It is worth remembering that the processor is its heart. What model to choose not to regret? Snapdragon or Mediatek? Maybe SoC Apple, Huawei or Samsung?

Phone descriptions usually display parameters such as camera, screen size and resolution, battery capacity or RAM, and SoC information is saved in fine print. In the meantime, it is the class and type of processor that determines how powerful and stable the smartphone will be.

Snapdragon or MediaTek?

There are several processor families on the market today:

  • Exynos – mounted on Samsung phones (occasionally Meizu)
  • Kirin – used on smartphones Huawei and Honor
  • The increasingly rare MediaTek, available in many Chinese devices, but also in the mid- sized models from Sony or LG, for example.
  • Apple Fusion only Apple products (iPhone, iPad)
  • The most common Snapdragon models we can find on most brand smartphones.

The most interesting is the Snapdragon family of processors. Qualcomm is currently the market leader in the market, with most of its innovations coming from chips like Quick Charge 3.0. Americans also have problems with the availability of their products, which can not be said about competing MediaTek. Their models are also a better choice because Qualcomma-enabled phones get faster software updates . Same with custom ROMs . Alternative software is more likely to appear on smartphones equipped with Snapdragon, as Qualcomm makes available the source for that.

More important: the number of cores or timing?

The most important parameter of each processor is not the number of its cores, but their type . I will discuss them here with the example of Snapdragon from Qualcomm, due to the popularity of this family among phone manufacturers. Processors consisting of Cortex-A53 cores are less efficient models, mounted on low- and mid-range devices. The Cortex-A73 cores are mounted on high performance flagship devices. All indications are that the Cortex A-53 will soon be out of the market, as the successor to this model, the Cortex-A55 will be about 20% performance increase and 15% better power management. Often, both families coexist – processors are then composed of 4 high-speed A73 cores (those that serve more demanding tasks) and 4 A53 cores (for daily work due to less energy demand). This is a so called big.LITTLE layout . Another important parameter of the processor is the technological process in which the SoC was made. Here the case is simple – the smaller the number of nanometers, the better. Means better management of energy and less heat generated. Only at this point should we pay attention to the timing . For example, the lower Snapdragons 430 and the Snapdragons 625 are composed of eight Cortex A-53 cores. Both processors distinguish the clock speed – up to 1.4 GHz in 430 and up to 2.0 GHz in the 625 model. Significantly different is the performance (especially multi-core), and the higher model is made in 14 nm process technology (vs. 28 nm In 430). This makes it a popular model for good performance and great battery life. More about these processors can be found from our comparison of Snapdragon 430 vs.. Snapdragon 625. The same number of cores is not the most important . For example, the 10-core MediaTek Helio X20 loses performance with only the quad-core Snapdragon 820. This shows that it is now worthwhile to focus on devices with Qualcomm processors.

CPU Codes: Snapdragon

Flagowy Snapdragon 835/ fot. Qualcomm

Snapdragon 835/ fot. Qualcomm

As for the models that Qualcomm offers, we have four main families . The higher the first digit in the processor name, the better the processor. The second means the next generation, and the third usually talks about an improved or alternative version:
  • Snapdragon 2xx is a budgeting solution rarely used
  • Snapdragon 4xx is a lower shelf
  • Snapdragon 6xx stands for average shelf
  • Snapdragon 8xx is a flagship model

Processors used in this year's lower-priced models are typically the Snapdragons 430 and 435, which are the heart of such devices as the Lenovo K6 Note or the recently launched LG Q6. The Snapdragon 625 is worth recommending in the average shelf , which in Lenovo P2 showed its energy efficiency. Huawei Nova or Asus Zenfone 3 also features above-average battery life. In the top shelf we have Snapdragon 835 – devices based on it reign in the performance rankings. This is confirmed by our HTC U11 test. The phone has been a new leader, detracting from the iPhone 7 Plus. Other highly efficient devices can be found in our TOP-10 smartphones according to AnTuTu. Also worth considering are the Snapdragon 820, which was mounted in last year's top-of-the-line appliances. It still delivers great performance, and the phones that have heart already have a lot to offer.

CPU Codes: MediaTek

Helio P20/ fot. MediaTek For MediaTek models, we have three main families – MT budget, medium-sized P and X flags. Interest in the latter is negligible, despite the 10 cores and 10 nm of the technological process in the Helio X30, the desire to use it in its product showed only the Chinese Meizu. The Helio P20 has found its way into many cheaper devices, including the mid-range Sony. We tested the larger of them, and from our review of the Sony XA1 Ultra you can find out that it is a more efficient model than the Snapdragon 625 based phones. MediaTek solutions are often found on low end devices. This is MT series , which I will discuss here based on MT6735 and MT6753 processors. The first one is a technologically and productively responsive solution to the Snapdragon 410, so it's pretty much the same, but present for example in last year's LG X power. The second, theoretically more efficient and newer, the solution equates to Snapdragon 615 and is on board the phone of the Polish brand myPhone Luna II.

Processors Apple, Samsung and Huawei

Other popular CPUs are the Apple Fusion models used on the iPhone. It consists of two cores in older models and four in this year. It features high clocking and great performance. The A10 Fusion, which features the 7 and 7 Plus iPhones, has been the most efficient processor on the market for a long time. It is based on two efficient Hurricane cores and two energy-efficient Zephyr . The chip works on a similar principle as Qualcomm's big.LITTLE.

Apple A9/ fot. Apple

Apple A9/ fot. Apple

Samsung has been using Exynos in its devices for some time now, so the choice for this manufacturer is greatly simplified – what price shelf, such a processor. Performance is close to the corresponding Qualcomm models. Sometimes we can find them on Meizu smartphones. Technically, the Exynos top models, which feature the S8 and S8 + models, are built from four of the original Mongoose cores, and four energy-efficient, modified Cortex A-53 cores.
Exynos/ fot. Samsung

Exynos/ fot. Samsung

The same is true of Huawei, but this company also uses Qualcomm's solutions, such as the Nova models. The company's solution is Kirin models used in this year's flagship. As you read in our review of the Huawei P10, the Kirin 960 processor does not outperform the competitive Snapdragon. His time was the most glorious arrangement in the world. This is an eight-core layout working in big.LITTLE technology – the cores are four efficient Cortexy A -73 and four weaker Cortexy A-53 . For the same choice, the Chinese have decided on the Huawei Mate 9. The 65x series is used in popular mid-range models, such as the Huawei P10 Lite.

Smartphone up to 600 zł: what processor?

Xiaomi Redmi 4A / fot.

Xiaomi Redmi 4A / fot.

For my part, I would recommend the Xiaomi Redmi 4A – a phone with Snapdragon 425 , which thanks to good optimization ensures good fluidity in everyday work. If you order it from China, the amount will not exceed 400 zlotys. In Polish stores oscillates around 500-600 zł. Alternatively, we are primarily focused on MediaTek solutions, the most reasonable of which is the MT6753 . A good example of a smartphone with this SoC is the model of the Polish brand – myPhone Luna II is one of the more interesting choices in this shelf, because it offers a reasonable minimum performance in daily work.

Smartphone up to 1000 zł: what processor?

Lenovo K6 Note / fot. gsmManiaK

Lenovo K6 Note / fot. gsmManiaK

In my opinion, the most pocket friendly are models equipped with Qualcomma models. For a lower shelf, a good choice is the Snapdragon 430 . Here I can recommend the Lenovo K6 Note, which shows that good optimization allows you to work comfortably in all conditions. In the category of quality / price, the Chinese are unmatched as usual. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, based on the Snapdragon 650 , will offer the best performance in this segment. The smartphone also comes with a capacity battery that provides 2 to 3 working days per charge. Successor Note 3, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (3 GB RAM / 32 GB memory) offers Snapdragon 625 , which is a plus for this price. This is the model most worth the attention. For the most frugal, for your own reasons to choose a model with a MediaTek processor, I can recommend a phone with powerbank functionality from LG. In our test LG X power showed a fantastic battery life. The processor is MediaTek MT6735 – a unit that is sufficient for smooth operation in daily use, but in benchmarks worse than the MT6753 of Luna II.

Smartphone up to 1500 zł: what processor?

Lenovo P2 / fot. gsmManiaK

Lenovo P2 / fot. gsmManiaK

For midgets and super-mediums, good deals are phones with Snapdragon 625 . Here my proposal is Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, which is a great example of good energy management (and in addition is affordable). This is a 4 GB RAM / 64 GB built-in memory, so better than the previous chapter. The competitor for Xiaomi is the Lenovo P2, which on battery issues is unbeatable. For Samsung fans, I can recommend this year's A model. In our Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) test you can read that it has a good Super AMOLED screen, top quality and good cameras. The onboard Exynos 7880 has better performance than the Snapdragon 625, and the battery life points to good energy savings.

Smartphone up to 2000 zł: what processor?

Honor 8 / fot. gsmManiaK

Honor 8 / fot. gsmManiaK

Here the king is basically one. Based on the HiSillicon Kirin 950 efficient model from Huawei's daughter company. Honor 8 test shows that this is a great device for good money. The beautiful glass case and dual camera are the main advantages of the smartphone. The flagship of the Snapdragon 820 flagship will also be a good choice today – offering great value for money. My suggestion is the LG G5, which has been firmly established since the release date and Xiaomi Mi 5.

Smartphone from the top shelf: what processor?

HTC U11 / fot. gsmManiaK

HTC U11 / fot. gsmManiaK

If you expect uncompromising performance, the obvious choice is the 8xx series processors . Here I would definitely recommend the new Xiaomi phone. Why? Just have a look at our Xiaomi Mi 6 test to see that this is a great device for a relatively small amount of money. If you prefer something from a more recognized brand, then it is worth to pay attention to the HTC U11 – currently the most powerful device on the market. Curiosity is also an aspect of compression. It is worth adding that the flagship from HTC is leader of the DxOMark ranking. If you are a Samsung fan, then the last two generations of top smartphones are recommended – based on the Exynos 8890 Samsung Galaxy S7 processor and the Samsung Galaxy S8 / S8 + based on the Exynos 8895 . Similar situation is with Huawei, which has a great Huawei P10 smartphone with a Kirin 960 processor – although it should be added that for modification fans, in my opinion the solution is Qualcomma. I hope this short guide will simplify your choice of a new device, and the knowledge of the processors will have a positive impact on your purchase decision. Finally, I will add that in the editorial TOP-10 recommended smartphones you will find the most interesting phones on the market – definitely worth a look.