It has been almost a year since the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 was officially announced — the first 400-series phone chipset to sport the 14nm manufacturing process. The chipset can now be found in many of the new smartphones such as the popular Moto G6 and the more recent Samsung Galaxy A6.
Another new midrange chipset is the Snapdragon 636. Thanks to its inclusion in a number of popular devices like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, the 636 has also been climbing up the popularity charts
So, it seems fair that we place both these mid-range chipsets in a ring and see which one comes comes out as the winner.
Specifications That Matter
8 x ARM Cortex-A53 Up to 1.8 GHz
8x Kryo 260 CPU up to 1.8 GHz
Up to FHD+ (18:9)
Up to FHD+ (18:9)
Up to 13 MP Dual Camera and 21 MP Single Camera
Up to 24MP Single Camera and 16MP Dual Camera
Qualcomm Hexagon 546
Qualcomm Hexagon 642
Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0
The Power War: Performance & Efficiency
The successor to the highly popular Snapdragon 630, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 is one of the newer processors in the 600 series. It's one of the first chipsets from Qualcomm to feature custom Kryo cores that undoubtedly help to raise the performance and efficiency levels.
Coming to the design and architecture, the 636 is designed using Samsung's 14nm LPP FinFET process and features Kryo 260 cores. In fact, it's one of the first mid-range chipsets to come with Kryo cores (the other one being the Snapdragon 660).
The Kryo cores are based on ARM's Cortex-A73 and Cortex-A53 cores. While the performance cores are a cluster of Cortex-A73s clocked at 2.2GHz, the efficiency cores comprise of four Cortex-A53 clocked at 1.7GHz.
Cool Fact: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 is 40% faster than the Snapdragon 630.
As opposed to the above architecture, though the Snapdragon 450 sports the 14-nanometre design process, it comprises of eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores instead of Kryo cores. The Cortex-A53 cores are clocked at 1.8 GHz.
The custom Kryo cores in the Snapdragon 636 are responsible for faster calculations and better task sharing capabilities when compared to the Snapdragon 450. If we talk numbers, the Cortex-A53s can offer up to 2.3 DMIPS/MHz (Dhrystone Millions of instructions per second) of performance while the Kyro 260 cores offer almost thrice the performance speed.
The Kyro 260 cores offer almost thrice the performance speed of the Cortex-A53s
The bottom line is that in spite of the same clocking speed, the Snapdragon 636's Kryo 260 cores give the much-needed punch to the CPU power and thus pushes it much ahead of the 450.
Cool Fact: The Snapdragon 450 is the only 400-series chipset supporting USB 3.0.
The Shutter Game: Camera
Spec-wise, the Snapdragon 450 has the support for a dual-camera setup of 13-megapixels each while on a single lens, it can go up to 21 megapixels. When it comes to the video capture and playback, it can play Full HD videos at 60 fps.
The Snapdragon 636 sees a slight bump in the camera specs. It can support a dual camera rig of 16-megapixels while the single-camera support is of 24 megapixels.
However, that's not all. When it comes to the camera quality, it's the lesser known details that widen the gap a bit more. For instance, the Snapdragon 636 integrates the in-house Spectra 160 ISP for active depth mapping.
Other than that, both the Snapdragon 636 and 450 combine dual Image Sensor Processor (ISP) and Qualcomm Clear Sight for dual cameras. For those who are unaware, this cool technology helps to capture more light in low-light areas, reducing noise. It's worth noting that the Snapdragon 450 is the first 400-series chipset to support real-time bokeh effects
Connectivity & Charging Speed
Being a newer processor, the Snapdragon 636 sports a swath of new features like Bluetooth 5.0 and Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0. Even though the 450 chipset is just a year old, it still uses Quick Charge 3.0, however, that's a compromise that comes with the mid-range price tag.
On the connectivity end, the 636 sports the Snapdragon X12 LTE modem which is capable of download speeds up to 600 Mbps and upload speeds up to 150 Mbps. As opposed to this, the 450 features the much-older X9 LTE modem. Though the peak download speed remains same at 150 Mbps, the download speed is throttled at 300 Mbps.
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The Gist of the Story
So, how good is the new Snapdragon 450 mobile platform?
Well, for starters the Snapdragon 450 is pretty good for a 400-series processor, however, when it drills down to details, it can't match up to the Kryo cores of the Snapdragon 636.
Also, if we were to compare the benchmark scores, there is a significant difference between the two chipsets. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro powered with the Snapdragon 636 scored 112649 points while the Samsung Galaxy A6+ scored around 70631 points on AnTuTu, which is a big difference, given that both the phones ship with custom UI.
With almost the same specs, the 450 can at best be described as a toned down version of the older Snapdragon 625.