Author Topic: Holy Downgrade, Batman!  (Read 741 times)

Zarhan

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Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« on: January 11, 2021, 11:52:55 am »
The latest update at

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/astro-slide-5g-transformer/#/updates/17

shows that lots of the specs got downgraded.

CPU speed by itself. Not that bad as such. However...Losing Wifi 6 (.11ax), AV1 decompression, getting a smaller battery, and no BLE audio.

Time to ask for a refund and switch over to FXTec Pro1 X? I guess not since that also does not have 5G support (or ax).

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pro1-x-smartphone-functionality-choice-control

EDIT: changed URL to a direct link to the update. Varti
« Last Edit: January 11, 2021, 01:02:06 pm by Varti »

ArchiMark

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2021, 01:24:25 pm »
Yes, was a disappointing surprise to read the update.

They did up the RAM to 8GB though.

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Daniel W

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2021, 02:25:23 pm »
Yeah, likely nobody, including Planet (nor, probably, MediaTek) likes this. On paper, we just lost about 1/3 of the CPU performance and more than half the GPU performance (though, in real life, thermal throttling and other power usage limits might make the actual differences smaller). I looked through the MediaTek web site, and currently, it seems no actual Dimensity 1000 (MT6889) exists in their marketing. The closest thing I found is a MediaTek 1000C, which, while said to have four A77 cores, still is limited to 2GHz and G57 GPU cores.

On the other hand, that 1000C specifies a max memory frequency of 1866MHz, while the Dimensity 800 is said to support up to 2133MHz (though we don't know what speed Planet refers to as "ultra-fast"). Also, just because MediaTek lists a 1000C, that doesn't say it's actually available. I suppose the same goes for the Dimensity 820, which, while still "only" having A76 cores, supposedly can reach 2.6GHz, and while "only" having G57 GPU cores "at least" has five of them. Had that chip actually been available to buy, I can't see why Planet would settle for the 800.

Personally, I couldn't care less about the lower theoretical up- and download speeds, as, at least here in Sweden, neither any broadband nor cellular networks, even in theory, seems to support anything even close to those speeds anyway, but your mileage may vary, as they say. Oh, well, the joys of supporting products before they actually exists, I guess. The Astro will still be faster than the Cosmo, which, for me, is fast enough. I just wish it wasn't as buggy. At least the Astro won't need that seemingly cursed CoDi... and it seems we might be getting UFS instead of the old eMMC. That should make the built-in flash storage a bit faster.

I'm wondering a bit about that BLE Audio. Officially, that seems to be a part of Bluetooth 5.2 and, as far as I can see, all MediaTek smartphone SoC supports, at most, 5.1, though, maybe it's possible to support 5.1 and BLE Audio, without offering full 5.2 support? I don't know. While I think the Bluetooh 5.2 LE Audio codec LC3 seems appealing, I'm mostly interested in significantly lowering the latency, from the ~40ms that seems possible today, to well below 10ms, for real time audio purposes. That seems to require the LC3+ Codec, which, as far as I know, isn't a mandatory part of any BT specification version yet, so I guess I wasn't going to get that, even if the Dimensity 1000 was real.

By the way, Update #18 has already arrived, requesting questions for a "first look" Vimeo video on January 19. That might be an opportunity to ask for clarifications.

ArchiMark

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2021, 03:18:45 pm »
It is not a decision by Planet, but by MediaTek.

Apparently, MediaTek decided to only release the Dimensity 1000 for use on devices for the Chinese market.

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1668880

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2021, 10:33:11 am »
Last I checked Taiwan is not part of China. The ROC government relocated to Taiwan in 1949 while fighting a civil war with the Chinese Communist Party. Since then, the ROC has continued to exercise effective jurisdiction over the main island of Taiwan and a number of outlying islands, leaving Taiwan and China each under the rule of a different government. So when I asked about the Ban on China getting semiconductor chips that was going into effect on November 15, 2020 I was told MediaTek was in Taiwan so it would not be a problem. The reason why PC can not get the Dimensity 1000 (MT6889) or the Dimensity 1000+ is because MediaTEk is banned from sending it to China.

ArchiMark

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2021, 03:41:27 pm »
Last I checked Taiwan is not part of China. The ROC government relocated to Taiwan in 1949 while fighting a civil war with the Chinese Communist Party. Since then, the ROC has continued to exercise effective jurisdiction over the main island of Taiwan and a number of outlying islands, leaving Taiwan and China each under the rule of a different government. So when I asked about the Ban on China getting semiconductor chips that was going into effect on November 15, 2020 I was told MediaTek was in Taiwan so it would not be a problem. The reason why PC can not get the Dimensity 1000 (MT6889) or the Dimensity 1000+ is because MediaTEk is banned from sending it to China.

Agree, that Taiwan is not part of China....at least as of now.

Sorry, for the mistake, I just repeated what I remembered reading by someone posting....

In the end, the point is same, Planet cannot obtain the Dimensity 1000.
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Tom D

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2021, 09:04:35 am »
In terms of future proofing, I was very pleased to see the 8GB upgrade. The rest doesn't concern me much.

Will Atl

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2021, 04:22:25 pm »
CPU
The question is why MediaTek seems to be the only CPU vendor under consideration and PC cannot source from Qualcomm for example.
Could it be that volume / scale is a factor? Or maybe the manufacturing partners only work with MediaTek for some reason?

Battery
There is no constrain for them to include a bigger battery. Just loosing the feet to offset the camera bump and expand the internal space would help. Nobody will complain about thickness. This sounds more out of design stubbornness, than a true technical reason.

As I became unemployed a few months ago I asked for (and obtained) a refund for the Astro then. I was considering backing it once again as the "Early Bird" pricing is still available, when all this came out.

Surprised by the number of negative comments and number of backers requesting refunds.

If I were PC I would issue a statement saying that given recent feedback the team will analyze further options and promise to get back to backers at a future date.

But the response kind of baffled me: promoting the live demo and participation in the Q&A...This is more than a couple disgruntled backers complaining. Their own crowdfunding future is in jeopardy if they loose the backers trust.

It might not be their decision to switch CPUs, but it IS their decision to move forward regardless with the MTK 800 and smaller battery despite all the complaints.

Zarhan

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2021, 08:08:27 am »
Regarding  battery: Anyone know what's the voltage on Cosmo battery (for comparison)?

It's just that the new spec says 4.4V 3500mAh. Is Cosmo battery voltage lower? Standard Li-Ion is 3.7V...

(I'm not sure I understand why battery capacities are expressed in amp-hours, wouldn't watt-hours be much more indicative of the capacity?).

4.4V * 3.5Ah = 15,4 Wh

15,4Wh / 4Ah = 3,85 V - so if the voltage of Cosmo battery is 3,85V or smaller, the new battery actually has *more* capacity than Cosmo.

gymbo

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2021, 10:16:33 pm »
Regarding  battery: Anyone know what's the voltage on Cosmo battery (for comparison)?

It's just that the new spec says 4.4V 3500mAh. Is Cosmo battery voltage lower? Standard Li-Ion is 3.7V...

(I'm not sure I understand why battery capacities are expressed in amp-hours, wouldn't watt-hours be much more indicative of the capacity?).

4.4V * 3.5Ah = 15,4 Wh

15,4Wh / 4Ah = 3,85 V - so if the voltage of Cosmo battery is 3,85V or smaller, the new battery actually has *more* capacity than Cosmo.

The battery for Cosmo (and Gemini) is supposedly 4150 mAh at 3,85 V, so the battery for the Astro will then actually be 3-4 % "smaller", but that is not really a substantial decrease. When you also factor in (probably) better battery consumption handling in the processor, and no cover display, it will probably be better performance for the battery overall...

But the main processor IS substantially "worse" I think, and they really ought to do something to get that at least somewhat "increased" again, somewhat closer to the specs of Dimensity 1000...

I don't really need my phone to be "fast" other than to "future-proof" it, but the downgrades seems to be on MANY fronts regarding the main processor: Power consumption, speed/bus to the memory, GPU, etc... And the processor was, in addition to the "rock-up" hinge, the main focus of the campaign: "The fastest 5G phone announced!". So they really should get this "back", or refund some of the money we spent on it (not really probable I think...), or get us something extra as a partial compensation, like a cover for the phone, for free. (I would prefer an "upgrade" on the processor, to something closer to the Dimensity 1000, but if that is not possible at all, I would prefer to at least get SOMETHING for this quite substantial downgrade...)

gymbo

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2021, 10:27:05 pm »
Oh, and just to be clear: I DO want an as big as possible battery, but just wanted to point out that the "downgrade" on the battery probably isn't as big as it might seem. But the Gemini was originally announced with a 8000 mAh battery, and THAT would really be good on the Astro as well!!

Zarhan

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2021, 06:09:33 am »
Regarding futureproofing, I also don't really need that fast processor that much (Cosmo is also fast enough), but losing 802.11ax does hurt. Wifi 6 has the new QoS features which include a possibility to get a dedicated subchannel for your device. No more interference from other users during VoIP calls since you have your own channel to the access point.

Charlie Stross

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2021, 03:08:43 pm »
CPU
The question is why MediaTek seems to be the only CPU vendor under consideration and PC cannot source from Qualcomm for example.
Could it be that volume / scale is a factor? Or maybe the manufacturing partners only work with MediaTek for some reason?

It bears repeating that, per their video Q&A, Planet works with an ODM -- a Chinese factory -- who only work with Mediatek chipsets. They built the two previous Planet smartphones. If they ditched Mediatek they'd have to find a new manufacturer, and with COVID19 out there they can't simply fly out and hold face-to-face meetings with people who are unfamiliar with what Planet are trying to achieve. So it'd be a production nightmare, hence their decision to downgrade to a lower-spec CPU rather than pick a very high risk strategy that might wreck the entire project.

Will Atl

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2021, 12:44:01 am »
It bears repeating that, per their video Q&A, Planet works with an ODM -- a Chinese factory -- who only work with Mediatek chipsets. They built the two previous Planet smartphones. If they ditched Mediatek they'd have to find a new manufacturer

Yep. Understood. That question was made BEFORE the Q&A / videos came out.

Sad for PC in any case to have their hands tied with no other options but to accept whatever Mediatek chooses to provide. I guess they should try to develop other ODM partners with less restrictions for future projects if possible.

In the end its PC's image and trust that gets eroded by not delivering what they promised, not Mediatek's or the ODM's.
The amount of public requests for refunds and negative comments surprised me.

I do want them to do very well, although now the price seems a tad high for mid-tier specs for a phone to be launched mid 2021.

Zarhan

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Re: Holy Downgrade, Batman!
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2021, 04:52:18 am »
Well, it *does* seem that they have learned something from communication. The Q&A session videos were good and they are holding another one soon.

Also, the battery was upped back to 4000 mAh (with thickness almost 19 mm).