For good or bad, a month ago, Chinese MediaTek officially launched its all-new MT6592 chipset, powered by eight ARM Cortex-A7 cores, and there's no stopping the flood now. In a typical Android fashion, more is always better, and while there's definitely an argument to be made about the practical feasibility of as many cores, it seems likely at this point, that 2014 will see quite a few devices packing the MT6592 or a similar system-on-chip from the likes of LG, Qualcomm, Exynos, Huawei, Allwinner and Rockchip.
As this is still some pretty new tech, established big brands aren't exactly killing themselves in an attempt to reach the shore first, but that doesn't mean they don't mean to eventually. Truth be told, even if we do assume
that octa-core processors are nothing more than show, we still see a future ahead for the seemingly
redundant chips. If anything, history has shown that smartphone buyers sometimes get sold on significantly more gimmicky features.
So, who's taken to the task of carrying out the largely ungrateful task of heading the first charge? Chinese companies, for the most part, at least for now. The same, lacking the financial resources of incumbents, are often forced to look for each and every possible scenario that would serve to differentiate their wares, and MediaTek's new chip fits that bill perfectly. That being said, we're already seeing some palpable interest from large companies, such as HTC, LG, Alcatel (TCL), Huawei and Vivo, though we are yet to witness this materialize into an actual product. At this point in time, the number of devices that have/are set to receive the new octa-core chip easily exceeds two dozens, though we've narrowed it down to the more noteworthy ones. Facts of smartphone industry life apply, of course, so there's no knowing whether all the devices on the list will ultimately end up in customers' hands. Nonetheless, if you've caught an episode of octa-core fever, you'll likely want to keep tabs on them.
Octa-core smartphones to watch for in 2014
Octa-core smartphones to watch for in 2014
1. LG G3
Intent on staying on the very edge of technology, current South Korean underdog, LG, has announced that it's working on its own in-house chips, codenamed LG Odin
. As you might expect, an octa-core chip is apparently being worked on, and a future LG G2 successor -- an LG G3, if you will -- is already rumored to pack one of these. This is likely the most interesting device on the list, as we both loved the G2, and are anxious to see LG continue its power trip with a family of its custom-made chips.Read more
2. Huawei Honor 3X
What makes the Huawei Honor 3X one of the more interesting octa-core devices on this list is the fact that the phone is already up for pre-orders over in China. Bar the 720x1280 pixel resolution screen, everything else about the 5.5-inch Honor 3X is actually pretty high-end, including a 2GB RAM stick, a 13MP camera and a large 3000mAh battery. All of this retails for about $280 in its homeland -- a very seductive price point. Read more
3. HTC One, octa-core edition
Little is known about HTC's plans, as pertain to octa-cores, though we've heard a rumor that the company may be working on an HTC One refresh that will pack one of those. At this point, there's insufficient proof to back this up, though it's certainly not impossible, especially now that the company is allegedly more involved with the Chinese market than ever. Seeing as the smartphone industry is sometimes like a game of chess, competitors' moves can easily force you onto a path that wasn't intended in the first place. Either way, we'll be keeping an eye out for any signs of the above beginning to materiliaze as we enter 2014.Read more
4. Alcatel (TCL) One Touch Idol X+
Alcatel has relayed its manufacturing activities to Chinese electronics giant TCL, and for a very good reason. The company's latest generation of devices is definitely worth your attention, especially considering the price points that devices like the Idol X are sold at. The phone launched to a warm reaction from fans worldwide, and it makes sense that a refreshed Idol X+ is on Alcatel's agenda
has now been made available. Like expected, the Idol X+ touts the octa-core MT6592, but the highest-clocked bin -- at 2GHz for each core. Additional specs include a 5-inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM, a 13MP f/2.0 camera and a 2500mAh battery. At about $330, the device comes with an additional wristband, dubbed Boom Band, which allows for a few cool features such as an alarm, should you go beyond a given distance from your device, and a sleep tracker.Read more
5. Vivo X3S W
Vivo, a daughter company of BBK (much alike to Oppo) is perhaps one of China's most widely recognized handset makers, not to mention its products are quite premium (and expensive). Regardless, Vivo devices have etched a spot of their own in the smartphone world, and for a good reason -- as of this writing, the Vivo Xplay 3S
is arguably the most hardware-packed smartphone money can buy. Unfortunately, the 3S touts a 'measly' Snapdragon 800 with four cores, so it's a recently leaked out Vivo X3S W with a MT6592 that will be making our shortlist today. Outed by the folks behind the popular AnTuTu benchmark, the unreleased device sports some middle-of-the-road hardware, with a 720p display, 1GB of RAM and an 8MP camera.Read more
6. Meizu MX4
Meizu is among the still few Chinese manufacturers that have managed to win themselves a worldwide community. Thanks to, in no small part, its beautiful designs and forward-looking hardware, devices like the MX3 have made it far beyond the country's borders, and its success has actually prompted the company to consider a serious, long-term entry onto US soil
. This makes the rumor of an upcoming eight-core MT6592 version of the Meizu MX4 all the more interesting, and it's definitely a device to look out for.Read more
7. THL T100S 'Iron Man'
Started out as nothing more than a local smartphone manufacturer, THL has grown into a company that sells its wares throughout different and diverse channels all around the world. THL's vast portfolio now has its crown jewel, courtesy of the TH100S, dubbed 'Iron Man'. The MT6592-packing device features a 5-inch 1080p display with Corning's Gorilla Glass 3 on top, 2GB of RAM and a duo of 13MP front and rear shooters. Best of all, the device can be had for about $300 for international buyers, making this one hell of a value proposition.Read more
8. Zopo ZP998
Zopo is yet another Chinese company that has been gearing up for war, with an increasingly diverse distribution channels seeing a green light as of late. The ZP998 is the lates in the company's portfolio, packing the same MT6592 that we've covered already. But an octa-core processor is far from all there is on offer, as the ZP998 also features a 5.5-inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM, a 14MP f/2.0 camera and a whole bunch of software customizations. The ZP998 can be had for around $300, though do keep in mind that the device is still in the pre-order phase, and the first batches have already been delayed once.Read more
9. Gionee Elife E7 mini
Gionee's Elife line of high-end smartphones is definitely experiencing its hey-day, seeing as the Elife E7
was debuted not a month ago. Packing some seriously bleeding-edge hardware, like the highest-powered 2.5GHz version of Snapdragon 800, along with a fabled 16MP snapper and an altogether great design, it's not all surprising to see an octa-core Gionee phone make it on our list. Dubbed simply as the Gionee Elife E7 mini, the device doesn't skimp on the hardware too much, with a 4.7-inch 720p display, an eight-core MT6592 chipset, 1GB of RAM and 13MP rotating camera with a swivel, much alike to the Oppo N1.