Whenever you go out to buy a smartphone you are stuck with just two options- Mediatek VS Qualcomm Snapdragon as the chipset on your potentially new smartphone. In this article I breakdown, some of key pointers you might want to consider before you make a choice.
Very few companies have the resources to build their own chipsets and roll them out in every single one of their phones. You got those A series Bionic Chipsets from Apple, Exynos from Samsung, and Kirin for Huawei(and those are the only ones you probably will get for now due to the problems faced by the Chinese Smartphone Giant).
The rest of the OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturer) go for ready-made SoC’s from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon or Mediatek, which dominate the market due to the popularity and years of expertise in the chipset industry.
The reader shouldn’t forget that there’s far more to a smartphone than which chipset it possesses.
Would you prefer to buy a powerful phone with no outstanding features, or a mid-range phone with a stunning camera, water-proofed, and a headphone jack ( A Dying Feature, I have to say.)
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
We will do our best to reap out more info as we go along analyzing the features each of them have to offer. So stay hooked to your seat buddy, you are in for a read of a lifetime.
What is SoC?
SoC stands for System on a chip. An SoC, simply put, is a CPU, graphics card, memory controller and other components all rolled into one single chip. It can also include some different modems, like wifi or bluetooth, a gpu, etc.
SoCs have different configurations based on architecture, cores and manufacturers.
Now SoC consists of both hardware and software. The original aim of SoC design was to develop hardware and software in parallel. It’s an amazing piece of technology as they are not found just in your phones and tablets but portable gaming consoles, drones, smart appliances.
Integration of AI into these chips can even get you smart learning robots for kids and all the other small smart appliances like what we have with Google Home.
Smartphone chipsets have evolved to surpass even low-end desktops. It would be interesting to know that the first iPhone, which was released in 2007, was more powerful than the computer which was used to launch the first manned space mission to the moon.
Just so you know, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 already has a clock speed of 2.84 billion calculations per second. And taking into consideration that it takes over 31 years to merely count to a billion, that’s a huge number to even wrap your head over.
Essentially, an SoC is the brain of your smartphone that handles everything from the Android operating system to what functions to display at a press of a button
What is Mediatek?
Now let’s not jump to conclusions that this is a Chinese company, and only targets budget smartphones for a wider distribution due to it being cheape.
MediaTek Inc. is actually a Taiwanese semiconductor company that provides system-on-chip products for wireless communications.It started out with DVDs and Blu-ray as well as HD TVs, and they have been a significant influence in the Smartphone SoC sector.They are usually known to amp up their processors with more cores (like octa core,hexa core,deca core)
Mediatek processors have a sizable monopoly in the market, with Mediatek Helio P22 processor accounting for most smartphones. The All New Mediatek Helio G90T, the gaming chipset, has become the focal point when it was introduced in the smartphone Redmi Note 8 Pro.
MediTek also has launched dilute versions of the chipset including Helio G70, Helio G80, and Helio G85 for lower-end phones to have a superior processing power than their counterparts.
Mediatek also made a grand entry in the market with its Helio P90 chipset and later came up with the Mediatek Dimensity 1000 – the first 5G chipset by the brand. It has also introduced a budget version of the 5G chipset – Mediatek Dimensity 800. .
What is Qualcomm Snapdragon?
Now before you go marching off to say that Qualcomm always takes the cake when it comes to quality and overall performance, let’s just give you a heads up on who they are and what they do.
Snapdragon chipsets, as you all know, are manufactured by the American Company Qualcomm. It is one of the oldest smartphone chipset production organizations in existence.
It was founded in the year 1985, and 36 years later, it still continues to dominate the Smartphone SoC market, and it’s very popular, thanks to the intensive marketing campaigns, and appearing in almost every high-end Android powered Smartphone you can think of.
Qualcomm is always equipped with their custom Adreno GPU on all the Snapdragon SoCs.
(Adreno is an anagram of Radeon, as a homage to it’s previous manufacturer, AMD.)
Qualcomm is also known for creating its customized Kryo cores.(known as Kryo Gold or Kryo Silver). These designs are based on Arm CPU cores, with modifications to enhance efficiency in power consumption and performance. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400, 600, and 700 series are usually seen in the budget and mid-range variants, while the 800 series are reserved mostly for the Flagship variants of smartphones.
The recent advent of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipsets opens possibilities for 5G network, which will be the norm for cell connectivity and networks in the years to come.
The recent entry of Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G, 732G, and Snapdragon 662 Chipsets can be taken as an initiative for locking horns with Mediatek in the mid-range Smartphone Sector.
Mediatek VS Qualcomm Snapdragon: Which one’s Better?
Now let’s cut to the chase and give what you people came for. We are not gonna bore you with those endless stacks of Benchmarks from Antutu and similar ones.
We are just going to analyze them in terms of specific areas, just so you can get a hang of what the general standard of the chipset can work out for your daily needs.
MediaTek usually takes its performance after the standsard ARM CPU cores with little modifications and a third-party GPU like Mali, while Qualcomm is equipped with Adreno GPU on all the Snapdragon SoCs, and plays it classy with a few tweaks here and there on it’s ARM CPU.
Related: Adreno VS Mali
With the entry of the newest Helio P series (P70 & P90) etc, the performance of MediaTek chipsets has improved by leaps and bounds.
The additional core processors in MediaTek allow heavy task performance and multi-tasking is a lot easier. So, in the long run, Mediatek gains the upper hand as it has better specs and lower asking price.
It’s a trend for smartphones nowadays to arrive with a monstrous battery backup and the MediaTek processors tend to entwine well with them. Even though they consume a bit more battery earlier, the overall effect gets neutralized.
Snapdragon processors is always known for their energy-efficiency, and better optimization of there power usage. However, the new gaming-centered chipsets like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G is a whole another story.
Price of these SoCs
MediaTek SoCs are so much cheaper than Qualcomm for the same kind of products.
And it goes without saying, that if you wish to get quality smartphones at more affordable prices, I think MediaTek works better for you. Qualcomm offers you an edge in terms of GPU performance and overall battery optimizations, but that only works for a small sliver of the population who don’t care about budget constraints, and are heavily invested on getting the most performance out of the SoC in their smartphones.
Believe it or not, even Snapdragon chipsets such as 810 are extremely prone to heating and the manufacturers had to adopt the slower 808 etc. to avoid the overheating issues when the consumers go for heavy usage.
The MediaTek processors experience significantly high heating troubles from time to time, due to a high number of cores configured in the chipsets. However, as the newer ones in the P-series came up, the troubles were resolved to much extent.
The latest Helio P70 and P90 chipsets by MediaTek are real powerhouses and they do not even experience much heating when exposed to intensive gaming and multitasking.
Qualcomm usually uses the Hexagon digital signal processor (DSP) for machine learning tasks and it handles tasks related to audio, photography, and connections, but it recently has switched to Tensor Accelerator chip to amp up the AI performance.
Additional Read: Tesla will be the iPhone of the Car Industry?
While we have MediaTek which introduced a dedicated AI processing unit to mid-range phones since the launch of the Helio P60 SoC. The APU gives the phones an edge with features like smart scene recognition, better facial recognition, and essentially a performance boost to all the mid-range phones out there that have the chip integrated to it.
Final Take by Tecvalue
This ultimately begs the question, and We know it’s been haunting in your minds ever since the start of this article, Which is the better one?
And we must confess, that is always a hard choice to make, probably because both of these SoC manufacturers excel in their craft, and the results speak for themselves. This is the reason why they have stood the test of time.
Additional Read: Is Huawei better than Samsung?
Ultimately, if you prefer gaming and want higher performance in your mid-range smartphones, MediaTek would be your best bet. While for your Higher-end Flagship, it’s better to adopt a Qualcomm Snapdragon in the 800 series, although this opinion may change in the coming years, as we are witnessing a rapid rise in the innovation of Mediatek SoCs. It might even overtake Qualcomm at the pace at which it is developing, which is more of a rags to riches kind of event taking form in the current market sphere.
If you like what you have read, feel free to have a look at the other articles over here, to further enrich your knowledge in the Tech-Domain, and quench your unbridled curiosity.