The Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 and the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 are promising chipsets. However, their experiences may vary. Here is a comparison of them.
The Snapdragon W5 and W5+ are Qualcomm’s newest smartwatch chipsets, but how do they differ? Like its predecessor, the Snapdragon Wear 4100, the new chipset comes in standard and plus versions that provide various performance experiences. Similar tactics are used by Qualcomm for its smartphone chipsets, with the plus model typically appearing considerably later as a mid-cycle upgrade.
Qualcomm has been playing catch-up for years in the wearable market, but its latest chipsets feature noteworthy advances that could shift the tide in its favor. The first smartwatches to use the new chipsets are anticipated to go on sale in the next few months, and many more are anticipated to follow throughout 2023.
The Snapdragon W5 and Snapdragon W5+ vary primarily because the former uses a single CPU while the latter employs a hybrid architecture that combines an applications processor with an ultra-low power co-processor. This dual-processor setup enables smartwatches powered by the chipset to delegate specific functions, such as notifications, continuous heart rate monitoring, alarms, and timers, to the low-power processor. The smartwatch’s battery life is increased as a result.
The Snapdragon W5+ Co-Processor Helps Extend Battery Life
On both platforms, the Qualcomm SW5100 serves as the primary processor. It has an Adreno A702 GPU that runs at 1GHz and a 4nm quad-core CPU with four Cortex-A53 cores that clock in at 1.7GHz. NFC, Bluetooth 5.3, a four-satellite GNSS module with dual frequency support, a modem, dual-band Wi-Fi compatibility, and four satellites are all included in the SoC. LPDDR4 RAM and eMMC 4.5 storage are also supported.
The 22nm QCC5100 coprocessor, which has a Cortex M55 CPU core clocked at 250MHz, is the coprocessor on the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 platform. The smartwatch also contains a 2.5D GPU, a U55 machine learning engine, and low-power Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to maintain a tethered device connection even when in a low-power mode.
Qualcomm claims that the Snapdragon W5dual +’s processing technology should result in a battery life that is up to 50% longer than that of the Snapdragon 4100+. The Snapdragon W5+ should theoretically offer a longer battery life than the Snapdragon W5 for smartwatches. That might not always be the case, though. Read More; What is DirectStorage, and is your PC Next-Gen Ready?
A Qualcomm processor may be combined by some manufacturers with a low-power processor of their own. An illustration would be the Oppo Watch 2, which debuted with the Snapdragon 4100, a less potent variant of the Snapdragon 4100+. Although this chip lacks an integrated low-power co-processor, Oppo combined it with Ambiq’s Apollo4s, a low-power CPU using a 22nm manufacturing process.
The SoC manages low-power duties and even supports Bluetooth 5.1 to guarantee the phone is always connected, just like the QCC5100 on the Snapdragon W5+. With the help of this co-processor and Oppo’s dual-OS system (RTOS + Android), the Oppo Watch 2 can boast a remarkable battery life of up to 16 days. Read More; Rivian R1S: Everything We Know So Far
The Snapdragon W5 will power the Oppo Watch 3, which has been confirmed, but it won’t come as a surprise if Oppo pairs the SoC with a separate low-power co-processor to put it on par with smartwatches using the W5+ chipset.
Due to this, customers may want to consider smartwatches with a Snapdragon W5 coupled with a separate co-processor, even if it may be simpler to tell them to search for smartwatches powered by the Snapdragon W5+ if they want the best battery life.