Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 is here to make 5G phones more affordable

Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 press image hero
(Image credit: Qualcomm)

While Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 currently dominates as the company's most powerful mobile chip – finding its way into almost every one of the best Android phones available right now – Qualcomm has just pulled the wraps off its latest entry at the other end of the scale: the Snapdragon 4 Gen 2.

Following on from last year's Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 (the first in the series to adopt Qualcomm's updated naming convention), the 4 Gen 2 serves to build on the foundation of its predecessor by offering trickle-down benefits from more powerful Snapdragon silicon, while also helping to make emerging mobile technologies – like 5G – more accessible to users in more markets and at lower price points.

The chip itself is built on a smaller 4nm process than its 6nm predecessor (similarly to the flagship 8 Gen 2), which aims to deliver greater power efficiency alongside improved performance; speaking of which, the 4 Gen 2's two performance cores come clocked at 2.2GHz (10% higher than the 4 Gen 1), and there's new wider 5G support and the promise of better network reliability, courtesy of the new Snapdragon X61 5G modem too.

There are some quirks to the chip, like Bluetooth 5.1 support compared to 5.2 on its predecessor and dual 12-bit ISPs (image signal processors) in place of three on the 4 Gen 1, but functionality in most other regards appears very similar to last year's chip.

QuickCharge 4 Plus support promises a 50% battery recharge in as little as 15 minutes (although Qualcomm's 4 Gen 2 press release doesn't make mention of the size of the battery or charging speeds used to achieve this figure), while the 4 Gen 2 is also the first in the series to include hardware-based Multi Camera Temporal Filtering (MCTF) – a technology Qualcomm first introduced back in 2017, designed to improve sharpness of moving subjects when shooting stills and reduce noise when shooting video; meaning better camera quality on more affordable phones.

Has Xiaomi called first dibs?

Qualcomm states that devices running on the new Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 will hit the market in the second half of 2023, mentioning Xiaomi's Redmi sub-brand and Vivo by name as phone makers intending to put its latest mobile silicon to use soon.

In truth, Xiaomi might actually be unveiling the first 4 Gen 2 powered phone before the first half of 2023 is over, with at least one leak (spotted by MySmartPrice) suggesting that the Redmi Note 12R – the rumored sibling to the 4 Gen 1-powered Redmi Note 12R Pro, which only launched in China back in April – will arrive on June 30.

Beyond its chipset, the Note 12R will reportedly pack a 6.79-inch Full HD+ display, up to 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and start at just CNY¥1,099 (approximately $155 / £120 / AU$225). As for whether it'll find a place in our rundown of the best Xiaomi phones, that seems unlikely, as there's little word of it being anything other than a Chinese exclusive at this point. 

We'll just have to wait a little longer to pick up affordable phones, powered by the Snapdragon 4 Gen 2, that are more widely available.

Alex Walker-Todd
Senior Phones Editor

Alex joined as TechRadar's Senior Phones Editor in June 2022, but brings over a decade's worth of experience to the role, with an expertise in smartphones, tablets and wearables. He's covered keynotes hosted by the biggest brands and attended the launches for some of the most influential mobile products of the last few years. His experience was amassed at some of the most reputable consumer technology publications out there, including GSMArena, TechAdvisor and Trusted Reviews.