New details of the up-and-coming Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 5100 chipset have been revealed, and it looks like we are in for another lacklustre chipset from Qualcomm.
With Samsung moving over to Wear OS and the introduction of the new Samsung Exynos W920, I had hoped we would see Qualcomm up their game in the wearables market.
Arm Cortex-A53 not Cortex-A73
Early rumours had indicated that the new Snapdragon Wear 5100 would switch to the Cortex-A73 based cores, which would allow them to offer a significant performance advantage over the Arm Cortex A55 on the Samsung Exynos W920.
The new leak now suggests that Qualcomm will be sticking with the four Cortex-A53 cores, which are featured on the Snapdragon Wear 4100 series chipsets as well as the Samsung Exynos 9110 that was launched in 2019. The Wear 4100+ clocked its cores at 1.7Ghz, and it is currently unknown if this frequency will change.
It is not all about performance with wearables, the main issue I have with Wear OS is the poor battery life, and the switch to the Cortex-A73 may not have been good for this.
However, the Cortex-A55 cores on the Samsung Exynos W920 deliver up to 18% more performance at 15% better power efficiency when compared to the Cortex-A53, according to Arm. Furthermore, the Exynos W920 is built on the 5nm fabrication process, whereas the current Snapdragon Wear 4100 uses the less power efficient 12nm process.
At the moment, it is unclear what fabrication process the new Snapdragon Wear 5100 will use, it is currently believed to be either an unspecified Samsung fabrication process (hopefully 5nm) or possibly China’s SMIC who may be able to produce sub-10nm chips.
The new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 5100 will continue to use a coprocessor which was first introduced with the Snapdragon Wear 3100 which had the QCC1110 Cortex M0. The Wear 4100+ then used a new enhanced version of that Cortex M0, but it wasn’t clear what the difference was.
Lastly, it looks like the Wear 5100 will shift away from LPDDR3 and implement the faster LPDDR4X. It is reported that Qualcomm has been testing configurations of 2GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 8GB or 16GB of eMMC storage.
The Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform has been out for a year now, and up until this week, it was only Ticwatch that had devices using it. The new Fossil Gen 6 has now just been announced that will use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100+.
So, even if the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 5100 chipset gets announced soon, it seems unlikely that there will be a quick uptake from devices makers to implement it. This will inevitably leave the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 as the best Wear OS watch for the foreseeable future.
Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 5100 vs Snapdragon Wear 4100 vs Samsung Exynos W920 Specifications
|Snapdragon Wear |
|Snapdragon Wear |
|Samsung Exynos W920||Exynos 9110|
|First announced||Not announced||June 2020||August 11, 2021||August 9, 2019|
Possibly Samsung 5nm
|12nm||5nm EUV||10 nm (0.01 μm, 1.0e-5 mm)|
|Clock Speed||?||1.7||?||1.15 GHz|
|Core name||ARM Cortex A53||ARM Cortex A53||Cortex-A55||Cortex-A53|
|CPU Architecture||64 bit||64 bit||64 bit||64 bit|
|Integrated gpu||Adreno 504?||Adreno 504|
|Arm Mali-G68 GPU||Mali-T720 MP1?|