September 21, 2021

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Qualcomm has announced a $1500 phone for its biggest fans


Qualcomm has announced it is partnering with Asus to make an actual phone, filled to the brim with high-end Snapdragon tech.

If you scroll down our list of best Android phones then the likelihood is that most of them will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, whether it’s the high-end 888 or a more modest mid-range offering.

Now, Qualcomm is actually putting its own name on a special phone that’s designed for the brand’s biggest fans. As you’d probably expect, the oddly named Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders is packed with all sorts of Qualcomm tech and it comes with a number of extras to get the most from the large feature set.

Some of the highlights include a Snapdragon 888 chipset with support for all the 5G bands (both sub-6 and mmWave), Snapdragon Sound Technology and the second-generation 3D Sonic fingerprint sensor that’ll work with both wet and dry hands. While lots of other phones use Snapdragon chipsets, some of the other features are not often supported.

Inside the box you’ll find a pair of Master and Dynamic wireless ANC earbuds that support 24-bit, 96kHz music streaming. These buds are colour-matched to the phone. The box also includes a couple of braided cables, a bumper case and a 65w Quick Charge 5 power plug. With many phones shipping without any additional extras (hello iPhone 12) this is quite the box of extras.

Snapdragon phone for Insiders

The focus of this phone is clearly what it can do and the breadth of Qualcomm tech packed inside. The actual design seems to have taken a backseat. The is a very basic looking phone, with a notch-free 6.78-inch OLED display, blue colour scheme and dual stereo speakers. The only real flourish is the glowing Snapdragon logo on the back.

That OLED display is not only completely flat, but it packs HDR support, a reported 1200 nits of brightness and a 144Hz refresh rate that’s designed specifically for gamers. It’s also covered in Gorilla Glass Victus for added protection.

Snapdragon phone for Insiders

Inside the phone is, of course, the Snapdragon 888 chipset paired with 16GB RAM and 512GB storage. The 888 isn’t actually the top Snapdragon chipset, with the recently announced 888 Plus taking that price. However this phone was likely in development before that announcement and we don’t expect to see 888 Plus phones until later in the year.

There’s also a 4000mAh battery that Qualcomm says can be fully charged in under an hour thanks to the Quick Charge 5 tech.

For the software, the phone offers what Qualcomm calls a stock build of Android 11, without any bloatware or added skins. Expect to get four years of security updates, with Asus handling the OS updates.

The camera tech built into Qualcomm’s chip has improved drastically over the past few years and it’ll be interesting to find out how well it works with the sensors at play here. On the back you’ve got a Sony IMX686 64MP sensor, paired with a 12MP ultrawide and an 8MP tele with a 3x optical zoom. There’s support for video recording up to 8K at 30fps and a 24MP selfie camera.

The price for all this, including the accessories? A hefty $1500 (around £1088/€1264). That’s a lot of cash for a phone, but it doesn’t seem like Qualcomm wants this to be a mainstream success. Instead, it is purely aimed at its Insiders who want a phone that harnesses all the Qualcomm tech in its purest form. 

It’ll be available through the Asus online store in the US, Canada, UK, Japan and other regions beginning in August.



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