Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders: Asus and Qualcomm's high-end smartphone is official for an eye-watering price of US$1,499
Asus and Qualcomm have joined forces to launch a new handset called the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders. Much like the similarly-specced Asus ROG Phone 5, it packs high-end hardware. It also happens to be one of the first smartphones on the market to support Qualcomm Sound, allowing it to play 24-bit 96kHz content wirelessly. One also gets a free pair of Master & Dynamic TWS earbuds with the phone. The Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders will cost US$1,499 and will be available for purchase in the US, UK, China, Japan, Germany and South Korea starting August 2021. The Indian market will get it, too, but at a later date.
Under the hood, the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC coupled with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage. It is the only configuration that the smartphone is sold in, and there is no expandable storage, either. A Snapdragon 888+ would have been ideal, but rumours about the phone have been around for quite some time. Therefore, it was likely conceived when the chipset didn't exist.
The Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders features a 6.7-inch AMOLED panel with a refresh rate of 144Hz and a peak brightness of 1,200 nits. It is also HDR10+ compliant and covers 111.23% of the DCI-P3, 106.87% of the NTSC, and 150.89% of the sRGB colour gamut. A layer of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protects the screen from daily wear and tear. Asus claims that the screen has Delta E values lower than 0.1, making it one of the more colour-accurate panels out there.
Moving on to optics, the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders gets a triple-camera array spearheaded by a 64MP Sony IMX686 sensor. A 12MP Sony IMX363 ultra-wide-angle lens accompanies it, along with an 8MP telephoto lens that offers 3x optical zoom. Apart from the ultra-wide-angle module, both lenses support OIS (optical image stabilization). The phone can record 8K video at 30 FPS and 4K content at 60 FPS. Lastly, a 24MP sensor handles selfies and video calls.
Wireless connectivity options on the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders include 5G (both mmWave and sub-6GHz), Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2 and NFC. The phone runs Stock Android 11 out of the box and packs a 4,000mAh battery that supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 5.0. The included power brick charges the battery at 65W. However, units sold in India only get a 35W brick, for some reason. A rear-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor handles biometric authentication. An under-display sensor would have been ideal, but Qualcomm likely wanted to use this opportunity to showcase its next-generation fingerprint sensing tech.