System Performance

System performance of the P20 and P20 Pro should not be something where we’re expecting any surprises. We’ve covered the Kirin 970 in detail in a standalone article earlier this year, and because the chip doesn’t offer any on-paper improvements of last year’s Kirin 960 in the P10 – the improvements in system performance should come solely based on software upgrades such as in the upgrade from Android 7.0 to 8.1 respectively 8.0 to 8.1 when comparing against the results of the Mate 10 with the same chipset.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Web Browsing 2.0

Starting off with PCMark’s web browsing test, we see the P20’s perform excellently and achieving alongside the most recent S845 devices top scores. The web browsing test of PCMark is very sensitive to performance latency, meaning how fast the CPU and scheduler ramp up to higher performance states. The P20’s use a customised variant of EAS, however still rely on an interactive CPU frequency governor.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Video Editing

The video editing subtest seems to have reached a performance plateau in terms of reported scores in that we’re not really seeing much deviation anymore across devices nowadays – giving diminishing returns of actual performance with increased scores and why all devices are so tight together.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Writing 2.0

The writing subtest is among one of the most representative tests in regards to overall user experience of a phone. Here the P20’s fare extremely well again and top the charts. Only Xiaomi’s most recent Mi MIX 2S with very aggressive scheduler configurables is able to take a lead in front of the P20’s.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Photo Editing 2.0

The photo editing subtest also is a very performance latency sensitive test – the workloads comprise very short but still heavy bursts. Here scheduler and DVFS means everything and the P20’s again are at the top of the ranks only outpaced by S845 phones.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Data Manipulation

The data manipulation workload is more characterised by longer single-thread workloads that seem to be memory latency sensitive. The P20 here seems to show a slight regression – again this agrees with the synthetic benchmarks that we’ve run in the Kirin 970 article as it seems the memory controller on the K970 is less aggressive than on the K960.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Performance

Overall, the P20’s performance in PCMark is as expected- slightly above last year’s P10 more recent Mate 10’s. Both phones are among the fastest today and only more aggressive implementations of the Snapdragon 845 will outpace them in terms of snappiness.

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView WebXPRT 3 - OS WebView

In web tests, the P20s again fare relatively unsurprisingly, taking a small lead over the Mate 10 in Speedometer 2.0 while still showcasing the same regression compared to last year’s P10 in WebXPRT3.

System performance of the P20s wasn’t really something I had any kind of expectations – and they ended up exactly where I thought they would. HiSilicon’s choice of sticking with Cortex A73’s in 2018 makes both sense, but also gives them a disadvantage in some markets.

At the beginning of the year I had thought we’d see the Kirin 970 have to worry about large performance deltas to the Exynos 9810 – however that worry quickly dissipated as we saw the fiasco that was the Exynos Galaxy S9. The Snapdragon 845 however still maintains a very noticeable performance lead and that’s where the P20s don’t look that good against. This would still be fine if Huawei would price the P20s more competitively – however that’s not the case, and in particular with the price premium of the P20 Pro we are not checking off all the boxes for a flagship device coming in at that price bracket.

Unfortunately Huawei’s is in a bit of a bind here as their SoC release schedule is out of sync with the technology release schedule, and that’s why the P20s will have to make due in other areas to compensate for the “average” performance of the Kirin 970. Again, I want to make note that both devices are still extremely smooth and subjectively still very fast devices – it’s just that by now we have competitions that are a generational leap ahead and that needs to be taken into account.

Software UI - EMUI 8.1 GPU Performance
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  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - link

    After reading this review I'll simply keep the Mate 10 Pro and carry on. I was truly hopeful to finally have a Nokia 1020 killer but... it's not to be. Now THAT was an amazing camera (Especially with the grip).

    Years fly by and all we're seeing is small little jumps in camera tech while the 1020 had it all.
  • s.yu - Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - link

    I don't think it's a matter of making jumps or steps but rather Huawei intentionally made a jump backwards. They have at least half of the original Pureview imaging team yet the rendering bears no resemblance to the 1020 nor the 808. They were probably explicitly ordered to bump up saturation to 11, and sharpening, NR to 13. The quad-bayer also does more damage than good, they could have gone for a 40MP bayer proper and ended up with much fewer false interpolation color and smearing. Now P20Pro RAW is gigantic (close to 80MB, larger than my a7RII's output) yet good as useless as it doesn't stand to clarity boost and sharpening (current algorithms are simply ineffective in extracting data from that interpolation pattern) and probably won't merge well in LR mobile's HDR RAW mode either.

    Speaking of which, LR mobile's HDR RAW is a real revolution. Although an exposure takes about half a minute to process (on the slow side, but its nothing if you got your shot) and may be more prone to shaking (as all auto HDR are), it yields DNG files from my Note 8 with DR in the range of APS-C sensors so far with imperceptible loss in sharpness from the merge. It hardly solves low light performance(shutter speed is automatically determined and doesn't seem to go very low) but it does help bring back highlight DR in low light, and in daylight it often substitutes a professional compact like a Coolpix A or Ricoh GR.
  • peevee - Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - link

    A73/A53 are so last year...
  • p51d007 - Friday, June 22, 2018 - link

    Shame...I started out with a Huawei Mate2 years ago, then upgraded to the Mate 8, then the 9 after someone bought my 8.
    Sadly, due to the U.S. government telling retailers, carriers "you better not", the 9 might be my last Huawei phone. If I can't get the software to run it in the U.S. without jumping through hoops, support and what not, I'll have to start looking elsewhere.
    Shame...I've loved every one of them! Very stable, LONG battery life and good value.
  • pruthviraj - Saturday, June 23, 2018 - link

    i am waiting and i want to <a href=””>Buy Redmi Note 6 Pro</a>
  • djayjp - Saturday, June 23, 2018 - link

    Btw, author, OIS has nothing do with exposure lol
  • albert89 - Saturday, June 30, 2018 - link

    Oh yeah, that's that Chinese Co's that was fined by the U.S for breaking trade embargo's and stealing technology. I don't care how popular they were over seas. They arnt going to get my business and many people feel the same way. Do you wanna reward the Chinese communist party for stealing ? You either stand for something or nothing at all.
  • max123 - Wednesday, August 8, 2018 - link

    Now that we know <a href=" Huawei Y3 2018 and Huawei Y3 2017</a>
    (Y5 Lite 2017) are basically the same phones with different software, we think that it’s likely the outgoing 2017 edition could also get Android Go features via an update.
  • max123 - Wednesday, August 8, 2018 - link

    <a href=" Huawei P20 Pro is one of the primary cell phones</a> we have seen with three separation camera focal points on the back. The best one is a 8 megapixel zooming focal point, the center one is a 40 megapixel RGB focal point, and the last one (set apart independent from anyone else) is a 20 megapixel mono focal point.
  • Freedom11 - Tuesday, September 4, 2018 - link

    Thank you for a brilliant review. I am between the P20 and P20 Pro. My question is whether the differences between the P20 Pro and the P20 is worth the price difference. I would truly appreciate if someone could summarise the advantages of the Pro over the standard P20. From reading the review, I see the main advantage in being the 5x zoom and the very, very dark lighting situations, which I guess both would be used more rarely. But even so the P20 performs very well in night shots! Thank you very much!!

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