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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  • Belldandy - Saturday, June 16, 2018 - link

    Just an interesting note: I have the Canadian version of the P20 Pro, single sim card.
    running version: CLT-L04
    I got scores of Sling Shot Extreme Unlimited graphics: 3114 Physics: 2821
    But T-Rex was 123fps
    Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen was 39 fps

    So maybe it has been fixed on my phone like the Mate 10 pro
  • arayoflight - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    Are you planning to review the OnePlus 6 as well? Reply
  • greenbat - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    Great article. I was wondering about the AI benchmark. It would be intersting to see whether the android 8.1 on the p20 give better results compared to the android 8.0 Mate 10. Any change to test that?

    And the next firmware upgrade of the mate 10 gives night shot without tripod, just like p20
  • amouses - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    The Huawei P20 Pro is an awesome phone, especially for people whose usage includes predominantly photography. But as a Huawei fanboy or maybe ex fanboy beware. Huawei have a habit of providing poor Software upgrades (security) and OS upgrades for phones. And so my official requests to them about Android P support for a phone ironically named P20 have gone unanswered to date. So Huawei, do you commit to upgrading your flagship phone, say by Dec 31st 2018? or will users as per your previous flagship products be saddled with excellent hardware and totally out of date Android Software. Your call. Reply
  • Trixanity - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    Second paragraph in the conclusion "Huawei tried to take some design queues from Apple’s iPhone X" should be design cues I'd wager :)

    Are there any plans to revisit the GPU benchmarks later? Huawei's alleged black magic (which they call GPU Turbo that supposedly has significant improvements to performance and power efficiency) seemingly coming out of thin air will be released to a wide range of models including the P20 in July. Would really like to see not only benchmarks but a dissection of what it is and how it works if possible.
  • South_DL - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    These continental Chinese phones are nothing but a mix of plagiarism from both Apple and Samsung, how in earth such a thing can be legal in the US? Reply
  • Retycint - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    Because you can't trademark things like a notch or a glass back, that's why. And these phones are much more than just "iPhone/Samsung clones", unless you're telling me you didn't even read the review and skipped straight to the comments section to complain? Reply
  • prisonerX - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    You can't copyright, patent or restrict an idea, only a specific instance, expression or design.

    Your notion of "plagiarism" is how people have been designing things forever, and it benefits consumers. Why someone would be worried about where ideas come from rather than whether they're good or bad, I'll never know.
  • levizx - Saturday, June 16, 2018 - link

    You are plagiarizing, because 1+1=2, and you can't use it EVER. Reply
  • sonny73n - Sunday, June 17, 2018 - link

    You’re such a shallow minded. Go on gsmarena and check the last 4 iPhone generations (6,6s,7 and 8) and Meizu see who stole design from whom. And the bezel-less design of iPhone X is also a steal from another Chinese phone.

    By the way, your beloved Apple trademarked “slide to unlock” and “tap center of status bar to scroll up back to top”. LOL

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