Unless they’re made by Apple, when you think about smartphones and tablets, chances are they’ve got a Qualcomm Snapdragon powering them. Generally speaking, when we rank devices they typically fall into one of those three categories: entry-level, entry level, midrange, and high-end. Oddly enough, Qualcomm’s SoCs are also segmented by device class, but Qualcomm opted for four tiers (rather than three), this can make it a little confusing to tell which category a device falls into – such is the case with the Snapdragon 6xx family.

Snapdragon 620According to Qualcomm, Snapdragon 6xx processors are designed to deliver outstanding performance for today’s coolest apps, fast web browsing, seamless connectivity, and great battery life for mid-high tier smartphones and tablets, and the Snapdragon 620 redefines the Snapdragon 6xx family with better performance, multimedia, gaming, and connectivity.

“Mid-high”, got that?

What’s interesting is that devices which would have been considered high-end or even flagships are starting to show up with Snapdragon 6xxs tucked under the covers instead of the 8xxs that we would have expected.

Should you opt for a Snapdragon 6xx in your next smartphone over an 8xx? Let’s take a look at the technical specifications and see how the Snapdragon 6xx family stacks up!

Snapdragon 600 615 618 620
CPU Quad-core Krait 300 up to 1.9 GHz quad-core Quad-core A53 at up to 1.7 GHz + quad-core A54 at 1.0GHz Dual-core A72 at 1.8GHz + quad-core A53 at 1.2GHz A53 Quad-core A72 at 1.8GHz + quad-core A53 at 1.2GHz
Architecture 32-bit 64-bit capable 64-bit 64-bit
GPU Adreno 320 GPU Adreno 405 GPU Adreno 510 Adreno 510
DSP Hexagon V40 DSP (up to 600MHz) Hexagon V50 DSP (up to 700MHz) Shared Modem & App DSP Hexagon V56 DSP Hexagon V56 DSP
WiFi 1-stream 802.11n/ac with MU-MIMO 1-stream 802.11n/ac with MU-MIMO 1-stream 802.11ac with MU-MIMO 1-stream 802.11ac with MU-MIMO
USB USB 2.0 USB 2.0 USB 2.0 USB 2.0
Bluetooth 4.0 4.0 Bluetooth Smart v4.1 Bluetooth Smart v4.1
Video 1080p HD video playback and capture with H.264 (AVC) 1080p60 playback with H.264 (AVC) & H.265 (HEVC) [email protected] capture / Hardware HEVC (H.265) encode & decode [email protected] capture / Hardware HEVC (H.265) encode & decode
Camera Up to 21MP Up to 21MP Dual ISPs can support up to 21MP & 930MP/sec throughput Dual ISPs can support up to 21MP ZSL @ 24fps & 930MP/sec throughput
Display Up to 2048×1536 Up to 2560×1600 Up to 2560×1600 Up to 2560×1600
Quick Charge Quick Charge 1.0 Quick Charge 2.0 Quick Charge 2.0 Quick Charge 2.0
Memory LPDDR3 533MHz Dual-channel 32-bit (6.4GBps) LPDDR3 800MHz Single-channel 32-bit (6.4GBps) Dual channel LPDDR3 (933MHz) Dual channel LPDDR3 (933MHz)

Snapdragon 620 User Experience

As you can see, the newer Snapdragons (618 and 620) include some pretty high-end specifications – dual-core and quad-core (respectively) at (up to) 1.8GHz, powerful graphics and digital signal processors, super-fast WiFi, and lots more. Other than processor clock speeds (which any self-respecting geek will tell you cannot be used as a 1-to-1 performance comparison), there’s not a big gap between “mid-high”-tier, and top-of-the-line. The advantages of the 6xx family over the 8xx family are price and power consumption (not to mention that no one has ever accused the Snapdragon 6xx family of overheating, like they have the 810). The disadvantages include a bit more processing speed, and bragging rights.

Looking at a lot of this year’s high-end, super thin phones, it seems like most of them include processors in the Snapdragon 6xx family. Looking at how those phones are stacking up, it looks like going for a Snapdragon 618 or 620 in your next phone would not only be a safe bet, it would likely be a great idea!

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