2019 and 5G connectivity didn’t go hand-in-hand, with adoption rates of 5G-ready smartphones being disappointing at best. That’s mostly due to such handsets categorized under flagships, and being ‘over the top’ expensive, not everyone has the financial capacity to make these their daily driver. Qualcomm definitely saw that there’s market left to be tapped and it introduced the Snapdragon X52, a 5G modem that’s integrated with the Snapdragon 765, a mid-ranged but very capable SoC for 2020 lineup of smartphones. With the exception of the Snapdragon X50, Qualcomm now has two 5G modems dedicated to future handsets for various price classes. To find out more regarding their specs, and features, here is our in-depth Snapdragon X55 vs Snapdragon X52 comparison to help you learn more.
Snapdragon X55 vs Snapdragon X52 - the Obvious Speed Comparison
Both the Snapdragon X55 and Snapdragon X52 are blazing fast and of course they are; they are 5G modems. What you’ll be interested to know is the performance that exists between both modems. Let us talk about the Snapdragon X55 first. It can achieve a whopping 7.5Gbps on the maximum theoretical download speed side while being able to achieve up to 3Gbps of peak upload speeds.
The Snapdragon X52 in comparison, is much slower, being able to achieve just half the maximum theoretical download speeds at 3.7Gbps while attaining a peak upload speed limit of 1.6Gbps. While the differences are out in the open, and some of you might try to flaunt your bragging rights with the achievable speeds of the Snapdragon X55 on paper, what truly matters is real-world performance. If your existing 5G network cannot provide that big of a speed jump, perhaps you’re better off with a smartphone powered by a Snapdragon 765 or Snapdragon 765G and save money right?
That would be the best course of action because 5G networks rollout will slowly gain traction in the coming years, with a new report stating that shipments of 5G-ready smartphones are expected to overtake 4G handset shipments in 2023. If you’re using your flagship phone powered by the Snapdragon X55, perhaps in a couple of years you’ll be able to experience such speeds, although chances are you’ll probably have a new phone with an even faster modem under the hood.
The same differences we detailed earlier extend to the LTE speed department too. The Snapdragon X55 can obtain 2.5Gbps peak download and 316Mbps peak upload speeds. The Snapdragon X52, on the other hand, can only manage 1.2Gbps on the peak download side and 210Mbps on the peak upload category.
Snapdragon X55 vs Snapdragon X52 - Bandwidth Differences
There are plenty of differences here too, so make sure you’re tagged along for the ride. In nearly all cases, the Snapdragon X52’s mmWave and sub-6GHz bandwidth are half that of the Snapdragon X55, which would also explain the theoretical download and upload speed differences.
- Snapdragon X52 bandwidth - mmWave 400MHz, sub-6GHz 100MHz
- Snapdragon X55 bandwidth - mmWave 800MHz, sub-6GHz 200MHz
That’s not the only difference you’ll find. The Snapdragon X55 also provides a 4 x 4 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) antenna configuration. This means that a 4 x 4 MIMO smartphone has four antennas for four simultaneous data streams while a 2 x 2 MIMO device has two antennas for two simultaneous data streams. To provide a proper example, the iPhone 11 features a 2 x 2 MIMO configuration, while the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max support 4 x 4 MIMO.
That being said, the more antennas your phone has, the more data it can transfer at once, resulting in faster wireless download and upload speeds, which we compared earlier. Do keep in mind that it will also be up to the manufacturer to decide how many antennas can be found on its products. Just because an SoC provides support for a better standard doesn’t mean you’ll automatically see that benefit in a handset. Manufacturers often leave those components out to reduce production costs.
Also, even if you have a 4 x 4 MIMO-supported handset, you’ll need to connect to a network that also supports 4 x 4 MIMO to obtain those advantages, and this isn’t something common in a lot of regions. Having a 4 x 4 MIMO smartphone that’s also connected to the same network results in better signal performance, so the next time you’re experiencing a choppy phone call where the connection breaks randomly, you’ll know the reason for that.
Snapdragon X55 vs Snapdragon X52 - Power Consumption
Since the Snapdragon X52 is integrated into the Snapdragon 765 and will not be found separately on a smartphone, it can result in lowered power consumption. The Snapdragon X55 won’t be embedded with the newly announced Snapdragon 865 and will be located externally. The drawback to this approach that Qualcomm has taken is that power will need to be provided to a discrete modem and depending on your usage while connected to a 5G network, you may need to hook it up to a power source at least once a day. Since Qualcomm doesn’t provide an integrated Snapdragon X55 with the Snapdragon 865, flagship phone manufacturers will need to re-engineer their future devices in order to make space for the modem.
Snapdragon X55 vs Snapdragon X52 - Sub-6GHz, mmWave & Multi-Mode Compatibility Support
Thankfully, both the Snapdragon X55 and Snapdragon X52 provide support for the slower sub-6GHz and faster mmWave bands. Not just this, but both of them are also multi-mode modems. Now what does that mean? Simply stated, both 5G modems are backwards compatible with 4G, 3G, 2G networks, so you won’t need to have a secondary smartphone in your pocket just because there’s no 5G network coverage in the surrounding proximity.
The plethora of differences we covered in the Snapdragon X55 vs Snapdragon X52 comparison should immediately make you jump from your seat in order to settle for a flagship right? Not in this case, because the maximum download and upload speeds you’re looking at; it’s highly unlikely you’ll witness anything close to those speeds, at least in the coming years. Therefore, if you’re the kind of customer who appreciates a good value and doesn’t have an affinity for wanting the best of the best, you’re definitely putting yourself in a good position by purchasing a smartphone with a Snapdragon 765. It will be affordable, speedy, and it will provide support for 5G connectivity. What more could you want?
Did you enjoy reading our comparison? Let us know down in the comments if there are more comparisons you’d like to see in the future.