Qualcomm QCM 6490, the Extended Life Chipset in the Fairphone 5: A Super Guide

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My personal introduction to the Qualcomm QCM 6490 processor was when the AGM G2 series was released in February 2023. I was poring through the specs sheet of the AGM G2 Guardian and saw the odd name. Surely, this was a mistake, I thought. It turned out that I thought wrong. I had never heard of it or seen it mentioned with a smartphone before that moment, but the Qualcomm QCM 6490 was a real thing.

Then in August 2023, Fairphone announced the Fairphone 5, and right there in the specs sheet was the QCM6490 once again. This was the second smartphone ever that was using it. Well, to be more accurate, it was the fourth, if we count the AGM G2, AGM G2 Pro, and AGM G2 Guardian as three separate devices. Along with the Fairphone 5, these are the only four smartphones that exist with a Qualcomm QCM 6490 processor.

Qualcomm QCM 6490 extended life chipset

Qualcomm QCM 6490 is a relatively unknown processor in the smartphone space, and that is because it was “purpose built for industrial and commercial IoT applications such as ruggedized handhelds and tablets”, according to Qualcomm [1]. That makes it an extremely niche processor targeted at industrial smartphones, among others.

This 6 nm processor supports all major 5G bands, WiFi 6, AI, as well as long-term support for Android software updates. In terms of performance, it uses a Kryo 670 with a high-performance core of up to 2.7 GHz. But all of these is Greek to most people, perhaps including you. So, let’s talk about the QCM6490 in terms that the average person understands.

What is an Extended Life Chipset?

Qualcomm describes the QCM 6490 as an Extended Life Chipset. What does that mean?

An Extended Life Chipset is a type of computer chip that is designed to last longer than usual and support software updates for many years. It is often used in devices that need to be reliable, secure, and durable, such as smartphones, tablets, industrial machines, and IoT devices.

Some examples of Extended Life Chipsets are the Qualcomm QCM6490 and Qualcomm QCS6490 SoCs. Because of the QCM6490, for example, the Fairphone 5 comes with a five-year warranty and eight years of software support.

How fast is the Qualcomm QCM 6490?

AGM G2 Guardian uses the Qualcomm QCM6490
AGM G2 Guardian uses the Qualcomm QCM 6490.

I own an AGM G2 Guardian and had earlier run benchmark tests on it. I fired up Geekbench 6 to pull out its scores. Here they are.

  • 1126 single-core score
  • 2872 multi-core score

MediaTek Dimensity 8050 scores

  • Single-core 1123 score
  • Multi-core 3276 score

Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G scores

  • Single-core 1019 score
  • Multi-core: 2847 score

Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 scores

  • Single-core: 758 score
  • Multi-core: 2216 score

What is the Qualcomm QCM 6490 equivalent to?

From the above benchmark scores, it is clear that Qualcomm QCM6490 is an upper mid-range processor. It is comparable to the Dimensity 1200 (and consequently Dimensity 8020 and 8050) from MediaTek (they have slightly better performance). What mainstream Qualcomm processor is it equivalent to? That would be the popular Snapdragon 778G, which it has an edge over, and it is more powerful than the more recent Snapdragon 6 Gen 1. The QCM6490 is even closer in performance to the not-so-popular Qualcomm Snapdragon 780G.

In my experience using the Qualcomm QCM6490 (in the AGM G2 Guardian), I have found it competent and without any performance-dampening issues.

What is software support of Qualcomm QCM 7490 like?

Fairphone 5 uses the Qualcomm QCM 6490
Fairphone 5 uses the Qualcomm QCM 6490.

Qualcomm says that the QCM6490 has extended Android OS support. The company does not specify how long that is, but we can have an idea from Fairphone 5’s software support. The Fairphone 5 will get five major Android updates. It launched with Android 13, and that means it will get Android 18. That’s solid support.

Which makes me wonder why the AGM G2 phones are not getting any software updates. My G2 Guardian was released with Android 12 and it has been stuck on that till now. It runs stock Android, too, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to work out. But here we are.

List of phones that have Qualcomm QCM6490

Smartphones that use the QCM6490 processor are listed below:

  1. AGM G2, released in February 2023.
  2. AGM G2 Pro, released in February 2023.
  3. AGM G2 Guardian, released in February 2023. Read our AGM G2 Guardian review.
  4. Fairphone 5, released in September 2023.

Perhaps we will get see more phones with the Qualcomm QCM6490. The rugged smartphone industry is growing and will see more and more devices released.


  1. Qualcomm official website (source)

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