Dimensity 6100+ Lags at Low End
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 offers more-powerful CPUs and faster DRAM than MediaTek’s Dimensity 6100+, but neither new chip delivers much improvement to low-cost smartphones.
Traditionally, new smartphone features appear first in flagship processors and then “waterfall” down to the midrange and low end over time. But while flagship smartphone processors continue to advance steadily, the waterfall has slowed to a trickle. Low-cost processors are getting fewer and smaller improvements as high-end features take longer to reach the bottom of the stack. An increasing number never arrive.
New low-cost smartphone processors from industry leaders MediaTek and Qualcomm, the Dimensity 6100+ and Snapdragon 4 Gen 2, respectively, add few capabilities. Qualcomm refreshed last year’s Gen 1 version by boosting the CPU frequency 10% through a shrink to 4 nm transistors and adding an option for speedy LPDDR5 DRAM. Despite a two-year gap, MediaTek’s new low-end chip comes up short: it can download a bit faster on certain 5G networks relative to its predecessor, but it reduces the CPU frequency by 8%. The Snapdragon chip is already shipping in the Xiaomi Redmi Note 12R phone; MediaTek expects Dimensity 6100+ phones to ship later this quarter.
These low-end processors still use old Arm v8 CPUs and are stuck on Wi Fi 5, even as flagship processors have moved on from Wi Fi 6 and 6E to Wi Fi 7. High-end phones have been able to capture and display 4K video for more than eight years, but this capability has yet to reach the low end. And don’t even think about speedy millimeter-wave 5G. We’re not talking about dirt-cheap phones, either; the Dimensity 6xxx and Snapdragon 4 chips can appear in models costing more than $200.
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