Cheaper Android phones are about to get smarter and more powerful

OnePlus has already confirmed a device using this new hardware

OnePlus Ace V3
(Image credit: OnePlus)
Quick summary

Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 7+ Gen 3 chip will bring better performance, Wi-Fi 7 and on-device AI to affordable mid-range Android phones.

OnePlus has already announced a phone using this new hardware, likely to be called the OnePlus Nord 4 outside China.

The mid-range segment of Android phones is hugely competitive, having closed the gap with flagship devices in many areas and offering customers great performance for the money. That performance just got a boost thanks to the latest Snapdragon hardware from Qualcomm.

The Snapdragon 7+ Gen 3 follows on from the Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 that was announced in November 2023. The new plus version of this hardware will bring experiences to mid-range devices that previously weren't possible. From a connectivity point of view it now supports Wi-Fi 7, for a better connection - if you have supporting hardware – while Qualcomm tells us it is better equipped to handle on-device AI tasks.

The Snapdragon 7+ Gen 3 supports on-device generative AI, including the likes of Meta's Llama 2 and Google's Gemini Nano. This could open up a range of AI experiences from the device for more dynamic apps and services.

But for many people, the advantages that come with Snapdragon 7+ Gen 3 will have nothing to do with AI and will simply come down to the fact that this hardware is more powerful than the previous 7-gen chip. The prime core in the CPU is bumped to 2.8GHz (compared to 2.63GHz), while there are four performance cores and three efficiency cores.

This all means that the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 3 is likely to handle tasks that require greater computing power better, like gaming or photo and video editing. It's likely that there will be an impact on battery life too, but the enhanced experiences may well make up for that.

The advantage of using Snapdragon 7-gen hardware over the flagship 8-gen hardware is the cost, bringing in this performance at a lower price. Qualcomm said that OnePlus, Realme and Sharp are confirmed for the new hardware and the first device has actually been announced in China.

That is the OnePlus Ace V3, a device with a 5,500mAh battery, 100W charging, a 6.74-inch display and 50-megapixel camera on the back, paired with an ultrawide lens.

This phone is likely to be rebranded as the OnePlus Nord 4 when it launches outside China. There's no word on when this might happen, but July is a safe bet, considering that's when the OnePlus Nord 3 was announced.

Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 was good hardware but wasn't widely used: hopefully, the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 3 will find its way into more impressive mid-range devices.

Chris Hall

Chris has been writing about consumer tech for over 15 years. Formerly the Editor-in-Chief of Pocket-lint, he's covered just about every product launched, witnessed the birth of Android, the evolution of 5G, and the drive towards electric cars. You name it and Chris has written about it, driven it or reviewed it. Now working as a freelance technology expert, Chris' experience sees him covering all aspects of smartphones, smart homes and anything else connected. Chris has been published in titles as diverse as Computer Active and Autocar, and regularly appears on BBC News, BBC Radio, Sky, Monocle and Times Radio. He was once even on The Apprentice... but we don't talk about that.