Qualcomm Snapdragon 215

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The flagship Snapdragon 800 series gets all the press attention and yearly upgrades but sitting at the bottom rung of the ladder is the Snapdragon 200 series, and the poor Snapdragon 212 hasn’t had an upgrade since 2005.

It has finally received a bit of TLC while introducing anything particularly impressive it is a sizable upgrade from the ageing Snapdragon 212. This range is very much the entry level of the market, the only notable SD212 phone is the Nokia 2 that was launched almost two years ago and sells for about £80.

The Snapdragon 215 is a significant upgrade over the Snapdragon 212 as it now has a 64-bit CPU, a faster GPU and support for dual cameras.

The new chipset is built on the old 28nm node just like the SDM 212. The difference is in the cores. The new CPU features four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.3GHz which is a similar specification to the ultra cheap RPi 3. Unlike the SD 212 chipset which had four Cortex-A7 cores. According to ARM, the Cortex-A53 cores are 50% faster than the four A7 cores inside the old chipset. Being 64-bit is the bigger upgrade, however, as it should massively improve compatibility with new versions of Android, considering that 32-bit Snapdragon 212-powered models like the Nokia 2 couldn’t make it past Android Oreo.

The new chipset also features the Adreno 308 GPU which is the same GPU on the Snapdragon 425 chipset (which has also been upgraded to the SD429). Qualcomm claims the GPU delivers a modest 28% boost over the Adreno 304 GPU on the SD212.

The Snapdragon 215 is suspiciously similar in spec to the Snapdragon 425 being on 0.1Ghz slower but using the same GPU and CPU.

The SD429 still uses Cortex-A53 but this uses 4 cores up to 1.95 GHz. The biggest upgrade for that chipset is the GPU which is now Adreno 504 (HD / HD+)

In addition, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 215 comes with a dual ISP, the first Snapdragon 200-series model to have such. The dual ISP significantly improves camera support. The Snapdragon 215 can handle one 13MP camera or two 8MP modules, so phones can have a telephoto camera or a depth sensor. Further, the chipset also supports an upgraded 1080p video recording. The SD212 only supports a single 8MP sensor and 720p video recording.

The new processor supports a maximum display resolution of 720p. The aspect ratio isn’t restricted to 16:9 like the SD212 but also includes 19:9 aspect ratio support (1,560 x 720). 

While Wi-Fi 6 is starting to make its way to the mainstream, the SD212 was restricted to Wi-Fi 4 or 802.11n. The SD213 has had a welcome upgrade to Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and it now has Bluetooth 4.2 plus NFC should work with Android Pay.

The one strange spec is the downgrade from Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 to 1.0

Launch Date2015201920162018
Fabrication Process28 nm LP28 nm LP29 nm LP12 nm FinFET
CPU4 cores up to 1.3 GHz Cortex-A74 cores up to 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53 4 cores up to 1.4 GHz Cortex-A534 cores up to 1.95 GHz Cortex-A53
GPUAdreno 304 (WXGA / 720p)Adreno 308 (HD+)Adreno 308 (HD @60fps)Adreno 504 (HD / HD+)
DSPHexagon 536HexagonHexagon 536Hexagon 536
ISPUp to 8 MP cameraUp to 13 MP camera / 8 MP dualUp to 16 MP cameraUp to 16 MP camera / 8 MP dual
MemoryLPDDR2/3 Single-channel 533 MHzLPDDR3 Single-channel 672 MHz 3 GBLPDDR3 Single-channel 667 MHzLPDDR3
ModemX5 LTEX5 LTE (Cat 4: download up to 150 Mbit/s, upload up to 50 Mbit/s)X6 LTE (download: Cat 4, up to 150 Mbit/s; upload: Cat 5, up to 75 Mbit/s)X6 LTE (download: Cat 4, up to 150 Mbit/s; upload: Cat 5, up to 75 Mbit/s)
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.1 + BLE, 802.11n (2.4 GHz)Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Beidou, GPS, GLONASS, USB 2.0Bluetooth v4.1, 802.11ac with Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO), IZat Gen8CBluetooth 5, 802.11ac Wi-Fi up to 364 Mbit/s, USB 2.0
Quick Charge2123

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