The Qualcomm Snapdragon 215 brings high-tech features to budget phones

Qualcomm wants to make ultra-affordable smartphones a little more powerful. The company has taken the wraps off of the latest addition to the Snapdragon 200 series — the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 215.

The new chip is aimed at offering more advanced features in a budget chip, and acts as the successor to the Snapdragon 212. According to Qualcomm, the chip introduces new tech that previously hasn’t been available in the 200 series, including the fact that it’s the first 64-bit processor in the series.

What does that mean? When it comes to raw processing power, the Snapdragon 212 is a hefty 50% faster than the previous-generation Snapdragon 212, meaning that budget handsets may be able to handle a lot more at a time. Processing power aside, however, the chip supports some more advanced features, too — like dual image signaling processors, meaning that it can support a dual-sensor camera. That’s also a first for a 200-series processor. Along with that, the chip can also support an HD+ resolution.

Qualcomm is quick to point out other “firsts” for the Snapdragon 215. For example, this is the first chip in the series to support 1,080p video capture, and it’s the first to support dual SIM cards with dual voice over LTE. Last but not least, the chip is the first to support NFC payments on Android, so you can use a 200-series chip for Google Pay.

The Snapdragon 215 supports 64-bit versions of Android, including Android Go, which is the low-power version of Android that runs lightweight apps like Google Maps Go and YouTube Go.

The chip also features the Snapdragon X5 modem, which allows for LTE download speeds of up to an impressive 150Mbps. Another first for the series is that the inclusion of this modem allows for the chip to connect to Wi-Fi 802.11ac, also known as Wi-Fi 5.

Overall, the upgrade seems like a natural progression for the 200 series. Generally, phones that have 200-series chips range in price up to around $150. Phones that had the Snapdragon 212 include the likes of the Nokia 2, which was a popular budget device, though it has since been replaced by the Nokia 2.2, which has a MediaTek processor.

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