Android phones could suddenly be even cheaper following major announcement

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8S Gen 3 is designed to be high-end but less costly to phone-makers producing Android handsets

Motorola Edge 40 Pro
(Image credit: Motorola)

It was in late October of last year that a major announcement showed us the future of what the best Android phones would be able to offer: out in Hawaii at its annual Snapdragon Summit conference, Qualcomm revealed the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 platform to the world. And, you guessed it, now there's another new big reveal. 

Well, not quite as big, rather a new tier to the platform from the chip-maker which gives potential for Android flagships of the near future to be even cheaper. How so? It's down to the all-new Snapdragon 8S Gen 3 – don't blink or you'll miss that all-important 'S' in the name – which has just been revealed (although not from sunny island climes).

You're likely familiar with Qualcomm Snapdragon by name already, as the company powers many of the best phones you can buy right now. That includes an important ongoing partnership with Samsung (although not all Galaxy S24 handsets were Qualcomm-powered, meaning that future is unknown), so expect new flagship-grade offerings from a variety of key phone makers in the coming months.

Snapdragon 8S Gen 3: what's different?

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8S Gen 3

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

The Snapdragon 8S Gen 3 is designed to sit above the year-and-a-bit-old Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, but below the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 proper. It's ultimately designed to slip into that gap in the market where manufacturers want to offer the utmost – but without passing on the biggest costs to their customers.

At launch the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 boasted improving compute (CPU) by 30%, power efficiency by 20%, and graphics (GPU) by 25% compared to the previous Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. Now the 8S variant won't be able to reflect those figures (Qualcomm isn't quoting them either), but it is built on the same architecture, albeit with a different arrangement of prime, performance and efficiency cores, plus different GPU and a lower memory interface pipeline maximum speed. There's a table below to present the key differences in raw numbers.

That new structure doesn't prevent offering the majority of same features, though, from camera to artificial intelligence (AI), to gaming. The NPU (neural processing unit) on board Snapdragon 8S Gen 3 means on-device AI processes are possible, which is what many manufacturers are really pushing in 2024. Qualcomm has teased plenty of examples already, too, and we've seen increasing real examples, such as Circle to Search from Google.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8S Gen 3

(Image credit: Qualcomm)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Snapdragon 8 Gen 3Snapdragon 8S Gen 3
Prime Core: 1x 3.2GHz1x 3.0GHz
Performance Cores:5x 3.2GHz4x 2.8GHz
Efficiency Cores: 2x 2.3GHz3x 2.0GHz
GPU: Adreno 750Adreno 735
Memory interface:4.8GBps max4.2GBps max

Which phones will have Snapdragon 8S Gen 3?

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8S Gen 3

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

While the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 reveal also came with the message that "Asus, Honor, iQOO, Meizu, NIO, Nubia, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Redmi, RedMagic, Sony, Vivo, Xiaomi, ZTE" would be partners, there's no such specific message regarding the Snapdragon 8S Gen 3 announcement. 

That ultimately means we're guessing as to which manufacturers will drive this kind of chipset tier into their devices. Roughly speaking, however, we're likely talking those products in the £/$500-800 range, the kind of sub-flagships that Motorola, OnePlus and other makers are renowned for making. 

That's where price is king – although for now we'll have to wait and see what comes of this new chipset and its targets. While having an 'S' variant in lower-grade Snapdragon processors has made sense in the past, adding it to the flagship tier may only confused customers – especially if a higher-spec 'plus' variant arrives in the near future...

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor at He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 years and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone too (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech and audio aficionado his beat at T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a tech stone unturned he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.