MediaTek has announced the latest iteration of its Dimensity flagship chipsets, with the Dimensity 9200 positioned to compete with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and appear in smartphones before the end of the year.
It’s a second-gen 4nm chip powered by the latest generation of Armv9 architecture, including ray-racing from the Immortalis-G715 GPU, along with next-gen features like support for 240Hz displays and Wi-Fi 7. With integrated mmWave 5G, it’s also the first Dimensity flagship that’s positioned to break into the US market – though that’ll still take some doing.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Dimensity 9200.
When will the MediaTek Dimensity 9200 appear in phones?
MediaTek announced the Dimensity 9200 on 8 November, but it will take a little longer for it to appear in actual phones.
The company’s VP of corporate marketing, Finbarr Moynihan, said that the first hardware announcements should be made “imminently,” and in a press release the company promises that “Smartphones powered by the Dimensity 9200 will be available in the market by end of 2022.” So there won’t be too long to wait.
The chip’s big rival, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, is also expected soon – it should be announced at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit, which takes place over 15-17 November. Early rumours about the Snapdragon specs put the chips on a pretty level footing, but Qualcomm still has a heavy advantage when it comes to brand awareness and support in the US and European markets.
Which phones will feature the MediaTek Dimensity 9200?
So far, we’ve seen rumours of two main smartphone ranges that are expected to launch with the Dimensity 9200 inside.
Dominic Preston \ Foundry
The first is the Vivo X90 series. Vivo’s senior vice president and CTO Shi Yujian appeared in a pre-recorded video at MediaTek’s executive summit shortly after the 9200 announcement to confirm that Vivo will “launch the first smartphones powered by Dimensity 9200.”
This will most likely be in the Vivo X90 range, expected to launch in China soon. Most leakers expect Vivo to use both MediaTek and Qualcomm chips across the three phones we think we’ll see announced, with the standard Vivo X90 most likely to feature the Dimensity silicon.
Joining this could be the Oppo Find X6, expected to appear around March 2023. While some rumours have suggested it will use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, Oppo has a history with MediaTek. The company’s Find X5 Pro was one of the first to sport a Dimensity 9000, albeit only in China, so seeing the new chipset in the upcoming flagship Oppo device would make a lot of sense.
The big question is whether MediaTek can build on the sales of the 9000, which didn’t appear in too many flagships and struggled to break out of the Chinese market. Moynihan is confident, saying the chip should be more “broadly available” worldwide than last year’s, though with one big caveat: even he admits that it “may take some time” for Dimensity flagships to go on sale in the US.
Eric Fisher, MediaTek’s vice president and general manager of corporate sales, told Tech Advisor that we’ll see Dimensity 9200 flagship phones go on sale in Europe in 2023, but was less confident about the US market, warning that the company’s debut there was more likely to come in 2024 or 2025.
What are the MediaTek Dimensity 9200 specs?
Like the Dimensity 9000 before it, the 9200 is built on a 4nm processing node by TSMC, with chips based on Armv9 architecture. It uses the updated version of Armv9 though, including the Cortex-X3 CPU core and Immortalis-G715 GPU.
Dominic Preston \ Foundry
Let’s start with the CPU. It uses a standard 1+3+4 design, with the X3 running as the prime core at a clock speed of 3.05GHz. It’s joined by a trio of Cortex-A715 performance cores at 2.85GHz and four Cortex-A510 efficiency cores at 1.8GHz.
How does that compare to last year’s chip? MediaTek says it’s seen 12% improvement in single-core performance and 10% in multi-core on the Geekbench 5 benchmark. There are efficiency benefits too though, with a 25% reduction in power consumption – which should help battery life and heat management.
Throw in support for LPDDR5X RAM and new UFS 4.0 storage, and 9200 phones should be pretty nippy compared to current hardware.
Then there’s the GPU. While rival Qualcomm designs its own Mali GPU systems, MediaTek has decided to instead use the Arm Immortalis-G715, the company’s first GPU to include hardware acceleration for ray tracing. Ray tracing support is still rolling out slowly in mobile games, but where supported it will fairly drastically improve how light, shadow, and reflections are rendered in games.
Ray tracing aside, the G715 delivers plenty of performance boosts, with MediaTek claiming it can hit 32% higher performance than the Dimensity 9000 at the same power consumption.
MediaTek hasn’t yet shared many concrete benchmark results, but one is a doozy: it says the 9200 picked up an AnTuTu benchmark score of over 1.26 million points – 1,265,328, to be precise. That’s a record for the benchmark, and well up on the previous 1.12 million best scored by a Dimensity 9000+ phone.
Meanwhile on Geekbench 5.1.0 the company says it’s hit a single-core score of 1,424, with multi-core at 4,471. That’s higher than any score we at Tech Advisor have recorded for an Android phone – our current record is 4,282 for the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1-powered Xiaomi 12S Ultra – though still lags behind the latest iPhone performance.
With such early hardware these numbers don’t mean too much yet anyway, but should only be taken as rough indicators: in this case that the Dimensity 9200 should have plenty of power to compete with its big rivals.
What about the rest of the chip? Networking is one of the obvious highlights, with support for the latest Bluetooth 5.3 standard including low energy audio, which helps with battery life, and high fidelity audio for lossless quality.
Arguably more exciting is that the 9200 is “Wi-Fi 7 ready,” but I wouldn’t get too excited about that. The Wi-Fi 7 standard hasn’t even been finalised yet, and the first routers and other hardware featuring the tech are a year off or more. But hey, your Wi-Fi might be a little faster a few years from now with a 9200 phone.
Then there’s 5G. This is MediaTek’s first flagship chip to include integrated Sub-6 and mmWave 5G. That matters because mmWave support is all-but required by most US carriers, so including it here opens the door for the 9200 to appear in phones destined for the US market – something that the 9000 never managed.
“Adding the mmWave capability was driven a lot by the requirements of the American market,” admits Hu, so it’s clear that the company has the US in its sights, even if it doesn’t expect to break through next year.
The 9200 also opens the door to the next generation of phone displays. It’s capable of supporting 240Hz refresh rates for Full HD+ displays, a decent jump up from the 165Hz that’s currently the fastest on the market. It can drive 144Hz refresh rates on WQHD+ displays too, which opens the door to higher resolution gaming phones, while at 60Hz it can handle enormous 5K resolutions.
The other big upgrade is the Imagiq 890 ISP, which includes native support for RGBW camera sensors along with AI features that allow the ISP itself to do things like pick out the subject of a photo and separate the sky from the sea in order to optimise each element individually in post-processing.
For more on the Dimensity 9200, check out the episode of our podcast Fast Charge where we discuss it in more detail:
Tech Advisor's Deputy Editor, Dom covers everything that runs on electricity, from phones and laptops to wearables, audio, gaming, smart home, and streaming - plus he's a regular fixture on the Tech Advisor YouTube channel.