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The OnePlus Nord 2 5G will have a high-end MediaTek SoC

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OnePlus has officially confirmed that the OnePlus Nord 2 5G will be powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 1200 SoC on Wednesday, July 7.

  • The MediaTek Dimensity 1200 is a high-end octa-core SoC that was manufactured using the 6nm process.
  • The OnePlus Nord 2 5G will be presented on July 22.
  • The Dimensity 1200-AI chip is said to boost AI processing for photo, display, and power management.

The OnePlus Nord 2 will most likely be a mid-range smartphone that resides closer to the flagship category than playing the mid-range jester, and will therefore pack a high-end mobile processor as predicted by some leaks.

The Dimensity 1200 is indeed the flagship chip made by MediaTek in 2021, where it is manufactured using the 6 nm process with a 1+3+4 CPU configuration built around the Cortex-A78 chipset with a clock speed of 3 GHz, a trio of Cortex-A78 cores clocked at 2.6 GHz, and four Cortex-A55 cores with a clock speed of 2 GHz.

This new SoC is the first attempt by the company in an initiative announced by MediaTek in early July, known as the "Dimensity 5G Open Resource Architecture". The idea is to allow smartphone manufacturers to customize SoCs made by MediaTek, while placing a strong emphasis on AI.

As a result, two manufacturers have rolled out the first enhanced version of the base Dimensity 1200 chipset that is aptly known as the "Dimensity 1200-AI."

Dimensity 1200
The Dimensity 1200 is MediaTek's flagship SoC / © MediaTek

AI to boost photo, display, and gaming performance

OnePlus claims that its OnePlus Nord 2 and the MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI chip will bring notable improvements when it comes to AI-assisted photography, delivering better image quality, superior display performance for an enhanced user experience, and better response times for faster and smoother gaming.

When it comes to photos, AI Photo Enhancement is able to recognize up to 22 different scenes and adjust color tones and contrast automatically. For example, AI Photo Enhancement will select the best out of 22 different scenes and adjusts color tones and contrast accordingly in order to optimize shots for maximum quality, even at night and in low-light conditions.

As for videos, AI Video Enhancement will allow real-time HDR effects during recording. The AI-powered chipset uses DOL-HDR technology to improve image quality, adjust settings during live recording, and improve the color gamut and accuracy of videos.

As for the display, the main improvements include such technologies:

  • AI Color Boost that AI's context identification capabilities to automatically convert standard dynamic range to high dynamic range.
  • AI Resolution Boost will automatically enhance video resolution to HD resolution on popular social networking applications.
  • Smart Ambient Display uses AI to dynamically control screen brightness based on ambient lighting and on-screen content, ensuring an intuitive and comfortable viewing experience at all times.

Finally, according to OnePlus, the MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI is also expected to deliver a better gaming experience with "high refresh rates," "low latency," and "improved thermal management."

So much for the copy and paste segment of the press release. Here's what we think about this move by OnePlus.

oneplus nord ce
The OnePlus Nord 2 will be the first OnePlus smartphone without a Snapdragon SoC / © NextPit

MediaTek's Dimensity 1200, is it really a high-end SoC?

Apart from the SoC name, OnePlus' announcements are too vague to really comment in-depth. It's clear that OnePlus wants to play the "flagship sold at a mid-range price" card with the OnePlus Nord 2. "Hey, look! We put a high-end smartphone chip in a smartphone (that will most probably be) sold for less than $400/$500."

As always, a lower price will automatically come with compromises in the technical department. I obviously can't question OnePlus' claims about the potential improvements made to the photo, gaming performance, and display quality delivered via the Dimensity 1200-AI as I don't have enough data and haven't reviewed the smartphone yet.

But in terms of raw power, the base MediaTek Dimensity 1200 is closer to a Snapdragon 870 that powers the Poco F3, a mid-range smartphone that retails for less than $400. So it looks like the OnePlus Nord 2 is closer to an overclocked high-end chipset of 2020 than a flagship processor in 2021, at least on paper.

Compared to the OnePlus Nord CE and its Snapdragon 750G processor, the OnePlus Nord 2 will thus confirm its place as the flagship model in the mid-range catalog of OnePlus. Let us understand this, I do not claim that the Dimensity 1200 is not a powerful SoC. On the contrary, I'm just saying that we have to remain realistic when it comes to marketing lingo used by companies. 

In any case, the choice of a MediaTek chip should at least allow OnePlus to avoid the overheating problems that seem to be associated to high-end Qualcomm chips released this year.

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Antoine Engels

Antoine Engels
Senior Editor

Black belt in specs sheet analysis. OnePlus fanboy in (slow) remission. Average estimated reading time of my articles: 48 minutes. Tech deals fact-checker in my spare time. Hates talking about himself in the 3rd person. Dreams he was a gaming journalist in another life. Doesn't get the concept of irony. Head of editorial for NextPit France.

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