7420 and A9…. bringing flagship performance to the mid-range.

    It’s been really puzzling trying to gauge where the QSD 820 and QSD 821 lies when compared to the QSD 650-QSD 653 chipsets. And now, with the QSD 660 offering an “improved” Quad A73 cores at the competitive 14nm lithography… it muddies the waters even more.

    It seems possible the QSD 660 will offer more performance and better efficiency than the QSD 821 at a cheaper price. And provide 85% of the performance of the QSD 835. I don’t see why OEMs (cough LG) would continue using the QSD 820/821. Just imagine if we had the midrange QSD 660 back in 2015… it would’ve blown away the competition’s flagships…and no-one would believe you if you said its a midrange chipset*

    It’s like 2014 was in-line with expectations for chipsets, 2015 was below the curve, 2016 was in-line, and 2017 is above the curve. I guess we have no-one to blame but ARM’s lacklustre A57 and phenomenal A73 for the big discrepancy.

    *yeah, not chipset I meant “mobile platform”

  2. Is there pricing info anywhere on Qualcomm chips? I am curious what explains the huge price spread for phones.

  3. I use a phone with a SD 625 “platform” and it is quite speedy. I am not a gamer, but there has never been any lag in anything I have done with the phone. We are finally in the age of smartphones where you do not have to buy absolute top tier phones to have a high quality user experience.

  4. 660 should be more than fast enough for majority of user. I had a 653 device for a short while and it’s an incredible value for what it offers.

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