Hands-on With MediaTek's New Quad-Core MT8135 Tablet Processor

Taiwanese chip maker MediaTek is looking to make its presence better known in the U.S., and to that end, the company has announced its new quad-core MT8135 processor for high-end tablets. The chip is the first system on a chip (SoC) for tablets to offer heterogeneous multi-processing functionality via ARM's BigLittle technology, which allows a single piece of silicon to run two different processor types concurrently. We got a quick hands-on with a prototype tablet running the chip and were very impressed with how much more powerful it was compared to MediaTek's previous chips.

The chip, which users will find in tablets hitting store shelves this fall, runs two speedy 1.5-GHz Cortex A15 cores, and two power-efficient 1.2-Ghz Cortex A7 cores, the little. The setup is meant to provide users with increased system performance, as well as improved battery life when compared with MediaTek's other processors. 

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The performance boost comes from the chip's ability to rely on the more powerful A15 cores as well as the less powerful A7 cores. If, however, the chip determines that a particular app doesn't need the power of the A15 cores, it can switch them off and only run the A7 cores, which, as a result, saves on overall device battery life. MediaTek claims the chip will provide a 70 percent power savings on common workloads.

In addition to the flexibility of the BigLittle feature, MediaTek says the MT8135 also comes with Imagination Technologies' new PowerVR Series6 graphics chip. The combination means the MT8135 can support graphics standards such as OpenGL ES 3.0, which allows for improved gaming performance.

We ran an HTML 5 benchmark on both the MT8135-equipped test unit and the quad-core-equipped ASUS MeMO Pad 7 and were floored by how much quicker the MT8135 unit was than the ASUS. When put up against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and Sony Xperia Z, the MediaTek test bed fell just behind the S4, but easily outpaced the HTC One and Xperia Z.

We still have plenty of tests we want to run on the MediaTek MT8135 , but we'll be sure to provide you with more comprehensive test numbers when we get our first MT8135-equipped tablet later this fall. Stay tuned.

Daniel P. Howley
LAPTOP Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.