Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3: Everything you need to know

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Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 flagship processor at its annual Snapdragon Tech Summit event in Maui, on October 24. This is the third-generation of the Snapdragon 8, since Qualcomm moved to this new naming scheme. This is the new processor that you will find in most flagship smartphones going into the new year. And it’s a pretty powerful one.

These days, silicon doesn’t change a whole lot from year to year, in fact the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is still a 4nm chip, like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 was. But with Qualcomm, there’s a lot more in this chip than just processing power. In fact, this is the first chipset to be built meticulously for Generative AI.


Qualcomm claims that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is now 30% faster and 20% more efficient. But that’s only scratching the surface. Here, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile processor.

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Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 specs

The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 does have slightly faster clock speeds compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It’s still an eight-core processor here, using Qualcomm’s Kryo CPU cores. There are two efficiency cores that are clocked up to 2.3GHz, with five performance cores up to 3.2GHz. There’s also a prime core that is up to 3.3GHz. That is now the fastest clock speed we have seen on a mobile processor, which is rather impressive. Especially since this is still a very efficient processor.

The new Adreno GPU sports real-time hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing with Global Illumination. It also has support for Unreal Engine 5 Lumen Global Illumination and Reflections System. Snapdragon Game Super Resolution is here as well as HDR Gaming. Which is 10-bit color depth, Rec. 2020 color gamut. Making gaming on any Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 smartphone, an absolutely incredible experience.

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Improvements to the camera

It might sound a bit weird to talk about improvements to the camera, when we’re talking about a chipset. But the chipset is a big part of what cameras are in a phone. With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, it can support up to 200-megapixel photo capture. That’s not necessarily new since the Galaxy S23 Ultra on Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 could do this. But it is also supporting up to 108-megapixel single camera @ 30fps with Zero Shutter Lag. Up to 64+36 megapixel dual camera @ 30fps with Zero Shutter Lag, or up to 36-megapixel triple-cameras @ 30fps with Zero Shutter Lag.


Qualcomm has also included support for 4K video capture @ 120 fps, 8K HDR video capture @ 30 fps, and slow-mo video capture at 720p @ 960 fps. There’s also Night Vision video capture available with RAW AI Noise Reduction in 4K 60 fps, which is really impressive, at a processor level.

This is all part of Qualcomm’s new and improved Spectra ISP (Image Signal Processor). And it does also have support for DCG HDR image sensors, Staggered HDR image sensors, QDOL HDR image sensors, Less Blanking HDR image sensors and Multi-Frame HDR image sensors.

Of course, since the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is built for AI, there’s some AI parts to the Spectra ISP. That includes AI-based face detection, and AI for 3A (auto-focus, auto-exposure and auto-white balance).

New Snapdragon X75 5G Modem

Perhaps the most important part of the processor these days, the modem. With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Qualcomm is introducing a new Snapdragon X75 5G modem.

The Snapdragon X75 is 5G Advanced-ready, it does also have 5G mmWave and 5G sub-6 available. As well as 5G standalone and non-standalone modes, standalone mmWave and mmWave sub-6 dual connectivity. With FDD and TDD support too. This new modem can achieve downlink speeds of up to 10Gbps, and uplink speeds of up to 3.5Gbps. Keep in mind that these speeds are in perfect conditions in Qualcomm’s lab. And you’ll likely never see speeds that fast.

AI has leaked into the Snapdragon X75 5G modem as well, with the new Qualcomm 5G AI Suite Gen 2. Which includes Sensor-modem-RF solution for mmWave beam management, AI-enhanced channel state feedback, AI-enhanced antenna tuning, Qualcomm 5G AI processor Gen 2 with dedicated tensor hardware accelerator. Among many other features.


Finally, this modem does support 3GPP Release 17 and Release 18.

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What’s new in Snapdragon 8 Gen 3?

Many of the features on new smartphones are actually generated from the processor. Since the processor is essentially the brains of the device, it makes sense. So while many might think of the processor in gigahertz and megahertz, it’s actually a lot more than that now. So here’s what’s new in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.

Generative AI

Generative AI has been everywhere recently, and now it’s built-into the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. Qualcomm says that their first AI Engine to support multi-modal generative AI models. And this includes LLM (large language models), LVM (language vision models) and transformer network-based automatic speech recognition (ASR) at over 10B parameters – solely on device. So what does this mean for users? Well, that means that AI is going to get better, faster, and not require an internet connection. Since it can all be done on device.

The Qualcomm AI Engine also includes the world’s fastest stable diffusion which enables you to generate an image at a fraction of a second. So you can quickly generate multiple options to pick from or create various social media posts in an instant.

This is thanks to a 98% faster Qualcomm Hexagon NPU performance and up to 40% performance/watt. And up to 3.5x AI performance increase on the Qualcomm Sensing Hub. Basically the bottom line here is that AI is going to get better and faster, with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.

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Console-level gaming in your pocket

With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, you’re also getting console-level gaming in your pocket, thanks to the Snapdragon Elite Gaming features. Qualcomm actually claims that it is “console-defying”. And that’s just how good the graphics are with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.


Snapdragon Elite Gaming does include Hardware-Accelerated Ray Tracing with Global Illumination, which is a first-in-mobile feature. And that is thanks to the Unreal Engine 5.2. You can also get ultra-smooth and lag-free graphics at 240Hz on supported displays.

Qualcomm has also added Snapdragon Game Super Resolution, which will let you plug your phone into an external display and upscale to 8K resolution. Then there’s also the Adreno Frame Motion Engine 2.0 which is able to generate even higher quality scenes, by doubling the frame rate while maintaining the same power consumption.

Snapdragon Sight gains AI

AI is literally everywhere, including in Snapdragon Sight – the name that Qualcomm uses for its camera and ISP features. And this year, Qualcomm is adding Video Object Eraser by Arcsoft, which can remove unwanted people and objects in your video at the tap of a finger. There are also two always-sensing cameras in the front and back that allow for easy QR code scanning, face unlock and more.

One of the more interesting features here is the new Zoom Anyplace feature. This is powered by Samsung’s first 200-megapixel image sensor optimized for Snapdragon. This allows capture of multiple videos, object tracking and 2x and 4x zoom – all in 4K.

A couple of cooler features include Photo Expansion and Vloggers View. Photo Expansion intuitively extends a photo beyond what was actually captured. Which sounds a bit mind-blowing, but it is using AI to do this. The other is Vloggers View which lets you share both your selfie camera and rear camera video simultaneously, putting you in the action as you share and narrate.


When can we expect smartphones powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 3?

Qualcomm says that we can expect to see smartphones coming out powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in the next few weeks. While Qualcomm never mentions the exact device that’s coming, they prefer to leave that up to their partners. They have mentioned some names of companies preparing Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 products.

These names include ASUS, HONOR, iQOO, Meizu, NIO, Nubia, OnePlus, OPPO, realme, Redmi, RedMagic, Sony, vivo, Xiaomi and ZTE.

Obviously, there are two pretty big omissions there. Google and Samsung. Google will obviously continue using its Tensor chipsets, but the more surprising one here is Samsung. Especially given the recent rumors of Samsung going all-in on Exynos next year for the Galaxy S24. But don’t read to much into this. Since Samsung is never mentioned in these announcements, but they do generally use Snapdragon in their flagships, and last year they only used Snapdragon – no Exynos in the Galaxy S23 lineup until the Galaxy S23 FE came along.

So we should start seeing what the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is capable of in the real world, pretty soon, and well before CES in January.