MediaTek's latest Dimensity phone chippery is 25 per cent faster than its predecessor, supports 200MP cameras

But remember – more pixels doesn't automatically mean better pictures


Taiwanese chip flinger MediaTek has introduced two new additions to its Dimensity SoC lineup, both targeting higher-end smartphones.

The Dimensity 1200 and 1100 are both manufactured using TSMC's 6nm process and use the same GPU, Arm's Mali-G77. Across the board, there's support for dual-sim 5G connections, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.2. Each supports LPDDR4x RAM and UFS 3.1 storage. The main points of differentiation come when you look at processing power as well as photography capabilities.

At the high-end, the Dimensity 1200 is seen as a replacement to the 1000-series chip introduced early last year. This time, MediaTek has opted for a tri-cluster architecture. This consists of a single Cortex-A78 "ultra-core" clocked at 3GHz, three A78 "super cores" clocked at 2.6GHz, and four power-sipping "efficiency cores" based on the Cortex-A55 design and clocked at 2GHz.

In a briefing, MediaTek's GM of sales, Finbarr Moynihan, claimed the Dimensity 1200 offers a 22 per cent uplift in computing performance, and operates 25 per cent more efficiently than its predecessor.

By contrast, the Dimensity 1100 uses a conventional two-cluster architecture (often referred to as big.LITTLE), touting four Cortex-A78 cores clocked at 2.6GHz, as well as four Cortext-A55 cores at 2.0GHz.

Differences emerge between the ISP (image-signal processor) present in each chip. MediaTek says the variant used on the Dimensity 1200 is capable of capturing up to 200MP from a single sensor, whereas the Dimensity 1100 maxes out at 108MP.

socially distanced party

MediaTek's latest chip promises 5G for the proles: Destined for those not-so-high end smartmobes

READ MORE

More megapixels doesn't necessarily result in higher-quality pictures, however. In fact, the inverse is often true. Smaller pixels are less capable at absorbing light, resulting in poorer low-light performance. This forces vendors to rely on a tactic called "pixel binning", which combines groups of pixels into a single logical unit, improving picture quality at the expense of size and resolution.

High-megapixel sensors are gimmick, basically, but an effective one. Ultra-high megapixel counts serve as a great marketing hook for smartphone vendors, eager to ply subpar cameras on unwitting consumers who don't know any better. The first 200MP-sensor phones are expected to hit shelves later this year, with Samsung's ISOCELL expected to lead the charge.

On the other hand, though, that we're likely to see phones sharing MediaTek's 200MP capture capability over multiple smaller sensors, and so those devices won't suffer from the aforementioned low-light performance.

Both chips are capable of powering QHD+ (circa 3200 x 1440) displays at a smooth 90Hz refresh rate. Things get slightly bonkers when you drop the resolution down to FHD+ (roughly 2400 x 1080), with the Dimensity 1100 supporting refresh rates of 144Hz, while the Dimensity 1200 is capable of powering 168Hz screens.

This feature is likely only of interest to those using their phones for competitive multiplayer gaming. In normal use, you'd crank that way down to conserve battery power, with 90Hz offering the perfect compromise between display speed and battery consumption.

MediaTek expects the first Dimensity 1100 and 1200 phones to become available towards the end of Q1. There's no word on expected pricing, but we wouldn't be surprised if these appear on phones within the £400 to £800 bracket. ®


Keep Reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021