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Qualcomm's new flagship chip loads apps 10 percent faster

Engadget Engadget 31/08/2016 Steve Dent

Qualcomm has unveiled more details about its flagship Snapdragon 821 processor that we first saw in July. It's intended to fill the gap until a future next-gen chip comes along, so performance improvements over the Snapdragon 820 (used in Samsung's Galaxy Note 7) are decent, but not amazing. CPU performance is better across the board, with boot times, app loading and overall performance up to 10 percent faster.

New UI optimizations also bring "smoother scrolling and more responsive browsing performance," Qualcomm says. Adreno GPU performance is up five percent, which will help games and VR run smoother. Despite those gains, your phone's battery should last about 5 percent longer overall.

Smartphones using the chip will be compatible with Google's Daydream VR system, though that's not a surprise considering that Snapdragon 820 devices are also compatible. To make it easier for VR developers to get on board, Qualcomm is releasing an SDK for the chip that "supports a superior level of visual and audio quality and more immersive virtual reality and gaming experiences," it says.

Other features include Dual PDAF (phase detection auto-focus) support for quicker smartphone camera focusing and improved laser focus accuracy compared to the Snapdragon 820. The first smartphone to get the chip, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe, has both laser and dual PDAF, both of which boast .03 second autofocus times. Qualcomm didn't reveal any new devices that will pack the chip, but with IFA 2016 in full swing, don't be surprised to hear more announcements in the coming days.

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