Mid-range phones will get a Huawei P30 camera trick as early as this year

Image Credit: TechRadar

The Huawei P30 and P30 Pro have impressed us with their photography prowess, but later this year it won't just be the flagship phones boasting impressive zoom features.

Smartphone SoC (system-on-chip) maker Qualcomm has just announced its latest chips, with the Snapdragon 655 and Snapdragon 730 ready to power the next generation of mid-range handsets.

They come with the usual generational boosts in performance and graphics, while upping support for screen sizes and resolutions, but the two new chips also come packed with a host of photography goodies.

One of the most eye-catching of which is support on the Snapdragon 655 for a 5x optical zoom - a feature found on the Huawei P30 range, and one which has impressed us in our reviews.

The chip can also support triple camera setups with telephoto, wide and ultra-wide lenses and a single sensor up to 48MP in size, providing manufacturers with a host of photography flexibility.

An enhanced, third-generation AI engine also delivers 3D Face Unlock, Object Detection, Portrait Mode and Low Light Night Mode - although all these features will have to be hand-selected by manufacturers, so don't expect all of them to be packed into one mid-range device.

One thing the Snapdragon 655 doesn't support, however, is 5G connectivity, with the chip settling for 4G LTE speeds of up to 600Mbps download and 150Mbps upload.

Image Credit: Qualcomm

Image Credit: Qualcomm (Image credit: Qualcomm)

192MP snapshot camera

The Snapdragon 730 is a more powerful chipset, with the ability to deliver a 192MP snapshot image, or a 48MP image with multi-frame noise reduction.

Phones with the 730 at their core will also have the ability to deliver a high-class video recording experience, with support for 4K HDR with a real-time bokeh effect.

There's more advanced AI here too, with Qualcomm's fourth-generation engine providing enhancements to photography, gaming, voice control and security.

Improvements to the voice assistant aspect could be marked, with Qualcomm claiming devices will be able to pick your voice up from further away, with enhanced accuracy and support for multiple keywords providing greater range when it comes to selecting a 'wake word' to activate the assistant.

There is a third new chipset too, the Snapdragon 730G, which is specifically geared towards gaming, offering elite gaming features and 15% faster graphics rendering versus the standard 730.

Support includes optimization for top games, faster rendering, anti-cheat extensions, Wi-Fi latency manager and HDR gaming.

The first Snapdragon 655 smartphones are expected to arrive very soon (in Q2, so April-June) while the first Snapdragon 730 and 730G devices are set to land from the middle of 2019.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.