Mediatek launches the mid-range Dimensity 720 SoC

Looks good until you actually look at it

Mediatek LogoMediatek just launched it’s Dimensity 720 mobile SoC which looks good on paper. When SemiAccurate dug in just a little, we found out that, well, it probably wasn’t.

The Dimensity 720 features a breathless list of features that look really good, 5G, 90Hz, HDR10+, high rez camera support, AI, and more. Eight cores in a 2+6 big A76 plus six small cores all backed by a Mali G57 class GPU. Add in dual SIMM support and a bunch of other features and it sounds like a really good chip, doesn’t it? Add in some very impressive talks SemiAccurate had with Mediatek about their 5G solution at MWC 2019 and this thing could be a winner.

If you hadn’t guessed by our tone in the first two paragraphs, it likely isn’t. Why do we say that? Mediatek provided a press release full of hype and lacking some very basic information. When we asked for more and provided a list of questions we got some infographic-level materials that had a few more specs but nowhere near enough to go on, so we sent a list of basic questions we needed answered before we wrote. Hours before the deadline we were told they would not be answered.

We were able to dig out a few of the details from the fine print on the materials but not most of the important bits. Mediatek didn’t even mention the small cores in their press release much less the clocks but we dug them out of the fine print on a spec list. “Up to” 2GHz on the A76 and A55 small cores with LPDDR4x memory at 2133MHz. This isn’t going to trouble any benchmark leaders, nor will the Mali-G57 MC3 GPU. The good part? It is made on the TSMC 7nm process.

Video encoding is H.264 and H.265 @ 4K30 with decoding doing the same but adding VP9. The screen is limited to 2520×1080 so a bit over 1080p at 90Hz. No word on the resolution supported for external screens, if any, so we are not sure why 4K playback matters if you have to downscale it too. The APU is simply listed as a “Mediatek APU” so we can’t say anything useful about it or how well it is supported in software.

On the wireless side there is a 2×2 Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) radio so that should be solid enough. The 5G side is a little more problematic because the details matter and Mediatek won’t go in to them. It doesn’t appear to support mmWave and the lack of clarity on bands and bandwidths likely mean that while it will technically work, good luck in the real world. We doubt this will trouble Qualcomm’s last generation 5G parts, or the one before for that matter. This is a shame because some talks SemiAccurate had with Mediatek at MWC 2019 seemed to indicate their 5G solution had a lot of promise.

So what has Mediatek released today with the Dimensity 720? A chip that looks good on paper as long as you don’t ask about the barest minimum specs, then things fall apart. 5G sounds good but won’t match the last generation Qualcomm parts and can’t even do mmWave at all. Some video specs are shouted about but they don’t work at usable frame rates. The list goes on but we won’t. Maybe next time Mediatek will release something worthy of their hype.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate