Snapdragon G3x: we tested the Qualcomm and Razer portable console

Qualcomm celebrates these days its traditional Snapdragon Tech Summit, an event in which the company takes the opportunity to announce its chip. We are talking about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the engine that we will find in the Android flagship of 2022 and that comes with important improvements, especially in photography and Artificial Intelligence. But although it has been the protagonist, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 has not been the only announcement of the company.

On the second day of the congress they announced the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1, a new processor designed for mobile gaming devices. To illustrate its commitment, Qualcomm brought us the Snapdragon G3x Handheld Developer Kit, a portable console developed with Razer to show all the capabilities of the new chip, but I already tell you that you will not be able to buy.

Why a portable console?

According to Qualcomm, combining PC, traditional consoles and mobile games generate $ 175 billion a year. If we only take into account the benefits of mobile gaming, we are talking about a figure that ranges between 90 and 120,000 million, more than half of the total.

At the presentation of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 they already placed a lot of emphasis on its capabilities focused on gaming, such as the new Adreno GPU that, according to Qualcomm, offers 60% more performance in Vulkan. The Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 chip is a step further and Qualcomm wants it to be the brains of a new generation of portable consoles.

And what better way to show what you can do than with your new Snapdragon G3x Handheld Developer Kit.

Before we continue, let’s make it clear that the Snapdragon G3x Handheld Developer Kit is just that: a development kit. In other words, its reason for being is none other than to serve as a platform for the development of new games and also a first step for manufacturers to dare to create their own consoles.

Design: huge, but very comfortable

Snapdragon G3x console
Snapdragon G3x console

I had seen pictures of it, but you don’t see how big it is until you see it live. The device is quite large, logical considering that we have a 6.65-inch widescreen display and two “controls” on the sides. I have doubts about its comfort when transporting it, but none when using it.

The grip is excellent thanks to the ergonomic design and the controls are very comfortable. It reminds a bit of the classic Xbox controller. We have the classic controls: a joystick on each side, upper triggers, directional pad and action buttons. We do not have the weight data, but after a while using it it does not turn out to be excessively heavy.

Multimedia experience to match, but without bragging

As we said, the screen measures 6.65 inches, but let’s see some more details. It is an OLED panel with FullHD resolution, HDR support and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. In the time that I was able to test it, the screen fulfilled with a note both in sharpness and, above all, in fluidity. Of course, I had to take shelter from the sun since the reflections were somewhat annoying. Perhaps an extra point of brightness would do you good, although it is also true that the sun was too intense and there few screens comply.

On the screen we have a 5 megapixel camera that records FullHD video. Also, it comes with two microphones to capture sound clearly. And speaking of sound, we have two stereo speakers. The maximum volume was high enough to be heard perfectly in the middle of a fairly large group of journalists, although I couldn’t appreciate the quality too well. One detail is that the volume control is on the lower edge and it can be a bit uncomfortable to handle if we are in the middle of a game.

Playing with the Qualcomm and Razer console

Although the time was very limited, I was able to play a bit with the Qualcomm console. As I said, the design is very comfortable and the screen gives a very good visual experience. The title with which I tested its capabilities was Boat Attack, a fairly entertaining boat racing game (although more difficult to control than it seems).The sensations were very good in terms of fluidity and graphics. I cannot give a verdict on the performance as the test was very short, but I did not notice any lag during the game or warm up (to avoid this it has a fan in the back).

Regarding the games we have available, thanks to a complete connectivity profile (5G included, of course) the console can access different sources such as X box Game Cloud, Android games and even PC or PlayStation. In the image above these lines you can see what the game selection menu was like, where we also had access to the browser. What we couldn’t was access the different stores to download more titles.

We had no connection problems, although we did experience some typical non-finished product failure. In the time that I tried it, it crashed a couple of times and I also found a curious thing: when I opened Shadow Fight 2, the physical controls did not work and I had to use the on-screen controls as if it were a mobile phone.Regarding connectivity, it also has a USB-C port where you can connect VR glasses or an external monitor with 4K resolution. In addition to 5G mmWave, it has WiFi 6 to play wirelessly anywhere and Bluetooth 5.2. Finally, mention that it comes with a 6,000 mAh battery, although obviously we cannot make any assessment of this.

Is this the future of mobile gaming?

As we said at the beginning, the Snapdragon G3x is a development kit for the creation of video games and not a product designed to be put on sale, at least not for now. Qualcomm’s commitment to mobile gaming is solid, but today it lacks specificity. For it to succeed, it will be necessary for other manufacturers to join who want to take advantage of the G3x Gen 1 chip that we find in the guts of this first prototype.

The history of portable consoles has lights and shadows. With mobiles becoming more and more powerful, having a dedicated device to play loses sense. It is a field that raises doubts and in which we have seen failures like Sony’s with the PS Vita, but also successes like Nintendo’s with the Switch Lite, two very different but similar concepts at the same time. In this case everything is in the hands of the manufacturers. Can you imagine a portable console from Samsung, Xiaomi or Realme?

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