Meaningful competition is frustratingly hard to come by in today's mobile landscape. That's a situation that's true across categories, from phones themselves, to the components that go into them — as time goes by, we end up with fewer players in the game, and correspondingly less choice. Qualcomm's the dominant force when it comes to SoCs, and while a few phone makers flirt with silicon of their own, it largely feels like they're doing so just to show that they can. But all along there's also been MediaTek, and while we're used to seeing its chips on lower-end phone hardware, last year's launch of the Dimensity 9000 attempted to put the company on real flagship footing. Now it's following that first big step with a second, more confident one, with the introduction of the new Dimensity 9200.
When we got to meet the Dimensity 9000+ back in June, we were looking at some modest tweaks to an existing design — exactly the sort of clock speed bumps you'd expect from a “plus” model. With the Dimensity 9200, MediaTek brings us some much more palpable upgrades, making this chip really look like the proper successor we'd expect it to be.
1x Cortex-X3 (3.05GHz) + 3x A715 (2.85GHz) + 4x A510 (1.8GHz)
8MB L3 cache plus 6MB system cache
LPDDR5X 8533Mbps supported
8 CC mmWave, 4 CC sub-6GHz
Wi-Fi 7 ready, Bluetooth 5.3 w/ LE
UFS 4.0 with Multi-Circular Queue, Full HD+ up to 240Hz, 5K (2.5Kx2) up to 60Hz
As you can see, we've got upgrades all across the board here, starting with the CPU itself. Beyond the move from a primary X2 core to an X3 (and those secondary cores graduating from the A710 to A715), the chip is now fabricated with the second generation of TSMC's 4nm process. Those new cores also mean that this is now a 64-bit only chip. MediaTek expects users to see a 10-12% improvement in raw performance compared to the Dimensity 9000 — and maybe more importantly, reduction in power consumption by up to 25%.
Last year's Mali G710 may have technically been capable of handling ray-traced graphics, but the hot new Immortalis GPU in the 9200 upgrades that to full-blown hardware support. Camera image processing gets a shot in the arm with AI-powered exposure adjustment for extra crisp shots, and new support for RGBW sensors give phone manufacturers the opportunity to build devices around the 9200 that are capable of some exceptional low-light photography.
You don't have a Wi-Fi 7 router yet, but one day you will, and MediaTek is getting a head hard start on things by building the Dimensity 9200 with forward-looking support. Don't worry, though; it's absolutely ready to get online with your existing Wi-Fi 6 setup, and could potentially consumer 70% less power when doing so, compared to last year's chip. It looks like the mmWave support situation is also greatly improving for MediaTek, and after the missed opportunity with the 9000, the 9200 is ready to juggle sub-6 and mmWave alike.
Other upgrades with this generation include a new advanced cooling system to help all this silicon cool and running smoothly, as well as the possibility of almost double the performance out of the AI Processing Unit. Audiophiles can look forward to exceptionally low-latency (below 53ms) BT audio output, plus support for extra-high-fidelity 24-bit 192kHz sound.
Curious how this all comes together? Us, too. Thankfully, we may not have to wait long to find out, with the first phones built around the Dimensity 9200 scheduled to launch before the end of 2022.