10 notable MediaTek-powered smartphones
Based in Taiwan, MediaTek provides SoCs that allow smartphone manufacturers to sell their devices at extremely attractive price points. At the moment, lots of low-end, mid-range, and high end smartphone models are using MediaTek processors - they were first popular in China (the world’s largest mobile market), and are rapidly gaining market share in many other countries.
MediaTek has certainly made an impact on the global smartphone market in the last few years, so we’re thinking that a selection of notable handsets powered by its chipsets will be of interest to many users. As you'll notice, all the smartphones that we're presenting below are based on Android.
Announced in January this year, and released not long after that, the Alcatel OneTouch Idol X+ uses an octa-core 2.0 GHz MediaTek MT6592 processor with an ARM Mali450 GPU. The Idol X+ was launched running Android Jelly Bean, but it’s been upgraded to KitKat several months ago. The handset features a 5-inch 1080p display, 13 MP rear camera, 2 MP front-facing camera, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of non-expandable internal memory, and a 2500 mAh battery. The OneTouch Idol X+ is 7.9mm-thin, and currently costs $360. While you can easily find the smartphone in Europe, it doesn’t look like you can buy it in North America.
The OneTouch Hero 2 is powered by the same octa-core MT6592 processor as the Alcatel OneTouch Idol X+, but it’s newer and larger, sporting a 6-inch 1080p display. Another major difference is the fact that the Hero 2 comes with a stylus pen, thus being a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 competitor (at least theoretically). The Alcatel OneTouch Hero 2 runs Android KitKat out of the box, further featuring a 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front-facing camera, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of expandable internal memory, and a 3100 mAh battery. The extra-large handset was released in September, and can be bought for around $400 (though, once again, it looks like it’s not available in North America).
At the time of its release (in the first half of the year), the Gionee Elife S5.5 was the world’s slimmest smartphone, measuring 145.1 x 70.2 x 5.55 mm. Of course, newer and thinner handsets have been launched since then, but the Elife S5.5 still remains one of the skinniest phones on the market. Its features include a 5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED Plus display, octa-core 1.7 GHz MT6592 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of non-expandable internal memory, 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front-facing camera, and a 2300 mAh battery. The Gionee Elife S5.5 is widely available in Asia and Europe, while customers in the US can buy it under the name of BLU Vivo IV for around $300. Both variants have been updated to Android 4.4 KitKat.
HTC didn’t have any MediaTek-powered smartphones until this year, when it introduced the Desire 310 and Desire 616. The latter was released in June as the company’s first octa-core handset, featuring a MT6592 processor clocked at 1.4 GHz. Despite having an octa-core CPU, the Desire 616 is a mid-range device. It offers a 5-inch 720p display, BoomSound speakers, dual SIM capabilities, 1 GB of RAM, 8 MP rear camera, a 2000 mAh battery, and Android Jelly Bean (we don’t know if any software updates will be available). Although HTC created the Desire 616 for Asian markets, customers in the US can buy it via Amazon for around $230.
The Honor 3X Pro is a relatively high-end Android KitKat smartphone that costs only $240 (unfortunately, it’s available only in China). What’s interesting about the Honor 3X Pro is that it has a faux leather back - similar to what some of Samsung’s recent handsets are offering. The smartphone is powered by an octa-core 1.7 GHz MediaTek processor, also featuring: a 5.5-inch 1080p display, 5 MP front-facing camera, 13 MP rear camera, DTS sound, 2 GB of RAM, expandable internal memory, and a 3000 mAh battery.
Launched last month in India, the Honor Holly seems to be a renamed Huawei Honor 3C Play (another China-only device). The smartphone is priced at around $115, and offers quite a lot for that kind of money, including a 5-inch 720p display, 8 MP rear camera, dual SIM capabilities, 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal memory. The processor inside the Honor Holly is a quad-core 1.3 GHz MediaTek MT6582.
The Vibe X2 is definitely one of the most interesting Lenovo smartphones to date. It’s a 7.3mm-thin handset that has a multi-layered metal construction, and comes with plenty of high-end features. The Vibe X2 uses one of MediaTek’s latest processors (an octa-core MT6595M clocked at 2.0 GHz), and runs Android 4.4 KitKat. It’s also got a 5-inch 1080p display, LTE connectivity, 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front-facing camera, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal memory, and a 2300 mAh battery. Lenovo released the handset last month in some Asian markets, asking about $400 for it.
Launched in China in September, the MX4 is Meizu’s newest flagship smartphone, and is powered by an octa-core MediaTek MT6595 CPU. The handset runs Android KitKat with Meizu’s Flyme 4.0 UI on top, and sports a 5.4-inch display with an unusual pixel resolution of 1152 x 1920. Other features include LTE, a 20.7 MP rear camera, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage space, and a 3100 mAh battery. You can order a Meizu MX4 internationally for $449.
Released at the end of last year for about $130 (only in China), the Hongmi is one of Xiaomi’s most successful handsets, helping the company to become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker. The Hongmi features a quad-core 1.5 GHz MediaTek MT6589T processor, a 4.7-inch 720p display, 8 MP rear camera, 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of expandable storage space. The international variant of the Hongmi is called Xiaomi Redmi 1S, but this one doesn’t use a MediaTek processor, instead being powered by a Snapdragon 400.
The Redmi Note is another hot seller from Xiaomi. Introduced in March, the Redmi Note costs about $150, and is powered by either an octa-core 1.4 GHz Mediatek MT6592 processor, or a 1.7 GHz variant of the same CPU. The smartphone sports a 5.5-inch 720p display, also featuring a 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front-facing camera, 1 GB / 2 GB of RAM, 8 GB of expandable internal memory, and a 3200 mAh battery.