How the Honor 9X’s new Kirin 810 compares to the Snapdragon 730
Huawei recently launched the Nova 5 smartphone series in China. The highlight of the event was the Huawei Nova 5 Pro with its HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC that we previously saw on devices like the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro, and the Honor 20 and 20 Pro. But other than the flagship product, the event was also the launch pad for the Huawei Nova 5 and the latest upper-mid range SoC from Huawei, the HiSilicon Kirin 810. While the Nova 5 will likely remain a China-exclusive product, we will get to see the new Kirin 810 in action in future Honor devices like the upcoming Honor 9X. Huawei has now released further details about the Kirin 810 SoC, with a focus on how it compares to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 SoC.
The HiSilicon Kirin 810 succeeds the Kirin 710 as Huawei’s mid-range SoC of choice for this year. The Kirin 810 is based on a 7nm process, which makes it the second 7nm SoC from Huawei after the flagship Kirin 980. The SoC sports 2 ARM Cortex-A76 CPU cores clocked at a maximum frequency of 2.27GHz and 6 ARM Cortex-A55 CPU cores clocked at a maximum frequency of 1.55GHz, while the Mali-G52 MP6 handles the GPU capabilities on the device. The SoC also houses Huawei’s self-developed DaVinci architecture NPU that claims to offer flagship-tier AI performance.
Huawei is pitching the Kirin 810 directly against the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730. The Snapdragon 730 is manufactured on an 8nm process, which is an improvement over its predecessor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710’s 10nm process. The setup within the SoC comprises of 2 semi-custom Kryo 470 Gold “performance” cores clocked at 2.2GHz along with 6 semi-custom Kryo 470 Silver “efficiency” cores clocked at 1.8GHz. The GPU on the SoC is the Adreno 618, and the SoC also comes in with the Hexagon 688 DSP and the Hexagon Tensor Accelerator for AI acceleration.
|Specification||Qualcomm Snapdragon 730||HiSilicon Kirin 810|
|GPU||Adreno 618||Mali-G52 MP6|
|AI Hardware||Hexagon 688 DSP with Hexagon Tensor Accelerator||Dedicated NPU – DaVinci architecture|
Huawei claims that the Kirin 810 outperforms the newer Snapdragon 730. This is claimed through Geekbench 4.2 and AnTuTu benchmark scores, as below.
Single-core performance on the Kirin 810 is said to be marginally stronger than that on the Snapdragon 730, but Huawei is claiming greater variance on the multi-core performance on Geekbench.
A similar trend is also claimed with AnTuTu, with the Kirin 810 coming out as the superior performing SoC as against the Snapdragon 730 as well as its own predecessor, the Kirin 710. The GPU performance on the Kirin 810 gives it a noticeable edge over its Snapdragon counterpart, which coupled with the stronger multi-threaded performance, will help you out in gaming scenarios. That is not to say that the Snapdragon 730 is a slouch by any means, as we have seen devices with Snapdragon 730-predecessors performing admirably for gaming on value-oriented devices.
Huawei is also claiming superior AI performance, rivaling even that of flagships. According to their internal testing using the AI Benchmark developed by Andrey Ignatov as the basis for comparison, Huawei claims that the Kirin 810 NPU performs much better than even the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 within the context of AI performance.
While the general utility of benchmarks is itself questioned at times, the utility of AI Benchmarks is even more questionable. Artificial Intelligence is a large all-encompassing term that has acquired several meanings over the years, and the computation of a singular “score” to boil down the entire performance of a device on varied neural networks is a difficult task to orchestrate with perfection. AI Benchmarks by their inherent nature will sway more towards a particular network or a mix of networks, without keeping in consideration whether such a sway aligns with a modal workload, as mentioned by Mr. Ziad Asghar, Vice President of Snapdragon Roadmap Planning and AI, XR, Competitive Strategy at Qualcomm in an interview with XDA. AI performance will be more about actual use cases than about mere benchmark numbers and about which devices actually manage to get the real job done in the quickest and most efficient manner.
Even if the Kirin 810 may not size up to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 flagship SoC or other flagship SoC, it does come out to be a pretty good offering in the mid-range segment, at least on paper. It could also possibly be the last chip with ARM IP from HiSilicon, as ARM has cut ties with Huawei following the Trump administration’s executive order against the Chinese company. Nonetheless, we look forward to seeing the Kirin 810 in action on the Honor 9X and other Huawei and Honor devices and testing out Huawei’s claims independently by ourselves.