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Alcatel One Touch Scribe HD: The first phone to use MediaTek's quad core chip

Alcatel has officially become the first company to use MediaTek's new MT6589 quad core ARM Cortex A7 chip. Should you buy a phone with said chip? We say no.
January 4, 2013

Last month we told you about MediaTek’s new quad core chip, the MT6589. Unlike NVIDIA’s Tegra 4, which has four ARM Cortex A9 cores, or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro, which has four Qualcomm Krait cores, the MT6589 uses ARM’s Cortex A7. What does that mean in plain English? Companies that use the MT6589 will be legitimately allowed to say that their devices have a quad core chip inside, but the benchmarks show that said chip is barely faster than a one year old dual core Snapdragon S4.

So who is going to be the first to use this new deceptively marketed piece of silicon? According to Engadget and C|Net, the answer is Alcatel. That’s not a company one typically associates with high quality devices, but that’s partly due to the fact that most Alcatel devices are sold in China. In fact, Alcatel isn’t even Alcatel, it’s a Chinese company called TCL that acquired the rights to use the Alcatel brand quite a number of years ago.

Will you be able to buy this device in the United State or Europe? That’s a tricky question to answer. It’s notoriously difficult to find products with MediaTek chips outside a handful of countries (China, India, Russia). We think it has something to do with patents, but we can’t confirm that. That being said, Qualcomm announced their own quad core Cortex A7 chip called the MSM8x26. There’s a much better chance of that thing showing up in our neck of the woods.

Should you even buy one of these quad core chips just to say you have a quad core phone? We’re going to say no, but at the same time we recognize that marketing works. Even if it’s shady, it sill lures people in to make a purchase.

Save your pennies and buy a Galaxy S III.