First time we saw the MT8173 prototyle tablet up and running at the Mobile World Congress back in March. The prototyle tablet, based on the worlds first Cortex A72 SoC, was able to boot and was running the Android 4.4. At that time MediaTek was saying that the SoC can run at up to 2.4GHz, but it decided that 2.0GHz is the right speed for it. Now the tablet has Android 5.1 and in our short time with it, the demo looked responsive and was even able to run the browser and play a video file in split window mode.
This SoC with two A72 cores at 2.0GHz and two A53 chips at 1.6GHz was running inside a 7-inch 1280x800 prototype tablet. The tablet comes with a 2-megapixel camera and 802.11ac wireless. Even at 2.0GHz, thanks to the faster A72 cores the SoC can score more than 50,000 in AnTuTu, which is quite a lot. This is not the best overall score, but it is quite impressive one as the Snapdragon 810, a 20nm Quad A57 with Quad A53s, scored 49388 in our HTC One M9. We know that phone factor carries some thermal limitations but it is quite obvious that in tablet space MediaTek MT8173 has a good fighting chance. After all, Cortex A72 promises great efficiency even at 28nm.
Company executives have confirmed that the SoC will be ready to ship in July time, and at that time we might see some customers launching world's first A72 tablets too. There will be plenty of variations with the display size and options, as the SoC supports WQXGA 2560x1600 displays at 60fps and 120Hz, alogn with mobile displays at lower resolutions.