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MediaTek's 10-core mobile chip hits the market next month

The more the merrier?
Richard Lai, @richardlai
March 16, 2016
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As a believer of the old "quality not quantity" saying, Qualcomm backed away from octa core in favor of just four custom-designed cores for its Snapdragon 820 chipset. MediaTek, being the pioneer of octa-core mobile CPU, simply shrugged and teased its upcoming 10-core, tri-cluster Helio X20 last May. So where is it now? Well, at today's Shenzhen event, MediaTek co-COO and EVP Jeffrey Ju told Engadget that the first Helio X20 devices will finally be hitting the markets next month. To heat things up a little, MediaTek also announced the Helio X25 which is just a faster version of the Helio X20: 2.5GHz instead of 2.3GHz for the Cortex-A72 performance cluster, and 850MHz instead of 780MHz for the Mali-T880 MP4 GPU. This will also be getting to consumers' hands soon after the Helio X20, according to the exec.

While MediaTek didn't mention any device brands, Meizu president Bai Yongxiang took the liberty to announce that the Helio X25 will be exclusive to its next flagship smartphone, the Pro 6, for a few months. As to when this will arrive, we'll just have to wait and see; the sooner the better, obviously.

MediaTek's Helio X20 family is seen as a direct competitor of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820, and while the latter easily stands out with 14m process, 4K display output plus LTE Cat 12/13 radio, MediaTek's high-end chips have the advantage of spreading across a wider range of price tiers. In the case of the earlier Helio X10, it's featured on both the HTC One M9+ (initially about $770, now $550) and the Redmi Note 2 (about $125), so we can expect the same game plan for its successor. With its new tri-cluster design, the Helio X20 also claims to consume 30 percent less power than conventional dual-cluster CPUs, while offering 15 percent more computational power than the competition.

Other cool features on the Helio X20 series include SilkSwipe which boosts touchscreen response (as shown by the above comparison between a MediaTek prototype and the Mate 8 powered by Huawei's very own Kirin 950 chipset), Imagiq ISP which supports both 3D camera sensors (including live Bokeh effect for video recording) and RWWB sensors (with greater light sensitivity than conventional RGB sensors), MiraVision CrystalView which delivers slick 120fps video for much better VR experience, and MiraVision Chameleon Display which adjusts the screen's color temperature and brightness according to the phone's surroundings (though a separate RGB light sensor is required). That's quite a handful to look forward to.

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