Thomas Bartlett and Val Quinn
are waxing lyrical over the new heights set by the camera functionality of the
Huawei P30 and P30 Pro. But a lot of that has to do with the Kirin 980 super chip.
The Kirin 980 is a late 2018 processor first seen in the Mate20/Pro and now in the new 2019 Huawei P30/Pro. Technically it is more of a direct competitor to the 2018 Qualcomm SD845 and its sibling Samsung Exynos 9810 found in Australian versions of the Galaxy S9 and Note9.
Interestingly both Huawei and Samsung design their silicon (as
Apple does with its A-series) and can design
in features no one else has. They can also highly tune their devices to Android
– so their expertise counts. It also means they have better control of the supply
The Kirin 980 has a GeekBench score of 3390/10318 for single/multi-core. The later Exynos 9820 (remember it is a Qualcomm SD855 sibling) has a GeekBench score 4510/10253 in single/multi-core.
By comparison, the
Kirin 970 in the P20 and Mate 10 is 1866/6600, and
the Exynos 9810 found in the S9 and Note9 has 3718/9026. That shows just how
far we have come in a year!
Apart from huge performance increases the main addition – let’s call it the secret sauce – to the Kirin 980 is two NPU (neural processing units) and two ISP (image signal processors).
This is in comparison to the Exynos 9802 single units. Simply put, the Kirin has more capacity to use AI to post-process images. Huawei has the edge in AI power.
The Exynos 9820 has a twelve Execution Unit Mali-G76 GPU
(Kirin 980 has ten but at a higher Mhz
rate), UFS 3.0 storage (the S10 series uses 2.1 – same as the Kirin), and a
higher video capture rate.
The Exynos also has Wi-Fi 6 (AX) – although in practice
users would not see much difference until
AX VHT80/160 routers are available. These processors are neck and neck.
We understand that the Kirin 980 in the P30/Pro may be more highly tuned so actual performance specs may be a little higher. We won’t know until we have the units on review and run throttling tests.