Without a doubt, one of the most complex smartphone themes are their processors. To begin with, it’s completely wrong to call them “processors” because they are much more than that. That’s why commonly used name by manufacturers is SoC (system on a chip) as it explains their purpose more clearly.
What is MediaTek?
MediaTek is producer of the affordable yet powerful Helio chipsets. MediaTek processors can be found primarily in Sony smartphones and somewhat weaker devices by Chinese manufacturers.
MediaTek’s main advantage over Qualcomm and Exynos is the price that can be up to two times lower for roughly the same performance. However, user experiences are not that good.
The biggest criticism for MediaTek’s processors is the extremely rapid warming and reach of high temperatures (Snapdragon 810 had the same problem).
Among the latest models are Helio X10, P10 and X20. Benchmark testing shows that the X20 is ranked with Snapdragon 820 and Exynos 8890, but still it doesn’t find the way to the premium smartphone class.
One of the few better devices with P10 is the Sony Xperia XA, while the X20 is found in devices not so popular such as Elephon, Zopo or Doogee. MediaTek Inc Helio X23 and Helio X27 are two new chipsets, announced in December 2016.
Helio X23 and Helio X27 maintain the MiraVision EnergySmart Screen technology that allegedly reduces up to 25% battery consumption. They have the same GPU as Helio X20 ARM Mali T880 MP4.
By purchasing a device with MediaTek processor, one limit itself (in most cases) to a smartphone in a lower middle class or some start-up model.
Characteristics of MediaTek:
- Not so economical chipset – Big battery consumer.
- Greater heating rate due to a number of processor cores.
- A small, graphic chip that is not produced by MediaTek is integrated within this chipset.
- Process power is supreme.
- In general chipsets offer more cores per processor.
What is Snapdragon?
Qualcomm processors are best known for their Snapdragon series. They are currently the best in the market thanks to the Snapdragon 820.
This premium model can be found in some of the best smartphones of today. The best Chinese mobile phones – Xiaomi Mi 5, OnePlus 3 LG G5 Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge (Chinese and American market) and HTC 10.
The fact that Samsung has moved away from its Exynos chip is enough to talk about the quality of the Snapdragon 820. Qualcomm currently holds 65 percent of the 4G LTE market, and is particularly dominant in China, where the 5 largest manufacturers use mainly their processors (Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, TCL, Lenovo).
The main advantages of Snapdragon 820 in comparison to previous models stand out in speed, low energy consumption, 40% improvement in graphics. Graphic capabilities are the fifth generation Adreno GPU (Adreno 530). In addition to the 800 series, the Snapdragons 600 series are also of high quality that can be found in mid-range smartphones, such as the Huawei P8 Lite, OPPO R5, HTC Desire 820 and similar.
Considering the advanced technology, the arrival of increasingly demanding content like VR or 4K, a smartphone with a processor below the 600 series is not recommended. Exceptions may be devices like Samsung J5 2016.
Characteristics of Snapdragon:
- The most secure chipset – very little use of battery.
- Less heat compared to Intel or MediaTek.
- Adreno, a graphics plug produced by Qualcomm, is always part of this chipset.
- Benchmark tests often show that the performance of the Snapdragon chipset is better than the rest.
Difference Between MediaTek and Snapdragon
Origin of MediaTek and Snapdragon
MediaTek is international semiconductor company founded in 1997 with headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Snapdragon are processors produced by Qualcomm, which is also an international semiconductor and IT equipment producing company, with headquarters in San Diego, California, U.S. It was founded in 1985.
Processor cores in MediaTek and Snapdragon
Both MediaTek and Snapdragon are multicore processors (1-2-4-6-8-10). MediaTek started trial production of a 12 core chipset. However, we should have in mind that it’s less important how many cores the processor contains, and more what cores are doing.
CPU and GPU in MediaTek and Snapdragon
Comparing MediaTek and Qualcomm purely from the standpoint of performance, there is almost no difference in terms of CPU, but it’s clear that the graphics part is better done by the Adreno GPU installed in all Snapdragon SoCs. This is especially noticeable in the high end segment. The difference in GPU performance is significantly less noticeable in the mid-range and low-end segment. Qualcomm produces its graphics chips that are best engineered to work with the processor and other components.
Battery life of MediaTek and Snapdragon
MediaTek chipsets are known to be high power consuming which results in shortened battery life. They are improving their processors to be more energy efficient but are still behind Snapdragon.
Performance wise MediaTek’s processors are solid performing. Their extra core processors enable intensive and heavy task performing and they are very good at multi-tasking. Snapdragon has even better performance in multi-tasking, handling heavy and intensive tasks and gaming.
Snapdragon processors are generally less prone to heating compared to MediaTek.
Cost of MediaTek and Snapdragon
MediaTek SOCs are often cheaper than similar Qualcomm solutions.
MediaTek vs. Snapdragon: Comparison in a tabular form
Summary of MediaTek vs. Snapdragon
- Generally speaking, the processing power of both chipsets is generally high. However, the differences between them are mostly reflected in battery consumption, i.e. efficiency, as well as endurance. According to our estimates, Snapdragon is a more powerful and reliable chipset than MediaTek, but MediaTek is therefore a much more cost-efficient variant.