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Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is bringing generative AI to your next smartphone

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 announcement - Chipset on fingertip next to Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 logo

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 adds on-device generative AI and improves performance and power efficiency

Disclaimer: Qualcomm flew us out to Hawaii for the Snapdragon Summit. All opinions expressed in this article are unbiased and based upon the provided data. 

At its annual Snapdragon Summit, Qualcomm has officially unveiled its latest flagship mobile chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. Replacing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the brand-new 8 Gen 3 is set to be the brand’s most powerful offering to date – and now we know what kind of improvements to expect.

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Like its predecessor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is built on a 4nm fabrication process, but the technical makeup has shifted slightly from the last generation. The Kryo CPU is still composed of eight processing cores, with the maximum clock speed of 3.3GHz coming via the single “Prime” core. You’ve then got five total performance cores – three clocked up to 3.2GHz and two at 3GHz – and a final pair of 2.3GHz efficiency cores.

Altogether, these cores are said to achieve speeds around 30% faster than the 8 Gen 2 and power efficiency improvements of 20%. The Adreno GPU also gets a solid bump, apparently offering performance and power efficiency gains of 25% apiece, as well as support for a Variable Refresh Rate all the way down to 1Hz for low-power display modes.

Alongside the expected jumps in power and efficiency, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 also places a much stronger focus on generative AI. This is Qualcomm’s first AI engine to support multi-model generative AI models, and apparently the world’s first on-device offering to support models with up to 10 billion parameters. All of this is said to be much faster, with the Hexagon NPU delivering a 98% improvement in performance speeds and performance-per-wattage improvements of around 40%.

In terms of application, this AI engine can accept inputs via text, voice and images, running LLM models at up to 20 tokens per second – apparently one of the fastest in the smartphone industry – and generating images via stable diffusion in less than a second.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 announcement - Phone playing a game next to Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 logo

The AI also feeds into gaming improvements, with Snapdragon Game Super Resolution upscaling games up to a maximum of 8K – allegedly without impacting overall performance or rinsing your battery life. The Snapdragon Elite Gaming suite also gets some upgrades, now supporting Qualcomm’s first in-mobile use of Unreal Engine 5.2, adding improved dynamic lighting via Global Illumination, 40% better ray-tracing and 240fps support when paired with 240Hz displays.

On the photography side of things, Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is adding Arcsoft’s Video Object Eraser, allowing you to edit out people and objects from your footage, much like Google’s Magic Eraser. There’s also Truepic photo capture with C2PA standard support, allowing you to capture images with a cryptographic seal in the metadata that confirms the authenticity of the photo. On the flip side of that, Truepic will also note when an image has been enhanced or altered by AI.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 announcement - Phone taking an AI photo next to Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 logo

Other inbound photography features include Photo Expansion, which uses AI to fill in the area around a captured image, to expand the scope of the shot. Vlogger’s View, which cuts you out from the selfie camera and pastes you in the rear camera viewfinder, is also available and should save you from having to integrate the two feeds in post.

Finally, looking at connectivity, the Qualcomm FastConnect 7800 Mobile Connectivity System once again supports Wi-Fi 7, but this time around the brand claims that it’s the world’s first 5G modem that uses integrated AI tensor hardware, promising better speeds, coverage, accuracy and mobility. It’s also apparently the only Wi-Fi system to support High-Band Simultaneous Multi-Link, which allegedly offers the double whammy of high speeds and low-latency.

The first flagship smartphones to run on Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 aren’t that far away – Qualcomm said we can expect to see them in the coming weeks. We’ll be putting the new chipset through its paces when we come to review the incoming wave of Snapdragon 8 Gen 3-powered flagships, so check back in soon to see what we make of Qualcomm’s latest mobile platform.

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