It was in the past IFA 2018 when the Kirin 980 was introduced but it was not until the launch of the new Huawei Mate 20 series that we could see it in action and compare how much the AI of the Chinese manufacturer has evolved.
The Huawei Mate 10 already surprised us by the capabilities of the NPU (Neural Process Unit) of his Kirin 970. At the time incredible things were promised through the ability of the terminal to learn from us and our habits. Twelve months after its launch we can corroborate that this was the case. The daily use of Mate 10 showed us how autonomy, silently, was improved day by day by better managing energy according to our uses, providing the phone with up to 2 days of normal operation.
Other aspects such as taking pictures in which the scene was quickly guessed, the ability to process more information and maintain performance or better storage management, were noticed on a day-to-day basis.
But the new double NPU, or what is the same, an AI even more powerful that encloses inside the Kirin 980, eager to learn and manage increasingly better resources, make us imagine that we can reach levels that we have not yet thought and that we had not reached with the previous generation. And the first weeks with the Huawei Mate 20 have confirmed us.
More power, more AI, more of everything
In technical terms, the new Huawei processor is an octacore configured as a CPU with 4-core architecture (2x Cortex-A76 at 2.6 GHz + 2x Cortex-A76 at 1.9 GHz) and 4 other Cortex-A55 cores (at 1 , 8 GHz). It also has the first Mali-G76 GPU, a portent of a graphic chip for games and multimedia entertainment.
On paper, the Kirin 980 is 20% more powerful than the previous generation and offers 40% more energy savings. It is capable of recognizing 4,500 images per minute and capturing sharp movements without blurring. The new processor uses a new dual ISP that allows a processing speed up to 46% higher than its predecessor and an improvement of 23% in terms of energy efficiency.
It is also the first chip with a Cat.21 modem that supports speeds of up to 1.4 Gbps at the same time as it is the first CPU compatible with 2.333 MHz LPDDR4X RAM and offers the fastest Wi-Fi speed in the world, reaching 1,732 Mbps, considerably faster than the 866 Mbps of the Snapdragon 845 and with 20% better bandwidth and 22% less latency.
The change in the real experience of Kirin 970 to 980 is abysmal
But all this is nothing but technical, necessary, but the important thing is is this noticed in the day to day? Absolutely yes, and a lot. Normally, when we jump to a processor with a traditional CPU, you notice the change in performance, everything goes more fluid, faster, etc. Even so, although the difference is palpable, the sensation is not one of total disruption. This has not been the case of going from Kirin 970 to 980, which in the absence of an NPU has released the double NPU , doubling the capabilities of the AI of Huawei processors.
And it seems that we have advanced several generations of terminals in just one year. Not only for the power and the processing capacity. Things that before could choke the Kirin 970 despite being a robust processor, the Kirin 980 moves with astonishing ease.
In particular, where the dizzying power of the new Huawei processor is most palpable is in the camera. The speed when recognizing the scenes, especially when you activate the SuperMacro, but also when you can recognize a sunset, a historic building, jump to a portrait, all this almost in real time while moving the camera is spectacular. This also offers possibilities like recording videos in black and white in which the main figure remains in color. Again, we are talking about a mobile phone, something that we carry in our pockets and that opens up a field of incredible possibilities.
That is why the Kirin 980 , compared to 970, can not be said to be an “evolution”, it is a revolution that few competitors can match.