In the last 6 months, there have been a bunch of phones which have launched with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 730 or 730G system-on-chip (SoC) that have cost upwards of Rs 15,000. More or less, these phones have been stellar as luminaries like the Poco X2, Xiaomi Redmi K20, and Realme X2 have utilised this chip to great effect. Most of the focus here has been on gaming performance but on a budget which is even reflective in the Mediatek Helio GT90 processor on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro. Now, there are going to be phones using a new Qualcomm chip — the Snapdragon 720G — which I believe are going to be better for the Indian consumers. Already, the Realme 6 Pro has landed and many believe, the incoming Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro will also be equipped with the same. These phones could be better.
- The Snapdragon 720G has a higher clock speed than the 730G. It has a 2.3GHz clock speed vs 2.2GHz while being built on the same 8nm manufacturing process. This means the CPU of the 720G can run faster. It even gets the same Adreno 618 GPU which means gaming performance will be more or less the same. Basically, the performance of the 720G is slightly better than the 730G.
- This notion is also certified by the analysis by tech website TechPP which has run benchmark tests comparing the Snapdragon 720G powered Realme 6 Pro, the Snapdragon 730G powered Poco X2 and the MediaTek Helio GT90 powered Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro. The 720G is either faster in most scenarios or close enough.
- The bigger deal about the Indian market is the price — the Snapdragon 720G is cheaper for manufacturers to use in their phones compared to the 730G which makes for more affordable smartphones. Already the Realme 6 Pro has been launched and one can imagine the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro which has been teased will undercut it.
- The addition of ISRO’s GPS equivalent NaVIC in this chipset means more accurate location triangulation on the Snapdragon 720G phones. This means if you’re going to be using Google Maps or Ubering, this phone will lock-in your position faster and tighter. This works in-concert with 7 satellites that ISRO has deployed independently of the GPS and GLONASS satellites.
- Of all the higher-end mid-range processors — the Snapdragon 730G, MediaTek Helio GT90, the 720G will likely be the most power-efficient of the lot. Why so? Firstly, the 8nm process makes it more efficient than the GPU heavy and 12nm Helio GT90. Over the 730G, the addition of NaVIC in India will make it more efficient at hunting for location while using Google Maps, Uber or even for something as simple as a Facebook check-in. Location triangulation takes a massive chunk of battery life out.
The reason that the Snapdragon 720G is cheaper than the 730G is that it adds a lot of features that phones in the Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 price point don’t use. For instance, a simple thing like support for UFS 3.1 memory, which isn’t there in the Snapdragon 720G. Now support is nice for this feature but it also needs to be complimented expensive memory which drives the cost of the phone. This is why you never see a phone with UFS 3.0 or 3.1 storage on a cheap phone. There are many examples like this.
The 720G is an example of a chip that has been designed for India keeping in mind the requirements of Indian smartphone manufacturers. It hits the right performance specs while not going overboard with features that aren’t used.
Sure, it may not have the same GPU as the MediaTek Helio GT90, but then again the trade-off is going to be on the battery life, camera ISP, and general optimisation of applications which run generally better on Qualcomm silicon.