Mid-range Android phones are about to get a serious performance upgrade

The Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 is going to drastically improve the performance of the best cheap phones

The Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 on a phone in a city
(Image credit: Qualcomm)

When you look at the spec sheets of the best Android phones, there's a common theme. In the box labelled 'processor' you'll find numerous examples are powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset.

That's hardly surprising. Qualcomm's best chipsets have been under the hood of top handsets for generations, and this is undoubtedly the best one they've ever released. Built on a 4nm fabrication process, the 8 Gen 2 offers improved performance and efficiency across CPU, GPU and AI-processing, for truly impressive performance.

Now, Qualcomm's mid-range chipsets are getting a similar treatment with the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2. The 7 series chips have powered a host of the best cheap phones in the past, including the Nothing Phone (1) and the Xiaomi 12 Lite.

And it's the handsets in that price bracket which stand to gain the most here, with a host of updates that will be very welcome on more affordable devices. In similar fashion to the 8 Gen 2, those updates boost performance and efficiency across the device.

The Kryo CPU sees up to 50% increased performance over the previous generation, while the Adreno GPU and the AI Engine both see a 2x performance improvement. That GPU performance is even better on sustained sessions, too, with up to 65% higher performance than competitors. Qualcomm says that will allow users to game for over 40 minutes, without experiencing frame rate degradation.

Powering great gaming phones has clearly been a key mission for Qualcomm here. Auto Variable Rate Shading allows the GPU to better allocate its resources, reducing the workload placed on the GPU without sacrificing the overall look and feel of the game. Plus, Volumetric Rendering means larger environments look more realistic.

aptX Lossless audio means music sounds superb. Plus, Qualcomm's High Speed Link ensures low latency and minimal drop-out's when using wireless earbuds

Camera performance gets a boost too, moving from a 14-bit triple ISP system on its predecessor to an 18-bit triple ISP system here. That allows for 4,000x more data to be captured, offering extreme dynamic range, vivid colours and up to 200MP shots. 

It also allows for what Qualcomm are calling 'Mega Low Light' photos – night photography, to you or I – in a level of detail never seen on a mid-range handset before. The camera can take up to 30 different images and merge them to create the best looking low light shots. The results look brilliant – I really hope we see that translate onto the handsets this chip will power.

And that's just the highlights – there's a whole host of other improvements to the AI-system, connectivity and security too. In short, this update feels pretty ground breaking, and should herald a new era for affordable phones. 

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at T3.com, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.