Qualcomm launches 4nm Snapdragon W5 and W5+ Gen 1 chips for wearable devices

Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 Launched
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Qualcomm unveiled two new wearable processors, the Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 and the W5+ Gen 1. These chips, which replace the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ platform, are based on a more efficient 4nm process. It appears to be a significant step forward for Qualcomm, so let’s take a look at what the chips have to offer.

Qualcomm Snapdragon W5, W5+ Gen 1 Overview:

First and foremost, the “Snapdragon Wear” branding is being phased out. As a result, the new processors will be part of the main Snapdragon lineup. Despite this, the Snapdragon W5 and W5+ Gen 1 are still designed for wearable devices.

Smaller Size, Bigger Performance

Qualcomm’s new wearable processors use a 4nm process. This is a significant improvement over the previous generation chips which were built on top of a 12nm process. Because of the smaller footprint, the processing is faster, there is less heat, and power consumption is lower.

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Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 and W5+ Gen 1 Specs

According to the chip manufacturer, the size reduction will provide twice the performance while using half the power. Furthermore, Qualcomm claims that the battery life will be 50% longer than that of wearables with Snapdragon Wear 4100+.

Moreover, Qualcomm is working closely with Google to optimize WearOS for their SoCs for better performance and battery life.

W5 Gen 1 vs. W5+ Gen 1

The presence of a 22nm secondary AON Co-Processor on the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 is what sets it apart from the W5 Gen 1. The coprocessor manages background tasks, allowing the main processor to intervene only when necessary to save power.

Tasks such as speech processing, audio playback, and notifications will be handled by the secondary coprocessor. This implementation translates to 57% lower power consumption according to Qualcomm.

Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 vs. Snapdragon Wear 4100+

The W5+ Gen 1 features four Cortex A53 cores and a Cortex M55 efficiency core clocked at 250MHz. The A702 GPU has a clock speed of 1GHz which is significantly faster than the 320 MHz A504 GPU on the 4100+ platform.

Moreover, Qualcomm has introduced a new Machine Learning unit U55 alongside support for faster 2133MHz LPDDR4 memory. The AON chip will also enable low-power Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi, and GNSS. Similarly, the new modem supports all frequency bands and a low-power mode.

Upcoming Smartwatches with Snapdragon W5, W5+ Gen 1

The Oppo Watch 3 (releasing in August) will be the first smartwatch to use the new W5 Gen 1 processor. Similarly, Mobvoi intends to release a new TicWatch with the W5+ Gen 1 later this year.

According to Qualcomm, there are currently 25 designs in the pipeline across segments based on the new platforms.

  • Meanwhile, check out our list of best mid-range smartwatches of 2022.