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The processor is the heart of any smartphone. And on which platform you choose a device, it will directly affect its performance, the quality of shooting photos and videos, as well as autonomy. Until 2020, in the comparison of Qualcomm and MediaTek , there was a clear leader in the person of the American company that produces Snapdragon single-chip systems. However, with the release of the MTK Dimensity line, it has become much more difficult to understand which processor is better for a smartphone. But it is all the more interesting to push these two platforms head-on.
Snapdragon and Dimensity in games
Today, Qualcomm and MediaTek offer chipsets that cover all price points. If you are looking for an inexpensive smartphone, you will choose between Dimensity 810 or Snapdragon 732G. Mid-range models will offer you Dimensity 920 or Snapdragon 778G, while flagships will offer you Dimensity 9000 or Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 . Although each pair of processors has a roughly comparable level of performance, Qualcomm and Snapdragon hardware behave differently in games.
Here is a personal example for you. Last year I had a vivo V21e (Snapdragon 720G) and its older brother Vivo V21 (Dimensity 700U) in my hands. Even though the MediaTek processor scored higher in AnTuTu (400k versus 350), the Qualcomm hardware gave my inner gamer more wiggle room when setting the graphics settings. While the Dimensity 700U forced me to stick with the average settings in Call of Duty Mobile, the “dragon” was ready for more.
A similar situation can be traced in the comparison of other processors. However, the limitation of graphics settings is not due to the capabilities of single-chip systems, but to the optimization of game developers. As a rule, they are either too lazy to customize their product to the MediaTek platform, or have a partnership agreement with Qualcomm. But this does not affect the smoothness of the picture, and even more so the performance of the smartphone in other tasks. Especially since Dimensity 9000 Plus is in the AnTuTu leaderboard today, and not its direct counterpart Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus .
Which phone is better
The choice of chipset also affects how the smartphone takes photos and shoots videos. Almost all camera phones are based on Snapdragon chipsets, which is already saying something. Qualcomm single-chip systems have at their disposal Hexagon coprocessors, which, among other things, are engaged in graphics processing. When comparing Snapdragon 720G and Dimensity 810 chips from the same price range, we see that Qualcomm is able to process more information in photo and video shooting mode. The situation is similar in other segments.
Of course, it is impossible to say with absolute certainty that all Snapdragon smartphones take pictures or shoot videos better than their competitors on MediaTek, and comparing devices from different manufacturers is not very indicative due to the difference in software. But my inner photographer always favors Qualcomm.
High CPU temperature
A couple of years ago, the presence of a MediaTek processor in a smartphone was a guarantee of a warm winter due to the strong heating of the case. Fortunately, with the advent of the Dimensity line, the situation has changed. The Chinese have switched to the current 4-7 nm process technology, and today some of their processors are even more stable than their American counterparts.
In a comparison of Dimensity 9000 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 via GFXTool benchmark, the Cortex-X2 performance core consumes more power and heats up more in Qualcomm’s implementation. If Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 consumes 3.89 watts, then Dimensity 9000 consumes 2.69 watts. The same goes for the less powerful Cortex-A710 (2.06W vs 1.72W). From this we can make a bold conclusion that in 2022 the flagships on MediaTek consume less energy and do not heat up so much.
In the segment of low-cost Android smartphones, the difference is not so obvious, and sometimes even turns out to be on the side of Snapdragon processors. Qualcomm is good at taming mid-range cores, preventing them from overclocking to such a speed that the battery begins to melt before our eyes, and the temperature of the case rises to unacceptable values.
Which processor is better
Personal experience and benchmarks paint a mixed picture when comparing Qualcomm and MediaTek chipsets . Snapdragon processors are better suited for games, but do not show stunning performance results in everyday tasks against the backdrop of MTK, as they did 3-4 years ago. And sometimes the power of Qualcomm’s flagship SoCs translates into inadequate power consumption, forcing mobile device manufacturers to either force-limit their speed or keep the case under extreme heat.
Another disadvantage of Snapdragon processors , which was not mentioned earlier, is the price. With comparable capabilities, they are always more expensive than their counterparts on MediaTek. Xiaomi 12S Pro and Xiaomi 12S Pro Dimensity Edition released this summer in China are clear evidence of this. The first smartphone based on Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 costs about $700, while its competitor on Dimensity 9000 Plus costs $600. But the screen, camera and other important parameters are indistinguishable.
Thus, it is worth choosing Snapdragon when buying an inexpensive smartphone, since budget and mid-budget SoC Dimensity are still inferior to the opponent in terms of mobile photography. But, if you are looking for a flagship device, then it’s time to pay attention to devices with Dimensity 8100 or 9000, which, at a similar level of performance, are more stable and cheaper than Qualcomm counterparts.