MediaTek Helio X20_2

Snapdragon 820 Too Expensive for Chinese Devices?

March 17, 2016 - Written By Mihai Matei

The Snapdragon 820 appears to be the most powerful mobile SoC on the market today, so it’s no surprise the latest flagship phones from Samsung and LG use it. According to benchmarks, the Snapdragon 820 SoC is able to score roughly 135,000 points in AnTuTu v6.0, outperforming Apple’s A9 as well as the Exynos 8890 chipset found inside the international Samsung Galaxy S7 variant. However, the chipset’s high levels of performance apparently come at a cost, and certain industry insiders are of the opinion that the majority of flagship phones to be released in China in 2016 will not use Qualcomm’s powerhouse. Instead, many smartphone makers will rely either on the Snapdragon 652 or the MediaTek Helio X20 instead.

According to an analyst from China, the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC is accompanied by a price tag of roughly $70. This is a rather steep price and the reason why certain smartphone manufacturers from China will apparently look elsewhere for an alternative chipset. One of these alternatives could be the MediaTek Helio X20, which is said to hit the market in a commercially available handset starting next month. Moreover, the analyst claims that the Helio X20 is priced at just ~$30, which is less than half the price of the Snapdragon 820. The Helio X20 makes a good candidate for budget-conscious flagships or smartphones residing in the upper mid-range segment. Since the MediaTek Helio X20 scores roughly 90,000 in AnTuTu’s benchmark, the Helio X20 appears to offer better value for money compared to the Snapdragon 820.

Specs-wise, the Snapdragon 820 and Helio X20 are two extremely different beasts. Qualcomm’s latest chipset was built by Samsung in its own 14nm FinFET facilities; it uses two Kryo cores clocked at up to 1.59 GHz, and two additional high-performance Kryo cores operating at frequencies of up to 2.15 GHz per core. The SoC also accommodates an Adreno 530 graphics chip and supports LPDDR4 RAM. On the other hand, the 20nm MediaTek Helio X20 boasts a total of 10 CPU cores, specifically a dual-core ARM Cortex-A72 unit clocked at up to 2.3 GHz, and two additional quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPUs operating at frequencies of up to 2.0 GHz and 1.4 GHz respectively. The CPU works along with a Mali-T880 MP4 graphics chip and offers LPDDR3 RAM support.