Home > Android, Hardware > Mediatek MT6589 Quad Core Cortex A7 Smartphones Galore

Mediatek MT6589 Quad Core Cortex A7 Smartphones Galore

Last week, I wrote about low cost quad core tablets based on Actions Semi ATM7029, and today it’s time to look at cheap quad core smartphones, which are all powered by Mediatek MT6589 quad core Cortex A7 SoC, with prices starting at about $130 US. I’ll start by a short overview of Mediatek processor, followed by a few smartphones based on MT6589, starting with higher priced smartphones / phablets with bigger screens and more features to the cheapest ones.

Mediatek MT6589 Overview

Beside featuring four ARM Cortex-A7 cores, this SoC comes with an Imagination Technologies PowerVR Series5XT GPU, namely SGX544, an advanced multi-mode UMTS Rel. 8/HSPA+/TD-SCDMA modem and dual SIM support. On the multimedia side, it supports cameras up to 13MP, 1080p video playback and recording at 30fps, and LCD screens up to Full HD resolution (1920×1080). It is usually interface with MT6620 connectivity combo providing 802.11n Wi-Fi, BT4.0, GPS and FM radio.

A typical smartphone architecture based on MT6589 can be seen in the block diagram below (Source: hardwarebg.com).

Mediatek_MT6589_Smartphone_Block_Diagram

Smartphones based on MT6589 get about 12,000-13,000 in Antutu 3.x (I could not find detailed scores), about 3,400 in Quadrant, and 13,000 in Vellamo 2 HTML5 test. Obviously not the best in town, but it will still beat any dual core Cortex A9 SoC.

You’d probably not want this platform to tinker, since Mediatek is not exactly known to release GPL source code, although some of the customers may release (incomplete) GPL code.

Cubot A6589

If you find 5″ smartphones too tiny, Cubot A6589 with its 5.8″ IPS display (1280×720) may be an option. This phone comes with 1GB RAM, 8GB flash, 2 cameras (5 MP front camera, 8MP rear camera), and a 3,600 mAh battery. If you want to know what it looks like, just check out ThL W8 below, as they have a virtually identical look.

Cubot A6589 sells for about $260 US on Pandawill, and for about the same on Aliexpress.

ThL W8

ThL W8 is one of the first smartphone using MT6589. It comes with a 5.0″ IPS display (1280×720), 1GB RAM, 8GB Flash, and runs Android 4.1.2. The device also feature two cameras: a 5.0 MP front camera (up to 2560x 1920), and a 12.0 MP rear camera with flashlight and auto focus (up to 4096 x 3072). The battery has a 2,000 mAh capacity.

ThL W8

You can find this smartphone on most Chinese websites such as Pandawill, Deal Extreme, Aliexpress… from $230 US and up. You can also purchase this model on Amazon.

Tronsmart TS4

The two smartphones mentioned above are on the high-end side, let’s move down in price and features with Tronsmart TS4. This smartphone features a 5.3″ IPS display (960×540), 1GB RAM, 4GB flash, a 8.0 MP rear camera, a 1.2 MP front camera, and comes with a 2,500 mAh battery.

Tronsmart_TS4

This Android 4.2.1 phone is available for pre-order for $160 on Geekbuying, and I could not find it available anywhere else.

Galaxy S3 Clone (i9300)

And now the cheapest quad core phablet I could find, after filtering some dodgy results… This S3 clone based on MT6589 costs just about $135 from a somewhat reputable seller. The nameless device comes with 512 MB RAM, 4 GB flash, a 4.8″ display with 854×480 resolution, 2 cameras (1.2MP front / 8MP rear), and a 2,400 mAh battery capacity. [Update: This smartphone could be based on MTK6577, the Antutu screenshots points to this direction, and the URL contains MTK6577 instead of MTK6589 used in the title...]

Those are just a few MT6589 (MTK6589?) smartphones, as there are just too many on the market.

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  1. onebir
    April 8th, 2013 at 17:01 | #1

    $135 for a quad core phone – wow… (Seller rating’s a little on the low side though, no feedback = good feedback on Aliexpress!)

    Re Tronsmart, isn’t it Geekbuying’s own brand? (eg did the Tronsmart Prometheus appear in other places with that name?)

  2. April 8th, 2013 at 17:16 | #2

    @onebir
    He got 139 feedbacks for this product. Not too bad, but it seem he sent the wrong color at least once, and one guy never received his phone, although the tracking code says otherwise.

    Regarding Tronsmart, I can find Prometheus on Aliexpress, but since Geekbuying always seems to get their products first, is either their own brand, or they have a very close relationship with the company.

  3. onebir
    April 8th, 2013 at 17:54 | #3

    @cnxsoft
    Ok but if you look at pages 13 & 14 on the feedback tab, you’ll see there’s no feedback from 14 customers. But the seller gets a default feedback rating of 4 stars. Maybe there are other default 4 star ratings in the earlier pages too.

    For this seller it doesn’t matter much, but it can help bad sellers continue to make sales (eg until the -ve ratings overwhelm the default positives). I don’t think it’s a good policy…

  4. heiko
    April 8th, 2013 at 18:35 | #4

    Don’t forget about these cheapo fullhd smartphones, which gives a 5″ screen some justification.

  5. heiko
  6. rm
    April 8th, 2013 at 18:51 | #6

    @onebir > Maybe there are other default 4 star ratings in the earlier pages too.

    Uhm, no? Every feedback of 5 stars, or 4 stars where the customer wrote something, is already a non-default one.
    Why are you trying to find some suspicious problem when there’s none?
    There are 12 pages of valid good feedback, but no, let’s get picky and only look at pages 13 and 14 where some people forgot to log in and leave feedback.

  7. renw0rp
    April 8th, 2013 at 19:09 | #7

    you have written “Micro Semi ATM7029″ should be “Actions Semi …”

  8. onebir
    April 8th, 2013 at 19:41 | #8

    @rm
    Sure, I just mean with a %age of each rating coming from default +ves, sometimes it’s best to be a bit careful interpreting the overall numbers. (This isn’t such a case, but sometimes a lot of the ratings are defaults.) If a seller is new, or their sales have expanded quickly, their overall rating could be biased by this factor too.

  9. April 9th, 2013 at 00:39 | #9

    MediaTek low cost quad core tablets based on MTK8389 chip (e.g. Lenovo S6000).

  10. April 9th, 2013 at 09:54 | #10

    @renw0rp
    Thanks. I updated the post…

    @PanJaBu
    You must have seen it on Charbax website – http://armdevices.net/2013/03/04/lenovo-s6000-10-1-mediatek-mt8389/
    Devices are not available yet, and I could not find much info about MT8389. Some sites say 4x Cortex A9, others say 4x Cortex A7. No information about the GPU. It looks like MT8389 is used in tablets, and MT6589 in smartphones/phablets.

  11. sky770
    April 9th, 2013 at 14:12 | #11

    @cnxsoft hey.. :(
    I think you’re pretty much missing the “great” stuff :D
    Phones to lookout for:
    – Jiayu G4 (Youth version (18xx maH battery @ ~$160 & Premium 3k maH battery @~$200+) mt6589, 1 & 2gb ram, 5.x” full hd IPS Display with Gorilla Glass 2 :p

    – iocean x7 w/o gorilla glass but more or less similar specs as jiayu g4

  12. April 9th, 2013 at 14:22 | #12

    @sky770
    Sorry, there are so many of those. I don’t follow the smartphone “market” that much. Thanks for the additions. :)

  13. May 6th, 2013 at 15:48 | #13

    the price is very good, but I am worried about the battery life.

  14. November 2nd, 2013 at 16:31 | #14

    I’m planning to buy a quad core phone with a 5″ to 5.5″ display, at least 1GB RAM and 8GB flash, and ideally Bluetooth 4.0 LE (hardware) in case of firmware update to Android 4.3+, and Miracast support with a budget of around $200. So I guess it would be one of the Mediatek phones.

    I’m thinking of buying ThL W200 (http://dx.com/p/thl-w200-quad-core-android-4-2-wcdma-bar-phone-w-5-0-screen-wi-fi-gps-ram-1gb-and-rom-8gb-243125) for now, but if you guys have a better idea, please let me know.

    There’s also a thread about ThL W200 (and ROM) on XDA: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2348110&page=1

  15. onebir
    November 2nd, 2013 at 20:17 | #15

    My dad got one of these about 5 months ago, and is generally very happy with it:
    http://www.geekbuying.com/item/Tronsmart-TS4-MTK6589-Quad-Core-smart-phone-5-3inch-QHD-Screen-1GB-RAM-4GB-ROM-8-0-Camera-Android-4-2-1-OS-3G-GPS-With-Leather-Case-Gray-314798.html

    But I think it was a bit cheaper when he bought it (preorder offer?); now for $20 more you get a similar THL…

  16. November 5th, 2013 at 19:38 | #16

    @onebir
    Thanks, I just went with ThL W200 as it’s a little better in terms of storage and resolution. It seems to be taking a little while to ship though (already 2 working days), so it could mean it’s out of stock.

  17. November 6th, 2013 at 11:29 | #17

    @cnxsoft
    I was too pessimistic. The order has just been shipped, they must be busy with Xmas orders.

  1. June 6th, 2013 at 09:50 | #1