GPU Performance

Moving on to the GPU tests, we see the P20’s make use of the Mali G72MP12 in the Kirin 970. The clock is the same 746MHz as in the Mate 10 – however as we’ll see, there’s some differences in terms of software that will affect the resulting benchmark scores.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Physics

Starting off with the 3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited Physics test which is solely CPU-bound, we see the Huawei P20s top the chart both in terms of peak as well as sustained performance. This test is more of a representation of how the CPU handles thermally constrained scenarios – such as GPU workloads.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Graphics

Moving into the Graphics subtest, we see the current disadvantages of the Mali G72 as it doesn’t have enough shader power to cope with more arithmetic heavy workloads such as 3DMark’s flagship test. Between the Mate 10 and both P20’s, all of them showcase similar peak performance. The sustained performance however is better on the P20 Pro as it seems the phone has a higher thermal envelope, this is particularly noticeable in juxtaposition with the result of the smaller P20 which I ran side-by-side in this test.

GFXBench T-Rex 2.7 Off-screen

In GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex, we see some very odd performance regressions in the P20s compared to the Mate 10. As they have the same chipsets, you would expect the same performance out of both device lines. Unfortunately this was an issue that I first encountered on the Mate 10 back in December and had reached out to Huawei to sort out. It turned out that the initial firmware didn’t enable full frequency of the memory controller – this was eventually resolved in another firmware and the full performance was eventually unlocked (The Mate 10 Pro scores). It looks like the P20’s do not have this change in their global firmware and that’s why the performance is so mediocre.

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen

T-Rex in particular suffers so badly from this because it’s a very heavy fill-rate and thus also bandwidth limited test that also happens to now run at quite high framerates. This creates a bottle-neck for the GPU and performance suffers dramatically.

The same effect can be seen in Manhattan 3.1, although to a lower degree. Unfortunately that also means that the P20’s aren’t competitive in this regard, and they also showcase some very bad sustained performance degradations to the point where they score lower than the P10.

Overall the P20’s greatly disappoint in terms of 3D performance. It was one thing to have the weaker GPU trail behind the competition, but it’s doubly disappointing to see the P20 firmware not have issues resolved that were identified some months ago. Huawei, HiSilicon and in part Arm here have to make some great efforts to become competitive again in this regard as this is nothing short of an embarrassing showcase for a flagship device.

System Performance Display Evaluation & Power
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  • levizx - Saturday, June 16, 2018 - link

    * doesn't
    There, fixed it for you.
  • close - Saturday, June 16, 2018 - link

    Take it easy guys, Lord of the Bored is just trolling. A lighthearted chuckle is always good :).
  • JackieKu - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    Welcome return to smartphone review! I don't particularly interest in Huawei's device due to its ecosystem (of SoC), but a full review is still very welcome.
  • psychobriggsy - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    18.66:9... i.e., 56:27
  • Lord of the Bored - Saturday, June 16, 2018 - link

    2.074:1, you mean?
  • levizx - Saturday, June 16, 2018 - link

    What a moron! It's 611:300. And who wants those ridiculous numbers? Anybody can tell which of 18.5:9 and 18.66:9 is wider in under 0.5s, almost nobody can say the same for 56:27 611:300 and 37:18.
  • eastcoast_pete - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    One question I would have liked addressed in this review: what is Huawei's official position on providing security and other OS updates for their phones and for how long do they guarantee the release of timely updates. I had an older Huawei Mate phone, and their utter lack of support (OS or even just security updates) obsoleted that phone in under 2 years. As long as Huawei has this abandonware approach to these, quite pricey, phones, count me out.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    Huawei's update record have not been good, in fact, it's been pretty atrocious, so it's a good point to make. I'll ping them for an official stance on this.
  • greenbat - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    On the mate 10 pro I get a monthly firmware upgrade. The security updates are 1 month behind googles. And new features are added by huawei face unlock was recently added, night shot will be added in next firmware upgrade. And also in the near future Gturbo (faster gpu), cloud computing, and android 8.1 upgrade are expected. Finally android 9 is in testing phase. So far I am happy with the updates.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    I haven't received any update yet on the M10. The P10 still sits on a February 2017 firmware. But maybe that's something limited to my review devices.

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