Helio G90T Review: Best Gaming SOC in Mid-range?

When Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 8 Pro with Helio G90T, there was a lot of debate on whether it can compete against the Snapdragon 712 or not.

Even in 2019, many users are skeptical about MediaTek products and this is primarily due to a bad experience with another low-end MediaTek device sometime in the past.

One of the main concerns was power efficiency and device heating due of TSMC’s 12nm Node which is nowhere close to Samsung’s 10nm Process in Snapdragon 712.

So, how well does Helio G90T perform and does it heat? Let’s find out.

But for those of you who have limited time and can’t go through the entire article, here’s a quick summary.

The MediaTek Helio G90T is an exceptionally powerful chip for mid-range devices. In our Processor Rankings, it is way ahead of Snapdragon 712 and comes very close to Snapdragon 730 (or even beats it in some of the tasks). However, it isn’t as power-efficient as the Snapdragon 710, 712, or 730 so you should expect slightly lower battery life. It features ARM’s flagship Mali-G76 GPU with 4 GPU Cores and delivers excellent gaming performance in titles like PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, and Call of Duty Mobile. The phone might get a little warmer on extended heavy usage, but it neither gets too uncomfortable to hold, nor it reaches the throttling limits, so it’s not much of an issue.

It is MediaTek’s most powerful SOC till date, and it boasts the flagship Cortex-A76 Cores & Mali-G76 SOC. Yes, these are the same Cores that are found in flagship chips like Kirin 980 and the same GPU that we have in Exynos 9825, Kirin 980 & 990.

But before you get hyped up, let me tell you the Mali-G76 variant used in G90T only has 4 Cores while Exynos 9825 has 12, Kirin 980 has 10, and Kirin 990 has 16. Nevertheless, it is powerful enough to pull ahead of nearly every other mid-range SOC in gaming performance.

Just like the GPU, the CPU runs at a much lower frequency than the flagship SOCs we just compared it against. Lastly, it is fabricated using TSMC’s 12nm Node, which makes it less efficient than SOCs like Snapdragon 712 (Samsung’s 10nm Node).

You can learn more about fabrication nodes here. If MediaTek would have gone with Samsung’s or TSMC’s 10nm Node, this chip could have even outperformed the Snapdragon 730G in our processor rankings.  Here are the pros. and cons.

Pros
  • Exceptional Gaming Performance
  • Great choice for Heavy usage
  • Perfect for General Usage
  • Good value for Money
Cons
  • Less Power Efficient

    Helio G90T Specification

NameHelio G90T
BrandMediaTek
Fabrication NodeTSMC’s 12nm FinFET
CPU Cores8
Core Configuration2x Cortex-A76 at 2.05 GHz + 6x Cortex-A55 at 2.0 GHz
GPUMali-G76 3EEMC4
GPU Frequency800 MHz
Max. Display Resolution2520 x 1080
MemoryLPDDR4x
Storage TypeUFS 2.1/eMMC 5.1
Max Download Speed600 Mbps
VoLTE SupportYes, Dual VoLTE
Bluetooth version5.0
Max Camera64MP

It is an Octa-Core chip with two high-performance Cortex-A76 and six power-efficient Cortex-A55 Cores. The bigger A76 Cores can reach 2.05 GHz while the smaller Cortex-A55 Cores have maximum clock speed of 2.0 GHz.

The Mali-G76 3EEMC4 Graphics Processor has 4 Cores and can reach up to 800 MHz. It can support up to 2520 x 1080 (Full HD+) display at 90 Hz.

It has support for UFS 2.1 Storage and can support LPDDR4x Memory at 2133 MT/s. Helio G90T’s 4G LTE Modem supports Dual VoLTE and has Max Download Speeds up to 600 Mbps (Cat-12). The latest Bluetooth 5.0 is also supported, which was missing on Helio P70.

The ISP supports triple camera configurations with max camera resolution up to 64 Megapixels.

    Raw Benchmarks

It’s time for some raw benchmarks to give you a basic idea of the performance. The devices that are used for benchmark tests are Redmi Note 8 Pro, Redmi K20, and Realme XT.

Antutu

Helio G90T Antutu Score

On Antutu, it has a massive lead over the Snapdragon 730 & 712. But remember, benchmarks don’t tell the complete story. These are neither sustained workloads nor represent the real-world use case of an average smartphone user.

Geekbench

Helio G90T Geekbench 5 Score

Geekbench measures the CPU Performance in Single-Threaded and Multi-Threaded workloads. Both these scores are consistent with their specifications. Both Snapdragon 730 & Helio G90T has similar IPC due to the underlying Cortex-A76 Architecture. But SD 730 has an advantage due to higher clock frequency, and Qualcomm’s optimized semi-custom Kryo 470 design.

Snapdragon 712 is considerably behind the two due to the less powerful Kryo 360 Cores based on Cortex-A75 architecture.

    Comparison

This section is for those of you who want to compare it against other SOCs in the same price category.

Helio G90T vs Snapdragon 712

Winner
  • Helio G90T

Helio G90T in way more powerful than Snapdragon 712 in both the CPU & GPU Performance. While both the chips will do fairly well in light tasks, G90T does a far better job in heavy tasks including gaming. However, Snapdragon 712 is a more power efficient chip as it is manufactued using Samsung’s 10nm Node.

Helio G90T vs Snapdragon 730

Winner
  • Snapdragon 730

In terms of GPU performance, the Snapdragon 730 is slightly behind. However, it is ahead in both CPU Performance & Power Efficiency. When taking into account the overall performance, efficiency, and the features, 730 turns out to be the winner.

Helio G90T vs Exynos 9611

Winner
  • Helio G90T

Exynos 9611 is a more efficient chip but is far behind in terms of CPU & GPU Performance. It is not in the same league as the G90T.

Helio G90T vs Snapdragon 665

Winner
  • Helio G90T

The MediaTek’s Helio G90T absolutely wrecks Snapdragon 665 in both CPU & GPU Performance.

    Review & Centurion Mark

While reviewing a Mobile Chip, my major focus is on two types of users. First are the casual users that use their smartphone for basic tasks such as Browsing, Social Media, Photography, and Light Gaming. The second type of users are Gamers and Tech Enthusiasts who crave for high-performance.

I also talk about the efficiency of a chip as Battery Life is crucial for good smartphone experience. This review is based on the performance of Redmi Note 8 Pro. We may revise our review in the future when more devices are available with this chip.

Performance in Light Tasks

Helio G90T based devices like Redmi Note 8 Pro perform exceptionally well in basic tasks. Though it does a slightly better job than the likes of Snapdragon 665, 710, 675 and Exynos 9611, the difference is not noticeable for an average user.

If you fall into this category, go ahead and buy any device with the above SOCs and you will get a similar experience.

Gaming & Heavy Performance

This is the category where this chip annihilates everything else in its price range. It does an amazing job while playing heavy games like PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, and Call of Duty Mobile. For PUBG Mobile, this is one of the best choices you can make.

There were some frame drops in Fortnite but that was rare and the game was playable. But if you need the best Fortnite experience, I’ll recommend you to go with a Snapdragon 845 device like Poco F1 or better.

Nevertheless, the overall gaming experience was better than Snapdragon 712 devices and comparable to Snapdragon 730.

Initially, I was expecting that the long-duration gaming experience wouldn’t be as great due to heating as MediaTek decided to cram such a high-end CPU & GPU on TSMC’s 12nm node.

And yes, the phone does get a little warm while playing Graphics intensive games like PUBG Mobile & Fortnite for an extended duration (over 30-40 minutes). You can easily counter the issue by giving the phone a few minutes break in between the long gaming sessions.

This isn’t a major drawback and I did enjoy long gaming sessions on it.

As the device that was tested for this review was Redmi Note 8 Pro, Liquid Cooling also played a small role in keeping the temperatures low. So, right now I can’t tell whether other phones based on this SOC will be able to stay as cool as the Note 8 Pro. I will wait for more devices before I come to the conclusion.

You can also check our Mobile GPU Rankings on this page.

Power Efficiency

While one of the easiest ways to judge the efficiency of a semiconductor device is by comparing its architecture and the fabrication node. The more accurate way is to compare battery usage while performing similar tasks on different phones.

In light tasks such as Browing, Youtube Video Playback, and Calling, the efficiency of G90T is on par with Snapdragon 712/710 but it slightly worse than Snapdragon 660/665. Redmi Note 8 Pro which has 11.76% higher Battery Capacity actually lasted 12% longer than Realme XT in light usage.

However, when it comes to heavy tasks and gaming, we have a completely different situation. When you run heavy tasks, you can expect Redmi Note 8 Pro’s 4,500 mAh Battery to only last as long as Realme XT’s 4,000 mAh Battery.

Overall Score

MTK Helio G90T Centurion Mark

On Centurion Mark, we have given it 119 Points. This is our overall score for Helio G90T based on several different factors. You can learn about all those factors and view the complete rankings on this page.

We highly recommend this chip for high-end Gaming in Mid-range.

List of Phones with MediaTek Helio G90T Processor:

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro



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