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Huawei’s new Kirin 960 is a benchmarking beast that tops the iPhone 7


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We’re just a few weeks away from the launch of Huawei’s next device, which we assume will be the latest entry in Mate series, but today we might have just found out which processor will provide the power.

Unveiled at an event in Shanghai, China, the Kirin 960 is a new high-performance chip that uses four of ARM’s new Cortex-A73 cores and four low-powered A53 cores. It also happens to be the first processor to ship with the Mali G71 MP8 GPU which should offer up better gaming performance and graphics thanks to a 180% speed increase over the outgoing T880.

As with any new flagship CPU, the headline feature here is speed. To show just fast the new chip is, Huawei put an unidentified Kirin 960 toting phone head to head with an iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Opening up 14 apps, the Kirin 960 phone booted up 13 of them quicker than the other two phones. Huawei also showed a few benchmark tests, which again highlighted how speedy this new CPU is.

Apple’s A10 still bested it in Geekbench’s single-core tests, but the Kirin 960 picks up an impressive 6,000+ score in the multi-core test. Higher than that of both the A10 and Snapdragon 821.

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A lot of the talk around the new chip was to do with cameras. The Kirin 960 has native support for dual-lens cameras – another feature coming to the next Huawei Mate phone maybe? – and the updated image signal processor (ISP) should allow for clearer and more detailed snaps. It also supports two different resolution sensors.

Huawei showed off a load of examples pitting it against the iPhone 7 Plus, but we’ll have to try out a Kirin 960 phone with dual-lens setup to know for sure what difference this really makes.

Other camera specific features highlighted were improved after-the-fact focusing options, letting you switch focal points after the photo is taken. Huawei already has this options on the P9, but we’ve found that it rarely works well.

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Battery life is a big focus too, and while everyone else has seemingly forgotten about Pokemon Go, Huawei is still using it as a benchmark. Enhancements, like low power GPS, should allow players to double their playtime. And not have to rely so much on a powerbank.

Huawei didn't announce any devices that'll use the new chip at the event, but we wouldn't be surprised if it showed up in the rumoured Mate 9 which is set to be announced at an event in Germany next month.

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October 19, 2016, 2:37 pm

Single core, the A10 thrashes the Kirin 960 (nearly twice as fast).

Multi core the Kirin 960 beats the A10 by about 15%

Most applications are speed limited by a single critical thread and therefore the A10 will generally "top" the Kirin 960.


November 7, 2016, 11:07 pm

yep sd821 and a10's quad core approach is better than octa core chipset.


November 24, 2016, 9:38 pm

Android is optimized to utilize multi-core very well, so this isn't really that true.


January 30, 2017, 1:46 am

4 core's is all that's needed, it's why Qualcomm went back to quad from octa core.


March 2, 2017, 3:17 pm

LOL...and back to octa in 835?

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