Qualcomm launches two new headphones chips, goodbye latency problems!

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On the sidelines of the launch of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, Qualcomm announces two new components dedicated to audio headsets: the S3 Gen 2 and the S5 Gen 2. Taking advantage of the improvements made to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, these two components are full of new features for the TWS headphones: low latency, in-game voice feedback, Lossless quality, spatial sound with motion detection, or even Auracast compatibility.

qualcomm s3 s5 gen 2 official

Qualcomm is organizing the Snapdragong Summit this week, its annual conference where the American firm presents its new components and the innovations they incorporate. Last night, we talked about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a new high-end SoC intended to power the vast majority of 2023 flagships. The improvements concern photography, video, video games, connectivity, sound and, above all, , artificial intelligence, since the latter interferes everywhere.

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On the sidelines of the launch of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, Qualcomm is taking the opportunity to announce several innovations in other areas: processors for Windows PC under ARMchips for virtual or augmented reality headsetsas well as the components for the audio accessories. It is this last area that interests us in this article. Be aware, however, that we will also devote some time to other themes.

S3 and S5 chips now detect head movements

In the field of audio, Qualcomm announces this year a “complete solution” called Snapdragon-Sound. This umbrella encompasses the S3 and S5 chips that the firm unveiled in early 2022, AptX codecs and connectivity. The difference between S3 and S5 is essentially the functional completeness between the two, the S5 being more complete and intended for the most expensive accessories. Of the brands that use the S5, you find Bose.

At the Snapdragon Summit 2022, Qualcomm unveils the successors to the S3 and S5: the S3 Gen 2 and S5 Gen 2. The main novelty of its two SoCs is the full support for the audio innovations of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. This includes in particular spatial audio and head movement detection of the user (which relies on the accelerometers of the headphones). The goal here is to provide an Apple-like experience with AirPods and iPhone/Mac.

S3 and S5 chips feature a new Adaptive Transparency mode

Another new feature is support for voice chat with smartphone games. So far, the microphones are not accessible when playing on mobile. Thanks to this new function, it will be possible to chat during games with other players using the microphones of the headphones, as has been done for years on PC and console.

qualcomm s3 s5 gen 2 official

The two new platforms also benefit from the latest version of adaptive active noise reduction developed by Qualcomm. This new version of course improves the reduction of ambient noise. But it also includes a new mode called Adaptive Transparency. The principle is the same as adaptive reduction: the function detects an audio change (such as the start of a voice conversation) and adapts the strength of the reduction. Samsung offers this type of function with the Galaxy Buds. Qualcomm hopes to generalize this.

Qualcomm cuts the latency of TWS headphones in half

The S3 and S5 Gen 2 also benefit from some improvements to existing technologies. Most important, we believe, is the drastic reduction in latency between when a sound is created in an app and when you hear it through TWS headphones. Qualcomm claims to have reduced it to 48 ms, compared to 68 ms with previous audio chips. Without these chips, latency typically hits 90ms. An improvement that will be appreciated whether you are a gamer or watching a video on your mobile.

Among the other improvements, you find the improvement of the lossless codec for TWS headphones and support for the LE Audio standard which includes compatibility with Auracast which allows multiple pairs of headphones to be connected to the same smartphone. Naturally, some new features can only be activated with smartphones equipped with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Qualcomm announces that the first samples of the S5 and S3 Gen 2 have arrived at its customers. The first equipped products are not expected before second half of 2023.

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Mubashir Hassan
Expert in tech and gaming, blending industry insights with expertise