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MediaTek Dimensity vs. Qualcomm Snapdragon. The fight to win on our smartphones is not new, but more than ever, the Taiwanese firm is making serious arguments against its American competitor. MediaTek explains its plan to try to further impose its presence in the high-end segment.

The Oppo Find N2 Flip is one of the figureheads of these high-end phones that equip MediaTek. Source: Frandroid – Chloé Pertuis

If you often read articles dedicated to high-end smartphones, one name must regularly come to your ears: Snapdragon here, Snapdragon there, so are they the only ones making proper chips? With the end of Exynos in high-end Samsung smartphones, little more than Apple is holding out with its in-house designed chips like the latest A16 Bionic in its iPhones.

However, another player is generating more and more noise: MediaTek. Since the launch of its Dimensity 9000, which surpassed its competitor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and which was the first to integrate WiFi 6E, the brand’s image has improved significantly.

As the months passed, the Frandroid editorial team was eager to see a small competition set up to test various high-end MediaTek Dimensity-equipped smartphones. But the models were counted as a skin of pain. We had a Realme GT Neo 3 with Dimensity 8100 and more recently the Oppo Find N2 Flip or the Vivo X90 Pro. Why not more? That is the whole question.

MediaTek, the invisible number 1 in Europe

These three high-end smartphones, “These are important steps” (sicsteps in English), breathes Pascal Lemasson, MediaTek Associate Vice President of Sales for Europe, whom we met at MWC 2023. Gray suit, smiling, launches in a low and calm voice: “Smartphones are important to us in Europe. »

The first benchmarks of the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 have dropped.
Early benchmarks of the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 showed a slight MediaTek advantage. // Source: MediaTek/Qualcomm

The businessman has spent several years answering interviews on the subject of the rivalry with Qualcomm. Throughout our interview, he will never mention the name of his competitor or his products. Quickly, I would like to point out that despite the perception we may have of it in Europe, MediaTek is number 1 in the world in sales of chips for smartphones. In Europe, it stands out “Good progress” and a clear ambition to reach the top step of the podium. Remember the insolent growth of the group, whose turnover of 18,000 million dollars in 2022 is double that of three years ago.

“A time of latency”

So how do we explain that we don’t see them more at the top of the range? Is it due to the reputation of MediaTek, whose poor performance in our smartphones was feared not long ago? “There is like a latency period”, admits Pascal Lemasson. “Between when we design and before it’s done with the consumer, it takes time. But C.The problems you mention are behind me. Today we have products that we have developed that are on par or even better than the competition. » The more time passes, the more “the brand is well received” ensures. “People understand performance and value in general when it comes to benchmarking. »

The Realme GT Neo 3 showed an excellent level of performance. Source: Frandroid – Anthony Wonner

However, there is still a long way to go. Two objectives stand out: convince the operators et brand image work. For traders, the rhetoric is simple: “Many times they are prescribers. We have to make sure that all of that is certification on the modem, Wi-Fi, camera and video performance, that all of this is well understood and integrated by the operators, so that they can advise a MediaTek flagship on the future. »

Of course, nothing will be left without an irreproachable level of quality. The brand knows this very well, and Julien Toth, responsible for sales and brand development in Europe, confirms it. He has a hard time introducing operators “better autonomy or better energy efficiency that also allows avoiding thermal problems”.

“The cards are shuffled every three months”

The other issue, much broader and more complicated, is therefore marketing. In this, there is no miracle recipe except patience. “We are in a sector where every quarter the cards are shuffled. People’s perception is based more on the situation of two or three years ago. We must not do enough to make people understand that we have evolved.”, concedes the executive. That said, according to their own studies, the perception, in the United Kingdom, in Italy, in Spain as well as in France, MediaTek would be “at the same level of perception as the competition”understood thus also known and perceived as positive.

Back of the OnePlus Nord CE 2
The dimension is most often associated with mid-range phones like this OnePlus Nord CE 2. // Source: Anthony Wonner

Marketing won’t do it all. “Brand image is a factor. But the number one factor is quality”says the vice president. “Our products are the result of investments that were made a few years ago, so that Mediatek is one of the first in 5G, one of the first in the modem, in the processor, Wi-Fi 7, AI…” Therefore, ambitions are limitless. Let’s face it, a little competition in an industry with so few players wouldn’t hurt.

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