Last year Qualcomm launched its Snapdragon 765 and 765G processors with integrated 5G modems, a move that helped to bring 5G support to phones cheaper than your typical flagship. Now Qualcomm is working to bring 5G to even more people with another new chip.
The Snapdragon 690 is now official as the first 6-series processor from Qualcomm with 5G support. It includes a Snapdragon X51 5G modem that supports sub-6GHz 5G, though there's no mmWave support here. However, Qualcomm does boast that the Snapdragon 690 supports TDD, FDD, and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing for global 5G coverage.
5G isn't the only new feature that the Snapdragon 690 brings to the 6-series for the first time. There's also support for 4K HDR video recording as well as 120Hz refresh rate support, both of which are also appearing for the first time in a 6-series chip from Qualcomm.
When it comes to raw performance, Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon 690 and its Kryo 560 CPU offers 20% faster performance over its predecessor, the Snapdragon 675. The Adreno 619L GPU included with the Snapdragon 690 offers up to 60% faster graphics rendering compared to the Snapdragon 675, too.
The Snapdragon 690 also includes support for capturing up to 192MP photos, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, and and support for fingerprint, iris, voice, and face security. There's also Quick Charge 4+ fast charging tech to help recharge your phone more quickly.
Qualcomm says we can expect to begin seeing phones launch with the Snapdragon 690 in the second half of 2020. Device makers like HMD Global, LG, Motorola, Sharp, TCL, and Wingtech have committed to launching new smartphones with the Snapdragon 690.
The Snapdragon 690 looks like it could be a big deal for the mid-range smartphone market. Not only will it bring 5G to lower-cost devices, enabling more people to access 5G, but it also will enable support for flagship-tier features on those devices. The display with a 120Hz refresh rate is one of the trendier features that we're seeing on flagship phones lately, and the Snapdragon 690 will bring that down to more affordable mid-range devices.