The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 promises to revolutionize mobile photography and video, and we tested it to see if it’s true


As you already know, if you’re into microchips, Qualcomm just introduced the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. It’s the company’s most powerful processor yet and it’s the one we’ll have in TOP phones from. 2022.

Xiaomi, with the Xiaomi 12, and Motorola, with the Edge X30, are fighting to be the first company with a mobile with this SoC, but while waiting to have a final device in hand, we take advantage of some demonstrations of the capabilities of this. chip.

In the SoC presentation, we told you that the camera is going to be one of the big beneficiaries on mobile phones with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 because artificial intelligence will be more efficient and powerful thanks to the new NPU, but also thanks to the three ISPs.

Modern cell phone cameras are better than the professional cameras of a few years ago. It is important to know the types of photographic planes, to take advantage of the different objectives.

And that’s it, SD 8 Gen 1 integrates three ISPs, the processor that is responsible for … well, processing all the data from the shots to generate computational images with greater clarity, richer colors, less noise, and so on.

And in addition to improving the image, this computing capacity thanks to the hardware, allows different implementations of image capture via software. We tested Qualcomm’s cell phone proposals with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 And then we’ll tell you what they are and what we’ve found.

Content index:

Video bokeh, Android’s “cinematic mode”

As you have seen in the index, there are several demos we attended and what we were able to do firsthand to see how the result was.

The bad thing is that, as usually happens in this type of event, we were not able to pass the photos and videos to upload a “live stream” with which we can check the quality of the shots in detail, but good, unless we can tell you about the functions and technologies.

The first thing is that there were two phones: the one with its own camera module, developed by Qualcomm, and those with more normal cameras.

The first is only used for the panorama demo which we will talk about later and the rest of the mobiles seem more “standard” and the special functions come from both the hardware and the software.

In this first demo we have the famous bokeh for video, a function that some Android phones already have, like the Reno 6 Pro -analysis-, but which has become popular thanks to the “cinematic mode” of the iPhone 13 -analysis. of the iPhone 13 Pro-.

Basically, it’s about applying bokeh to the video so that the background and the person and object in the shot are separated from said background.

We saw that the resulting video is 30 fpslike the iPhone and the truth is it seems to make a very precise cut in the model which helped us for the test, but you have to see how it works in more complex situations.

Here we had a model with a ponytail and gathered hair (which makes it easier to process the image), lots of light and a fairly flat and distant background, but hey, the truth is that, at least what we saw on the screen of the mobile, seemed of quality with precise cropping and above all a very good depth of field.

There is a button that allows us to see in real time the comparison between unfocused mode and the standard (if you think about it, something quite impressive and which “pulls” the power of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 GPU) and in this “facing cara” the difference between the unfocused mode and the standard mode is obvious.

Panoramas without moving and without a wide-angle lens, which surprised me the most

But far from the bokeh in video, which is the function which will impress the best among the users because it is something very striking, theWhat caught my attention the most was the possibility of taking panoramic photos without moving and without having to do the typical “panning”.

He has a trick because here there is software, but also hardware in the part of the cameras. We asked and it is not that it has an ultra wide angle and a standard angle and combines the two captures, but that the camera module, developed by Qualcomm, has a prism in which there are two angular cameras and a system mirror.

This one is able to cover a large amount of space, and since the cameras are not ultra wide angle, distortion is virtually nonexistent.

This is something that caught my attention because both in my photos and in those of colleagues in which we appeared on the sides of the image, the proportions are perfect, something that does not happen with a classic panoramic or if we used a wide angle.

This is something that I liked and I see a lot of possibilities for people who like photos e.g. 21: 9 or similar, for those who want a video that looks like taken with a camera or for those who are on Vatican Square (I don’t know, this is the first example that comes to mind) and wants to cover a lot of space without distortion.

Now like I said he got a trick because it is still an extremely specific camera system with this prism with the two lenses and the mirrors and I do not know if we will see it on a commercial mobile.

The demo and the tech are there, but the app can be tricky.

Three cameras? Well, three simultaneous captures

Another of the functions that we have seen is that of taking multiple photos and videos simultaneously. This is something that we have seen, in a way, in Samsung Galaxy S phones of recent generations with this “single shot” feature, but just focused on photography and no waiting times.

On Samsung, you press the shutter button and it takes a few seconds to take a few photos, apply filters, and create GIFs.

In what we have seen from Qualcomm it is about taking three photos at the same time and without processing time.

Essentially our demo model had wide angle, angle and telephoto and by pressing the shutter button, all three shots were recorded on the reel at once.

It’s good for a hurry in which we lack time, we do not know very well which lens to use to take the picture and we simply take out the mobile, we press the button and, ‘poof’, three images at a time to later choose which one to use. we like it more.

It looks good, but there are little things that could be improved. For example, if we touch the screen to focus or change the exposure at a certain point in the image, this only applies to one of the lenses.

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Ideally, by clicking on the box corresponding to each lens, the mobile will know the difference between a touch to change the parameters on the television, in the angle or in the ultra wide angle.

What I liked is that there is no waiting time or processing and everything is done very, very quickly thanks to the power of the SoC and image processing thanks to the fact that each sensor has its own ISP.

Silky waters not thanks to a long exposure, but to several superimposed photos

Another of the demonstrations was that of silky waters, this effect obtained in waterfalls or in the sea which “represents” the water as if it were that, a fabric, while everything that surrounds it is perfectly defined.

This effect is achieved with a long exposure photo with the camera, or mobile, on a tripod so that static elements such as rocks remain defined while the water appears with this silky effect.

The way Qualcomm wants to change that so that we don’t have to have the mobile on a tripod or take a really long exposure, where we ruin the photo if we move the least, is to create a single frame from 15 photos which the camera when we touch the shutter.

What is impressive is the speed of image processingAs you can see, as soon as you finish taking the last photo, you can touch the image thumbnail and the final image will appear without having to load anything.

8K HDR video, it doesn’t have much more of a mystery and is quite descriptive

There isn’t much of this role that I can count on.

There was a mobile to demonstrate, but the phone screen does not show the colors that we collect with the camera, you do not like this 8K resolution and besides, we cannot pass the video to see it later.

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It’s simply a show of power to be able to capture 8K in HDR with all that it means at the level of image processing, but as they say, this is something that we will discuss in more detail when we have a mobile with this feature and can analyze it.

But hey, you know that this 8K HDR capture is there which, more than because of the very high resolution, what it will allow will be to crop the video after its capture. This is the most interesting thing I find in 8K recording.

The big problem with all this is the segmentation

Now all of this has a major issue which is seen on other platforms like PC as well. When we talk about segmentation, we mean that companies often go at their own pace and with their own implementations.

The Snapdragon 7C Plus for laptops allows background blur in a video call, for example, but apps don’t use this feature, instead Meet, Teams, or Zoom apply their own background blur. , so that the material does not benefit.

And the same can happen with these software implementations. The hardware takes advantage of this, but what we have to wait to see is if the software and every business is leveraging these capabilities of the SoC.

We’ll see that over the next few months and the truth is I can’t wait to see what they can do about it, and How many of these implementations do we see in the first phones arriving with Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, like the Xiaomi 12 or the Motorola Moto Edge X30.

Absoutely, the tools are thereIt only remains to see how they use them.


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