The Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 and Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 are promising chipsets but offer different experiences. Here’s how they compare.
Qualcomm’s new chipsets for smartwatches are the Snapdragon W5 and Snapdragon W5+, but how do they differ? Like its predecessor, the Snapdragon Wear 4100, the new chipset comes in Standard and Plus variants that offer different performance experiences. Qualcomm is also pursuing a similar strategy for its smartphone chipsets, with the Plus variant typically appearing much later as a mid-cycle upgrade.
Qualcomm has been catching up in the wearable space for years, but its new chipsets feature significant improvements that could turn the tide in its favor. The first smartwatches with the new chipsets are expected to launch in the coming months and many more are expected to launch throughout 2023.
The main difference between the Snapdragon W5 and the Snapdragon W5+ is that the former has a single processor while the latter uses a hybrid architecture that combines an application processor and an ultra-low power co-processor. This dual-processor solution allows smartwatches powered by the chipset to assign specific tasks to the low-power processor, such as B. Notifications, continuous heart rate monitoring, alarms and timers. The result is an extended battery life of the smartwatch.
The Snapdragon W5+ co-processor helps extend battery life
The main processor, called Qualcomm SW5100, is the same on both platforms. It’s a 4nm quad-core CPU with four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.7GHz and it’s paired with an Adreno A702 GPU clocked at 1GHz. The SoC also features a modem, a four-satellite GNSS module with dual-frequency support, dual-band WiFi support, NFC and Bluetooth 5.3. It also supports LPDDR4 RAM and eMMC 4.5 storage.
The co-processor on the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 platform is the 22 nm QCC5100 with a Cortex-M55 CPU core clocked at 250 MHz. It also features a 2.5D GPU, a U55 machine learning core, and low-power Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, allowing the smartwatch to remain connected to a tethered device even in a low-power state. According to Qualcomm, the dual processor technology of the Snapdragon W5+ should enable up to 50% longer battery life compared to the Snapdragon 4100+. Technically, smartwatches with Snapdragon W5+ should have better battery life than those with Snapdragon W5. However, this may not always be the case.
Some manufacturers combine Qualcomm’s processor with theirs own Low power processor. For example, the Oppo Watch 2 launched with the Snapdragon 4100, which is the less powerful version of the Snapdragon 4100+. This chip doesn’t have an integrated low-power coprocessor, but Oppo has paired it with the Apollo4s, a 22nm low-power processor from Ambiq. The SoC, like the Snapdragon W5+’s QCC5100, handles low-power tasks and even has Bluetooth 5.1 to ensure the phone is always connected. This co-processor combined with Oppo’s dual OS solution (Android + RTOS) allows the Oppo Watch 2 to have an incredible battery life of up to 16 days.
The Oppo Watch 3 has been confirmed to be powered by the Snapdragon W5, but it will come as no surprise that Oppo is pairing the SoC with a different low-power coprocessor, putting it on par with smartwatches powered by that Snapdragon D5+. For that reason, and while it might be easier to advise buyers to look out for smartwatches with the Snapdragon W5+ if they want the best battery life, they should also consider ones with one Snapdragon W5 paired with another coprocessor.
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