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Qualcomm’s $1,500 smartphone is for its biggest fans with more money than sense

Qualcomm — the corporate behind the Snapdragon processors and modems that energy nearly each main Android smartphone — is making its own phone. Or somewhat, the corporate is partnering with Asus on a customized machine formally known as the “Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders,” a $1,500 telephone that’s designed to showcase the chip firm’s expertise. And, because the title suggests, Qualcomm might be promoting the telephone on to members of its Snapdragon Insider fan community, which Qualcomm launched earlier this yr.

It’s an attention-grabbing concept, however sadly, the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders doesn’t seem like it does something totally different, with regards to really benefiting from Qualcomm’s expertise, than every other Android flagship — which is notably disappointing given the $1,500 price ticket.

The spec sheet right here follows with what you’d anticipate from a flagship Android telephone in 2021: the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders runs Android 11, has 512GB of storage, 16GB of RAM, a 6.78-inch, 144Hz Samsung OLED panel with Gorilla Glass Victus, and a rear fingerprint scanner (utilizing Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 expertise, in fact.) If any of that sounds acquainted, it’s seemingly as a result of the brand new Qualcomm-branded machine appears to share lots in frequent with Asus’ ROG Phone 5 Ultimate from earlier this yr.

The processor, naturally, is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888, which seems like a curious selection on condition that the corporate has already introduced a more powerful 888 Plus model. Given the mammoth price ticket and the promise of being an final Qualcomm telephone, it’s an odd miss for the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders.

The battery affords 4,000 mAh of energy, and isn’t the biggest we’ve seen in a smartphone, nevertheless it does help Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 5 standard, though not at its full potential, maxing out at 65W for charging, not the 100W-plus speeds the spec is theoretically able to.

The again of the telephone encompasses a triple digital camera setup, with acquainted elements from different Asus telephones. The primary digital camera encompasses a Sony IMX686 64-megapixel picture sensor — the identical present in last year’s Zenfone 7 Pro — whereas the ultrawide sensor makes use of an older 12-megapixel Sony IMX363 sensor (additionally utilized in earlier Asus telephones, as well as multiple Google Pixel phones.) Lastly, there’s an 8-megapixel telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom to spherical out the digital camera setup, and a 24-megapixel front-facing digital camera.

Qualcomm is promising that the triple digital camera array will provide a “professional-quality digital camera” expertise, nevertheless it gained’t push the Spectra 580’s triple ISP to its restrict, both. Whereas the telephone can shoot 8K at 30 frames per second, and 4K at 30 or 60FPS, it may’t handle taking pictures three simultaneous 4K HDR video streams or shoot three 28-megapixel pictures without delay — two of the biggest claims Qualcomm made when it launched the Snapdragon 888 final December.

The Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders might be one of many first telephones to supply Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Sound classification, which guarantees hi-fi music playback at as much as 24-bit 96kHz. Qualcomm is additionally together with some Grasp & Dynamic earbuds within the field to assist make the most of that; what seems to be a pair of MW08 earbuds with a Snapdragon emblem on them. (These headphones promote for $299 often, which can assist ease the sting of the $1,499 price ticket right here.)

One other space that the Snapdragon-branded telephone would possibly stand out is with 5G help. Qualcomm boasts that the telephone will provide “essentially the most complete help for all key 5G sub-6 and mmWavebands and combos in a single machine.” There’s additionally help for Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.2.

Along with the telephone and headphones, Qualcomm is additionally together with a 65W Fast Cost 5.0 cost, USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables, and a rubber bumper for the telephone. However even with all that, the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders seems like a tricky promote — there are many top-tier Android telephones that provide the identical (or higher) specs for far much less money, just like the OnePlus 9 Pro or Galaxy S21 Ultra.

It’s not even notably profitable at its major job as a Qualcomm showcase: the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders doesn’t function the corporate’s newest and best processor, and doesn’t push Qualcomm’s expertise additional than every other main Android telephone. Positive, it does have a glowing Snapdragon emblem on the again, however that hardly appears definitely worth the premium Qualcomm is asking its most enthusiastic fans to pay right here.

The Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders might be accessible this August within the US, China, UK, and Germany to start out, with launches for more areas within the works.

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