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Helio Rises to X27

January 3, 2017

Author: Linley Gwennap

MediaTek expanded its family of high-end smartphone processors with two new 10-core models, the Helio X23 and Helio X27. These processors are derivatives of the deca-core Helio X20 (also known as the MT6797) that the company has been shipping since early 2016. That chip ran its two Cortex-A72 CPUs at 2.1GHz. Last June, MediaTek released the Helio X25, which pushed the CPU speed to 2.5GHz, boosting performance.

The new X27 provides a more modest improvement, reaching a top speed of 2.6GHz. It also raises the speed of its quad-core Mali-T880 GPU from 850MHz (in the X25) to 875MHz. These 3–4% increases will generate minor benchmark-score gains while helping the processor keep pace with the Kirin 960. The two processors should generate similar scores on multicore CPU tests such as Antutu.

The new X23 is an intermediate model with a CPU speed of 2.3GHz and GPU speed of 780MHz. It will replace the X20 for phone makers that want to save a couple dollars on the processor price compared with the top-end X27. Both new chips also add a feature, which the company calls EnergySmart Screen, that reduces display power. Many phones use the camera to monitor ambient lighting conditions, reducing the backlight when it’s unneeded. MediaTek goes a step further, constantly analyzing the on-screen content and adjusting the backlight appropriately.

No new phones using the X23 or X27 have been announced, but the company says both chips are in production and phones will be available soon. The X20 and X25 appear in phones today from vendors such as LeEco, Meizu, Sharp, TCL, and Xiaomi. These products often sell for less than $300 in countries such as China and India. In contrast, the Kirin 960 appears in Huawei’s Mate 8, which sells for twice that price.

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