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Qualcomm's Mobile Gaming Upgrade Reduces Battery Drain When Playing

Developers can use new Snapdragon gaming tech to get better graphics without killing your phone battery.

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David Lumb Mobile Reporter
David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
Expertise smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, telecom industry, mobile semiconductors, mobile gaming
David Lumb
2 min read
A high-quality image of a game, in which a space suit-wearing hero inserts a crystal in an energy pod -- all in stunning 4K.

Qualcomm's new Snapdragon Game Super Resolution tool upscales regular phone graphics to 4K images with less battery drain than third-party software.

Qualcomm

Qualcomm's Snapdragon announcements typically cover new chipsets coming in the year's next Android phones. But the company's gaming team has new software tech that could slow battery drain on those premium Android phones when they're running cutting-edge games.

Currently, phone owners can boost their mobile game graphics with third-party "super-scaler" software that takes two or more passes to tweak visuals but uses up power and precious milliseconds. The Snapdragon gaming team devised a new method to get PC-level graphics in only one pass.

Snapdragon Game Super Resolution, as it's called, uses a new algorithm and some tricks (a color buffer and edge detection to scale up images) to get there, which leads to less processing on gamers' phones and less battery drained while playing.

"The power savings will probably be the most significant thing that a consumer will see," said Dave Durnil, global head of gaming and Snapdragon Studios at Qualcomm. 

Snapdragon Game Super Resolution isn't something that will come on a new chipset. Instead, Durnil's team is working with mobile game studios to integrate it into new and existing games. That means it's up to game developers to include it, but with the efficiency savings, they can raise the bar on graphics without worrying about increased drain on players' phones.

The new tech isn't limited just to top-tier phones either, as Snapdragon Game Super Resolution "scales very well across all of our chipsets and portfolios and different platforms that we provide," Durnil said. 

When developers want to turn on big desktop gaming features like ray tracing while maintaining performance or power, Snapdragon Game Super Resolution can turn on heavier graphics features, scale visuals and maintain quality while saving on power, Durnil said.