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What’s Qualcomm’s QCM6490 processor?

What’s Qualcomm’s QCM6490 processor?


The self-repairable Fairphone 5 has given us a lot to debate, whether or not we’re lacking the times of replaceable batteries or in awe on the telephone’s best-in-class replace coverage and eco-credentials. However equally intriguing is the processor powering the telephone — a beforehand unseen Qualcomm QCM6490.

Poking round Qualcomm’s documentation, the QCM6490 is constructed for IoT functions reasonably than telephones. This explains the telephone’s long-term help, as wi-fi merchandise deployed within the discipline for a few years want to stay safe. The Fairphone 5 will obtain 5 years of Android OS updates and 7 years of safety patches. That eclipses the finest smartphone replace guarantees of 4 OS and 5 years of safety, although the updates will arrive at a slower cadence.

The query is, does this chip carry out competitively sufficient for a smartphone constructed to final so lengthy, or will it really feel old-fashioned properly earlier than the telephone expires? To reply that, we’ve grabbed some benchmarks.

What’s the Fairphone 5 processor?

First, let’s dig into what precisely makes up the QCM6490. Its Kryo 670 CPU was first launched in 2021’s flagship Snapdragon 780G and has powered a small number of different mid-range smartphone chips. The CPU cluster includes one Cortex-A78 core at 2.71GHz, three Cortex-A78s at 2.4Ghz, and 4 low-power Cortex-A55 cores at 1.96GHz. The shortage of a giant powerhouse core isn’t going to fret at this time’s flagships, however these cores nonetheless present loads of efficiency.

The Fairphone 5 is about way more than specs, however we’re nonetheless curious.

Graphics are powered by an Adreno 643 clocked at 812MHz. That is the primary time we’ve seen this part, nevertheless it seems to be a bigger and higher-clocked model of the Adreno 642 present in 2022’s mid-range Snapdragon 782G, which boasts an identical CPU setup.

The QCM6490 isn’t fully devoid of contemporary options. Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and a set of location requirements are supported. Wi-fi capabilities additionally embrace mmWave and sub6GHz 5G capabilities, although the Fairphone 5 solely makes use of the latter. There’s AI smarts within the type of Qualcomm’s Hexagon 770 DSP, which is all packaged up in a 6nm course of.

Fairphone 5 benchmarks

OK, however how does this all carry out? Let’s bounce proper into the numbers and evaluate towards extra mainstream handsets across the telephone’s €699 (~$760) worth level.

Primarily based on the aforementioned specs, we weren’t anticipating the Fairphone 5 to maintain tempo with costly top-of-the-line flagships just like the Samsung Galaxy S23 or Apple iPhone 14. Slicing-edge parts have actually eclipsed Qualcomm’s older CPU, however that’s not strictly a problem. Older chipsets nonetheless carry out remarkably properly for a lot of duties, and the Fairphone 5 falls firmly into that class.

What’s disappointing is that the Fairphone 5 performs notably worse than cheaper telephones. It’s outclassed by the Google Pixel 7’s Tensor G2 processor and the mid-range Nothing Cellphone 2’s last-gen Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, which price round €200 much less. Flagship efficiency on a price range could be very achievable these days, however Fairphone has totally different priorities.

The Fairphone 5’s QCM6490 chip falls closest to the cheap Samsung Galaxy A54 5G. Samsung’s mid-ranger presents ample efficiency for internet looking and messaging however actually isn’t a telephone for avid gamers. Nonetheless, the Fairphone 5 turned sizzling rapidly, elevating further questions on sustained efficiency and part well being.

Will the Fairphone 5 final in the long run?

Damien Wilde / Android Authority

As we famous throughout our hands-on time with the Fairphone 5, the telephone faces a tough worth proposition. What the telephone positive factors in repairability, longevity, and social consciousness, it relinquishes within the type of extra sometimes price range {hardware}. However the Fairphone’s most vital problem isn’t worth; it’s whether or not it’s as properly constructed to final because it appears.

Lengthy-term software program help isn’t any good with out future-proof {hardware} that may sustain. The Fairphone 5 performs in addition to a few of at this time’s mid-range telephones, nevertheless it’ll be duking it out with price range choices in two or three years. That’s not a priority for a telephone you’ll exchange each three or 4 years, however as much as seven years is a really very long time in know-how. There are severe doubts about whether or not the telephone can sustain with new functions and use circumstances that arrive with no matter Android seems to be like earlier than then.

The Fairphone 5 is brilliantly repairable, however its processor will really feel sluggish properly earlier than its updates run out.

With that in thoughts, you possibly can choose up an inexpensive telephone just like the Galaxy A54 5G ($449.99 at Samsung), throw in a battery substitute, and also you’ll nonetheless have a telephone that’ll grasp on for 5 years due to Samsung’s strong replace coverage. Higher but, choose up the extra highly effective Pixel 7 ($449 at Amazon) and even the Pixel 7a ($477 at Amazon), which might additionally stretch out to 5 years with a little bit of TLC.

However, after all, that’s not what makes the Fairphone 5 interesting. The benefit of repairability, upgradable storage, and fast swap battery provide much more flexibility than your conventional glued-together flagship. Not forgetting the worth tag covers a residing wage for manufacturing unit employees, 70% truthful focus or recycled supplies, and a five-year guarantee. After all, Fairphone can’t use sheer quantity to haggle down part costs, so there’s a producing overhead for the privilege of a telephone that’s constructed in a different way.

All these deserves make the Fairphone 5 stand out and, as our benchmarks present, the telephone remains to be aggressive with different mid-range fashions. However if you’re contemplating the telephone as an especially long-term buy, simply remember that the telephone won’t maintain up fairly so properly after 5 years of service or extra.

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