Qualcomm’s had a busy 18 months and shows no signs of relenting. The chip-maker has now revealed its latest SoC, the Snapdragon 690, and it’s designed with the sole purpose of bringing 5G to cheaper Android phones…

Up to now, if you wanted a 5G phone you’d have to pay “flagship money” – anywhere from $700 to $1200. The main reason for this is because Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 is expensive. That’s why we got the Snapdragon 765G which will apparently be appearing inside the Google Pixel 5.

But even then, you’re still looking at anywhere from $500 to $700 for a phone with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G. This is the new “mid-range” but it is still pretty expensive, especially for the hundreds of millions of users around the globe that cannot afford $600-$700 for a phone.

Meet The Snapdragon 690, Qualcomm’s Solution For Cheap 5G Phones


Well, this is where the newly minted Snapdragon 690 comes into play. Positioned below the Snapdragon 765G and 765, the 690 will be aimed squarely at cheap, low-end Android phones – phones that retail for as little as $250-$300 a pop. And like the 865 and 765G, it will support 5G.

The release of the 690 will herald a new era for 5G phones. In the not too distant future, like a couple of months from now, you’ll be able to pick up a 5G Android phone for in and around $300. My guess is brands like RealMe and VIVO, as well as Xiaomi, will be ALL over this new chipset.

Snapdragon 690 Specs & Features

Here’s the official specs-list for the Snapdragon 690 via Qualcomm’s product page:

Qualcomm AI Engine

  • Adreno 619L GPU
  • Kryo 560 CPU
  • Hexagon 692 Processor
  • Hexagon Scalar Accelerator
  • Qualcomm® Hexagon™ Vector eXtensions (HVX)
  • Hexagon Tensor Accelerator
  • Qualcomm Sensing Hub
  • Ultra-low-power hub for audio, voice, and sensors
  • Supports AI algorithms at low power
  • Support for fusing contextual data streams including sensors, audio, and voice
  • Supports multiple voice assistants
  • Multi-mic far-field detection and echo cancellation
  • 5G Modem-RF System

Snapdragon X51 5G Modem-RF System

  • 5G standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) modes, FDD, TDD
  • Dynamic Spectrum Sharing
  • Sub-6 GHz: 100 MHz bandwidth, 4×4 MIMO
  • Qualcomm 5G PowerSave
  • Qualcomm® Smart Transmit™ technology
  • Qualcomm Wideband Envelope Tracking
  • Qualcomm® Signal Boost adaptive antenna tuning
  • Global 5G multi-SIM
  • Downlink: Up to 2.5 Gbps (5G), 1.2 Gbps (LTE)
  • Uplink: Up to 660 Mbps (5G), 210 Mbps (LTE)
  • Multimode support: 5G NR, LTE including CBRS, WCDMA, HSPA, TD-SCDMA, CDMA 1x, EV-DO, GSM/EDGE
  • Wi-Fi & Bluetooth

FastConnect 6200 System

  • Wi-Fi Standards: Wi-Fi 6-ready (802.11axready), 802.11ac Wave 2, 802.11a/b/g, 802.11n
  • Wi-Fi Spectral Bands: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
  • Channel Utilization: 20/40/80 MHz
  • MIMO Configuration: 2×2 (2-stream) with MU-MIMO
  • 8-stream sounding (for 8×8 MU-MIMO)
  • Wi-Fi Security: WPA3-Enterprise, WPA3-Enhanced Open, WPA3 Easy Connect, WPA3-Personal
  • Target Wake Time (TWT)
  • Integrated Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth version: 5.1
  • Bluetooth audio: Qualcomm TrueWireless™ Technology, aptX Adaptive

Qualcomm Spectra 355L Image Signal Processor

  • Dual 14-bit ISPs
  • Up to 192 MP snapshot capture (up to 48 MP snapshot capture with MFNR)
  • Up to 32+16 MP dual camera @ 30 FPS with Zero Shutter Lag
  • Rec. 2020 color gamut/10-bits per color video capture
  • Slow-mo video capture at 720p @ 240 FPS
  • HEIF: HEIC photo capture, HEVC video capture
  • Video Capture Formats: HDR10, HLG
  • 4K HDR Video Capture with Portrait Mode (Bokeh)
  • Multi-frame Noise Reduction (MFNR)
  • Hexagon Voice Assistant Accelerator for hardware-accelerated voice signal processing
  • Qualcomm Aqstic™ audio codec (up to WCD9385)
  • Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N), Playback: -108dB
  • Native DSD support, PCM up to 384 kHz/32-bit
  • Customizable “Golden Ears” filter
  • Qualcomm Aqstic smart speaker amplifier (up to WSA8815)

Maximum On-Device Display Support:

  • FHD+ @ 120 Hz
  • Maximum External Display Support:
  • QHD @ 60 Hz
  • 10-bit color depth, Rec. 2020 color gamut
  • HDR10 and HDR10+


  • Kryo 560, Octa-core CPU
  • Up to 2.0 GHz
  • 64-bit Architecture
  • Visual Subsystem

Adreno 619L GPU

  • Vulkan® 1.1 API support
  • 4K HDR10 PQ and HLG Video Playback (10-bit color depth, Rec. 2020 color gamut)
  • H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC) VP8 and VP9 playback
  • Physically Based Rendering
  • API Support: OpenGL® ES 3.2, OpenCL™ 2.0 FP, Vulkan 1.1, DirectX 12


  • Biometric Authentication: Fingerprint, Iris, Voice, Face
  • On-Device: Qualcomm® Mobile Security, Key Provisioning Security, Qualcomm® Processor Security,
  • Qualcomm® Content Protection, Qualcomm® Trusted Execution Environment, Camera Security Secure
  • Camera, Crypto Engine, Malware Protection, Secure Boot, Secure Token
  • GPS, Glonass, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS, NavIC, and SBAS
  • Dual Frequency Support
  • Low Power Geofencing and Tracking, Sensor-assisted Navigation
  • Near Field Communications (NFC): Supported

General Specifications

  • Memory Speed: up to 1866 MHz, 8 GB RAM
  • Memory Type: 2 x 16-bit, LPDDR4x
  • Near Field Communications (NFC) support
  • DisplayPort over USB Type-C support
  • 8 nm Process Technology
  • Part Number: SM6350

As you can, the 690 covers A LOT of ground with its specs and features. You have support for up to 8GB of RAM, WiFi 6, and up to 48MP image capture to pull just a few highlights from the list of specs above. The main event, however, is its inclusion of 5G support via Qualcomm’s integrated Snapdragon X51 5G modem-RF system, as well as its support for 120Hz displays.

Bottom line? Cheap Android phones are about to get A LOT better. Expect the first phones carrying Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 690 to drop very soon…

And be sure to check out Does Apple Make Their Own Processors?