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Snapdragon Chip Outperforms MediaTek in Xiaomi Phone Cameras
by Michael Diamond and Todd R. Weiss | February 16, 2023
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When Chinese smartphone maker, Xiaomi, unveiled two distinct models of its latest 12T smartphones in late 2022, the Xiaomi 12T Pro and the standard 12T, the company took an interesting direction – each of the phone models was built around a different mobile chipset.

Strikingly, the use of the different mobile chipsets – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, found in the Xiaomi 12T Pro, and the MediaTek Dimensity 8100 Ultra, found in the Xiaomi 12T – provides a perfect stage to compare the features, technology, and performance of the competing mobile chip platforms.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 mobile chips are found in millions of smartphones today and are the precursor to the upcoming newest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2 chips that will soon arrive in the next smartphone models from a wide range of handset makers.

But with many millions of the powerful and flexible Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chips already in circulation in smartphones throughout the global market, comparing them with the MediaTek chips in the Xiaomi 12T lineup clearly shows the serious advantages that smartphone users gain today when their handsets are running on more advanced Snapdragon chips.

For smartphone camera users, the dramatically better picture quality and smarter creative capabilities of the Xiaomi 12T Pro and its Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip compared to the standard 12T phone and its lesser MediaTek chip graphically illustrate the differences in the chips.

Vastly Superior Image Signal Processor (ISP)

The category-leading performance of the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip in the Xiaomi 12T Pro starts with the integration of a triple 18-bit Qualcomm Spectra Image Signal Processor (ISP), which provides crystal-clear images filled with color, depth, and incredible photo quality for smartphone users. The Spectra ISP in the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chips records video in 8K HDR with more than one billion shades of color, and it captures up to 64MP images simultaneously, while still including fine image details. Proving the superiority of the Qualcomm Spectra ISP, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip in the Xiaomi 12T Pro handles super low lighting conditions by capturing 30 separate images, then automatically merging their best segments into one new image for brilliantly composed and improved photos taken after dark.

The image below clearly showcases the differences in the Xiaomi 12T Pro’s more robust pixels, capturing the richness of color in the lagoon.

Snapdragon Chip Outperforms MediaTek in Xiaomi Phone Cameras

According to Geekbench 5 testing, the Xiaomi 12T Pro’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip and mobile platform provides about 17 percent higher performance than the MediaTek chip that is built into the standard Xiaomi 12T handset.

The higher performance seen in the Xiaomi 12T Pro is directly related to its use of the more advanced Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 mobile chip, which also provides other feature and performance boosts compared to the less powerful MediaTek chip in the standard Xiaomi 12T handset.

Snapdragon’s More Powerful AI Engine

Bringing even more performance capabilities to the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip in the Xiaomi 12T Pro is the integrated 7th Gen Qualcomm AI Engine, which delivers Snapdragon’s fastest and most advanced AI mobile chip performance, which can be seen in the platform’s photographic features. The AI capabilities with the cameras aid in capturing dynamic footage with simultaneous AI Bokeh effects and face tracking, and deliver up to 20 percent better performance per watt than previous Snapdragon AI engines. The included 3rd Gen Qualcomm Sensing Hub features a low-power AI system that uses a new architecture for intelligent sensing experiences without negatively affecting battery life, which is a huge benefit.

The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip is built for AI from the ground up, including a Qualcomm Adreno GPU, a Qualcomm Kryo CPU, a Qualcomm Hexagon Processor, and a fused AI Accelerator that is made up of a Hexagon Tensor Accelerator, Hexagon Vector eXtensions, and a Hexagon Scalar Accelerator. Also included is support for mix precision (INT8+INT16) and support for all precisions (INT8, INT16, FP16). The Qualcomm Kryo CPU is built on a 4nm manufacturing process and runs at up to 3.2GHz using an eight-core Arm v9 Cortex-X2 64-bit architecture.

Xiaomi 12T Pro and 12T Camera Specifications

The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1-powered Xiaomi 12T Pro smartphone also excels when it comes to its built-in cameras, compared to the MediaTek chip-powered Xiaomi 12T standard handset. Equipped with the Snapdragon chip, the Xiaomi 12T Pro provides three stunning main cameras – an amazing 200 megapixel (MP) f/1.69 wide-angle, auto-focus camera with optical image stabilization (OIS); an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle camera; and a 2MP f/2.4 macro camera, giving users a wide choice of creative options and capabilities. Also included is a 20MP front selfie camera.

Showing off its broader capabilities, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1-powered Xiaomi 12T Pro can shoot 8K video at 24 frames per second (fps), 4K video at 30fps or 60fps, or 1080p video at 30, 60, 120 or 240fps. It also can shoot HDR10+ video. The front selfie camera can take 1080p video at 30 or 60fps in HDR mode.

In comparison, the standard Xiaomi 12T handset, running on the less powerful MediaTek mobile platform, includes a main camera with only 108MP, an 8MP ultra-wide angle camera, and a 2MP macro camera. The MediaTek chip-equipped phone can only take 4K video at 30fps or 1080p video at 30, 60, 120 or 240fps. The standard 12T also includes a 20MP selfie camera that can shoot 1080p video at 30 or 60fps in HDR mode.

The image below is a still capture from a recorded video. You can see the clarity the Xiaomi 12T Pro provides, even from a distance.

Snapdragon Chip Outperforms MediaTek in Xiaomi Phone Cameras

Overview: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Versus MediaTek Mobile Camera Platforms

When it comes to overall mobile chip platforms in comparing the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1-equipped Xiaomi 12T Pro premium smartphone to the MediaTek-equipped standard Xiaomi 12T handset, the plain Jane 12T clearly lags the more impressive 12T Pro in significant ways.

In every category from image quality to AI capabilities, HDR video quality, processing speeds and more, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 mobile chip platform outshines the MediaTek chips, based on a head-to-head comparison of the platforms in the Xiaomi 12T Pro and 12T handsets. The more refined and powerful Snapdragon chips have clear advantages for smartphone users who want the best mobile performance, image quality, and other capabilities as they use their devices daily.

The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 platform and its deeper intelligence and capabilities have been available and included in a wide range of Android smartphones since early 2022, while the MediaTek chip continues to fall short.

We continue to be impressed with Qualcomm’s commitment to relentless innovation when it comes to its Snapdragon smartphone mobile chips. For smartphone users who want the best camera capabilities in their new handsets they need to be sure that Snapdragon mobile platforms are the components built into their next phones.

Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.

Other insights from Futurum Research:

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X35 5G Modem to Power IoT Devices

Lenovo Unveils its New ThinkPhone Leveraging Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SOC

Qualcomm Intros Snapdragon Satellite, First Satellite-Based Solution Capable of Two-Way Messaging for Smartphones

Image Credit: TechBoilers

About the Authors

Michael Diamond is an industry analyst and foresight professional with 25 years of experience in the IT channel and market research industry. He is a route-to-market expert covering desktop and mobile devices, collaboration, contact center, ProAV, data center infrastructure, and cybersecurity. Prior to joining Futurum Research, Michael worked for The NPD Group as the sole industry analyst covering indirect channels, cybersecurity, SMB and vertical market trends, data center infrastructure (e.g., enterprise storage, servers, networking), ProAV and PCs. He has been quoted by media outlets such as Bloomberg, Kiplinger, TWICE, OPI (Office Products International), Apple World today, Dark Reading, Enterprise Storage Forum, Credit-Suisse, Footwear News, CRN (Computer Reseller News), Channel Futures and Into Tomorrow.  Michael has presented at myriad events including The Channel Company’s Xchange, The Global Technology Distribution Council’s summit, SMB TechFest and more. 

Todd is an experienced Analyst with over 21 years of experience as a technology journalist in a wide variety of tech focused areas.