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Kirin 980 Specs Leak – Not What Was Expected

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Next generation Huawei successor of the popular Kirin 970 is now a fact with these newly leaked full specifications. Naturally, Huawei Kirin 980 Specs got released two weeks before the official chip presentation. Here’s what I think about the released Kirin 980 Specs.

Kirin 980 CPU part – “Desktop Class” new ARM A77 in the Mix

Kirin 980 Specs Leak - Not What Was Expected

According to the leaks, many people guessed correctly on the CPU and Fabrication Process parts for Kirin 980. The new Huawei high-end chip is using the latest Cortex A77 and A55 Cores and a BIG.little 4+4 Configuration. Hope A77 is half as good as ARM advertise, since they’ve been known to not live up to the hype. ARM’s A77 core is labelled as Desktop Class from ARM, but I am still a bit reserved on that. Overall, the CPU should deliver  a 40%+ boost in Single and Multi-Core Performance over Kirin 970 and equal if not better battery life.

Kirin 980 Graphics – 24 Mali G72 Cores

What really worries me is the GPU part. It was widely reported that Huawei are working on their own CUSTOM GPU for the 980, but it would appear this was GPU Turbo tech, not a real in-house GPU. I should get to the point, Mali GPU cores don’t deliver great performance per watt and tend to throttle, especially when used in High-Core configurations. They get high benchmark scores, because tests usually last 1-2 minutes, but running actual games is another story. There thee GPU throttles down after 5-6 minutes to about 50% of the original performance.Ask anybody with a Exynos or Kirin chip and they will verify that (me owning Kirin 970 and 960 before that, and before that Exynos 8890). Afte GPU Turbo was introduced, things got a bit better for Kirin chips (less heat and more stable frames), but not close to what Huawei advertised.

Kirin 980 Specs Leak - Not What Was Expected

Kirin 980 Connectivity, Cameras and AI:

It’s finally nice to see Huawei being up to speed and opting for BT 5.0. Better late than never.
For AI, Huawei are really a generation or two ahead of everyone else and the new NPU looks to boost that even further. Besides camera objects recognition AI continues to be under utilized, and I don’t think we’ll get much ahead here.

Finally, Kirin 980 uses a Triple ISP, which means it can operater 3 separate sensors at once! We are talking about shooting a picture with up to 3 high-end camera sensors here. I am certain the Mate 20 and P30 (or whatever it ends up being called) will feature an upgraded P20 Pro Camera configuration, which should blow away the competition when it comes to taking photos and optical zoom. That is great, but Huawei’s video Quality and OIS has not been up to par with Snapdragon and Exynos devices for years, so I was really hoping Huawei would introduce the first OIS 4K video recording camera, but that looks like it’s not happening with the Triple ISP.

Kirin 980 Analysis Conclusion

Will probably not be as good as Snapdragon 855 in Gaming. Battery Consumption and Video Quality. To conclude, Kirin 980 delivers a much needed boost over its predecessor and will be a worthwile upgrade for Huawei users. Just don’t expect it to blow Qualcomm’s Video Quality, Gaming and Battery Consumption dominance apart.