MediaTek announces the Dimensity 720, another mid-range SoC with integrated 5G
MediaTek launched the Dimensity 1000, its first SoC in the 5G Dimensity SoC series, back in November 2019. The Dimensity 1000 in its original form interestingly hasn’t made its way to any shipping device yet, but the Dimensity 1000L—a lower binned version of the chip—did make its way to the Chinese OPPO Reno3. The Dimensity 1000’s announcement was followed by the announcements of the mid-range Dimensity 800 and the Dimensity 820 at CES 2020 and in May 2020 respectively, while the Dimensity 1000 received a refresh in the form of the 144Hz-supporting Dimensity 1000 Plus, which made its way into the iQOO Z1. Now, MediaTek has extended the Dimensity series by launching the first SoC in the Dimensity 700 in the form of the Dimensity 720. This is another mid-range SoC with an integrated 5G modem, but as expected, it cuts down on its core specifications compared to the Dimensity 800 series.
CPU, GPU, and Memory
The Dimensity 720 is manufactured on a 7nm process. It has two ARM Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 2GHz and six ARM Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 2GHz. The 2+6 CPU core configuration here is a step downward from the Dimensity 800, which had a 4+4 core configuration. The Dimensity 720 skips out on two big cores and opts to go with six little cores instead. The SoC doesn’t feature ARM’s Cortex-A77 core, which is disappointing to see considering that Qualcomm’s newly announced Snapdragon 690 does feature the newer, faster Cortex-A77.
In terms of the GPU, MediaTek is going with ARM’s Mali-G57MC3. The Mali-G57 is a narrower variant of the flagship Mali-G77. The three GPU cores here means that GPU performance will be serviceable, but it won’t challenge flagship SoCs anytime soon. The Dimensity 1000L, for example, has the Mali-G77MC9 GPU, 3x the amount of GPU cores. The chip supports 2133MHz LPDDR4X memory (with up to 12GB of RAM) and UFS 2.2-class storage, skipping out on UFS 3.0 and above.
In terms of connectivity, MediaTek says the Dimensity 720 is integrated with the “most power-efficient 5G modem in its class”. The maximum downlink speeds are rated at 2.34Gbps. It’s built with MediaTek 5G Ultrasave technology that uses both network and content awareness intelligence to manage the modem’s operating mode in real-time to extend battery life. It supports 2CC CA, Voice over New Radio (VoNR), 5G and 4G dual SIM, dual standby (DSDS). It also supports both NSA (non-standalone) and SA (standalone) sub-6GHz 5G networks.
The Dimensity 720 supports Full HD+ (2520×1080) 90Hz high frame-rate displays (HFR), which is fast becoming a popular feature even in the lower mid-range segment. Unfortunately, 120Hz displays aren’t supported. In terms of video streaming capabilities, the SoC supports MiraVision HDR10+ video playback.
Cameras and AI
The chip supports up to 64MP cameras at 22fps, or 20MP+16MP dual cameras at 30fps. It has a range of AI camera enhancements that are powered by the integrated AI Processing Unit (APU), which is MediaTek’s term for NPU. It also features Integrated Voice Wakeup (VoW) to minimize power consumption of always-on voice assistants as well as dual mic noise suppression so that voice assistants can hear users more clearly in noisy environments.
The Dimensity 720 will probably show up in lower mid-range phones and act as a competitor to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 690. It has a disadvantage in CPU core architecture, while the GPU may be closely matched. Qualcomm has another advantage of being able to get more design wins, as with half of 2020 completed, we have seen few phones adopt MediaTek’s Dimensity SoCs, even those that are promising on paper. The Redmi 10X with the Dimensity 820 SoC has a great value proposition, for instance, but it’s available only in China. Let’s see how MediaTek’s SoCs are adopted in the latter half of the year. To learn more about the SoC, readers can visit MediaTek’s website.