What you need to know
- MediaTek has unveiled its two latest chipsets for 2021.
- The Dimensity 1100 and 1200 5G look to take on the Snapdragon 888.
- Android phones with the new chips should start shipping in Spring 2021.
Taiwanese silicon giant MediaTek has today taken the wraps off its latest generation of high-end Dimensity chipsets for smartphones, boasting improved performance, connectivity, and power consumption. The MediaTek Dimensity 1200 looks set to challenge the likes of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 and Samsung's Exynos 2100 by bringing high performance, integrated 5G, and advanced AI capabilities to upcoming flagship Android phones.
Both chipsets are built on a 6nm manufacturing process and use ARM's high-performance Cortex-A78 cores. The Dimensity 1200 uses a so-called "ultra-core" A78 clocked at 3GHz, combined with regular Cortex-A78 super cores and four Cortex-A55 high-efficiency cores. That's backed up by a nine-core Mali-G77 GPU for graphics and a six-core MediaTek APU 3.0 for AI processing. The "ultra-core" A78 effectively takes the place of the Cortex-X1 seen in competitors like the Snapdragon 888, providing a single high-speed core for demanding single-threaded tasks.
Meanwhile, the Dimensity 1100 includes a more traditional big.LITTLE core configuration, with four standard Cortex-A78s, at up to 2.6GHz, and four Cortex-A55s, also with a nine-core G77 GPU. Effectively, it's a slightly cut-down version of the new flagship MediaTek SoC.
Gaming performance has also been enhanced, with the Dimensity 1200 and 1100 now supporting refresh rates of up to 168Hz and 144Hz respectively. (A good deal faster than the 120Hz panels in leading Android phones like the Galaxy S21.) Meanwhile, re-vamped ISPs (image signal processors) allow the Dimensity 1200 to handle photo resolutions of up to 200MP, or 108MP for the Dimensity 1100. MediaTek also boasts up to 20% quicker night mode photo processing speeds compared to the previous generation, and a number of new 4K video capabilities such as video bokeh and multi-depth smart focusing.
The latest chips have been kitted out with new 5G capabilities too — both support simultaneous voice and data over 5G, 5G carrier aggregation support across both FDD and TDD spectrum, and true dual-SIM 5G even on standalone networks. That's in addition to improved 5G handoff and power-saving improvements. Bluetooth 5.2 support is onboard too, for ultra-low latency wireless audio.
MediaTek says a number of big-name Android manufacturers including Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO, and Realme have "expressed support" for the new Dimensity chips, suggesting new phones with the SoCs may be imminent. The firm says we should expect the first Dimensity 1100 and 1200 smartphones to start shipping from late Q1 or early Q2 2021.
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Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.