Review and Compare: Chipsets for Smartphones

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Review and Compare: Chipsets for Smartphones

Last month I reviewed some popular Chipsets for Telecom Android Tablets. This month I will be taking a look at some of the most popular chipsets being used in smartphones. This will be split up into three tables for chipsets that are more commonly used in; Entry level, midrange and high end smartphones.


I will also explain some of the network connectivity terms (CDMA, GSM, GPRS etc.) that you may come across when researching smartphone chipsets.



Chips for Entry Level Android Smartphones


These chipsets are among the more basic smartphone chipsets found at the moment. They will still support all the basic functions required for an entry level smartphone.



 

MT6580

Spreadtrum 7731

MT6572

Released

2015

2014

2013

Cores

4

4

2

CPU Type

ARM Cortex-A7

ARM Cortex-A7

ARM Cortex-A7

Maximum Frequency

1.3GHz

1.3GHz

1.2GHz

GPU

Mali-400

Mali-400

Mali-400

Maximum Resolution

1280x720

1280x720

960x540

L1 Cache (Level 1)

L2 Cache (Level 2)

32 KB

512 KB

32 KB

512 KB

32 KB

256 KB

Lithography

28nm

28nm

28nm

Mobile Broadband Signals

CDMA, GPRS, GSM, HSPA+, HSUPA, UMTS

CDMA, EDGE, GPRS, GSM, HSPA+, UMTS

CDMA, GPRS, GSM, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS

Maximum Memory

RAM 2GB

ROM 16GB

RAM 2GB

ROM 16GB

RAM 1GB

ROM 8GB

Camera (Maximum Resolution)

13MP

8MP

5MP

Video Encoding

1080p

1080p

720p

Video Decoding

1080p

1080p

720p

Market

Entry Level

Entry Level

Entry Level



You may recognise both the Spreadtrum 7731 and the MT6572 from last month’s article: Review and Comparison: The Most Popular Chipsets for Telecom Android Tablets. These chipsets were initially designed as smartphone IC’s however due to the cost they have also been utilised in telecom tablets.



Chips for Mid-range Android Smartphones


 

Qualcomm

MSM8909

MT6735

Qualcomm MSM8926

Released

2015

2015

2014

Cores

4

4

4

CPU Type

ARM Cortex-A7

ARM Cortex-A53

ARM Cortex-A7

Maximum Frequency

1.1GHz

1.3GHz

1.2GHz

GPU

Qualcomm Adreno 304

Mali-T720

Qualcomm Adreno 305

Maximum Resolution

1920x1080

1280x720

1920x1080

L1 Cache (Level 1)

L2 Cache (Level 2)

32 KB

512 KB

32 KB

512 KB

16KB

1024 KB

Lithography

28nm

28nm

28nm

Mobile Broadband Signals

CDMA, EDGE, GSM, HSDPA, HSPA+, HSUPA, LTE

CDMA, GPRS, GSM, HSPA+, HSUPA, LTE, UMTS

CDMA, EDGE GPRS, GSM, HSPA+,LTE, UMTS

Maximum Memory

RAM 2GB

ROM 16GB

RAM 2GB

ROM 16GB

RAM 2GB

ROM 32GB

Camera (Maximum Resolution)

8MP

13MP

13MP

Video Encoding

1080p

1080p

1080p

Video Decoding

1080p

1080p

1080p

Market

Mid-Range

Mid-Range

Mid-Range



These 3 chipsets all support LTE, have more advanced GPU’s and are in general a grade above the entry level chipsets.



Chips for High End Android Smartphones


The following 3 chipsets used for high end smartphones all come from Mediatek. This doesn’t mean that Mediatek are the only IC company doing high end smartphone chip, it is simply just the 3 chosen by me due to their popularity and availability.


Some IC companies like Qualcomm may only release their top chipsets to the biggest brands at first making them harder to acquire for smaller companies.



 

MT6592

MT6753

MT6755

Released

2014

2014

2015

Cores

8

8

8

CPU Type

ARM Cortex-A7

ARM Cortex-A53

ARM Cortex-A53

Maximum Frequency

2GHz

1.3GHz

2GHz

GPU

Mali 450

Mali T720

Mali T860

Maximum Resolution

1920x1080

1920x1200

1920x1080

Lithography

28nm

28nm

28nm

Mobile Broadband Signals

CDMA, EDGE, HSPA+, LTE, UMTS

CDMA, GPRS, GSM, HSDPA, HSPA+, HSUPA, LTE, UMTS

CDMA, EDGE, HSPA+,LTE

Maximum Memory

RAM 2GB

ROM 32GB

RAM 4GB

ROM 32GB

RAM 4GB

ROM 32GB

Camera (Maximum Resolution)

16MP

16MP

21MP

Video Encoding

1088p

1080p

1080p

Video Decoding

2160p  

1080p

1080p

Market

High End

High End

High End



These are all Octa-core chipsets.


MT6592 Mediatek’s highest clocked (up to 2GHz) 32 bit octa-core option. The MT6753 is medium clocked at 1.3GHz with 64 bit octa core processor and it uses the Mali T720 graphics series which is the next generation, 64 bit version over the MT6592.


‘MT6755 is Mediatek’s Helio P10 optimized for best performance per watt in the industry allowing the slimmest of phones without compromising its performance or features.’, Mediatek.



CDMA and GSM?

CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) and GMS (Global Systems for Mobiles) are two basic technologies used in mobile phones that compete with each other.


For example, in the US, CDMA is used by SPRINT and Verizon while GSM is used by carriers like TMobile and Cingular.


As the name suggests, GSM is more of a global standard and the 3G technology used by most carriers around the world.


Which is better?

In terms of quality there is no real difference between GSM and CDMA. The quality of the network will depend on the carrier.


One difference you will find is that GSM phones are able to be unlocked and moved between carriers while CDMA phone are usually locked to a single carrier.



GPRS

“GPRS (General packet radio service) is a packet oriented mobile data service on the 2G and 3G cellular communication system's global system for mobile communications (GSM)”, Wiki.


GPRS is a battery friendly way for your smartphone to access the internet and is useful for checking and sending emails and MMS.


It promises data rates from 56 up to 114 Kbps and continuous connection to the internet for mobile phones.



EDGE

EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) is an enhancement to 2nd Generation (2G or 2.5G) GSM or GPRS networks. It brings web browsing and data transfer closer to 3G levels.


EDGE can provide speeds up to 473.6 Kbkps however it is generally limited to 70-130 Kbps speeds in order to conserve spectrum resources.



HSPA

HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) is the combination of two technologies HSDPA (High Speed Download Packet Access) and HSUPA (High Speed Upload Packet Access).


It is a 3rd Generation technology (3G) based on UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) standards offering faster download speeds at the costs of upload speeds.


HSPA+

This is an evolution of HSPA which works like a turbo boost for UMTS and HSUPA to help them reach 4th Generation (4G) speeds.


“It can provide the support speed of up to 168 Mbits/s however, in reality, you’ll get a peak speed of 21 Mbits/s which is because the current 3G network architecture is not designed to handle such massive bandwidth.” (Digital Guide Technology Blog)



UMTS

UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) also referred to as W-CDMA (Wide-CDMA) is another 3G technology that delivers faster data rates than EDGE due to how the data is coded and how the bandwidth used.


I hope this article has brought some value to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this article please use the comments section below to let me know.


If you have any particular topic that you are interested to learn more about you can also let me know in the comment section below. We are always looking for idea’s for our articles that can bring the most value to our subscribers.


By Garry from Hatch



 

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