System Performance

We’ve seen that the new Kirin 990 does in fact still pack quite a bit of punch in regards to the CPUs due to the new memory subsystem, so now the question is how this translates into overall system performance. The Mate 30 Pro ships with Android 10 (technically, AOSP 10), so it should be an interesting comparison.

As with other Huawei devices over the last year, we’re testing the chip in its “High performance” mode in the battery settings as this is the equivalent to the intended performance of the chip, and the default state of the phone is more of a light battery saving mode. This is in contrast to some other Chinese vendor’s High Performance modes which is more akin to a cheating mode for benchmarks.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Web Browsing 2.0

In the web browsing test, the Mate 30 Pro here fares slightly worse than the Kirin 980 devices. I haven’t seen evidence that the Kirin 990 is scaling slower than the Kirin 980, so the differences here might be related to the new memory subsystem. If the A55 cores indeed have access to the SLC, this would mean there would also be a larger latency penalty to DRAM, and it possibly might be a reason why PCMark’s rather light web browsing test is sensitive to performance changes here.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Video Editing

We’ve seen the video test to be quite outdated here and mostly related to very fine scaling behaviours as well as screen refresh rates.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Writing 2.0

The Writing sub-test is the most important in the whole suite as it’s post representative of real world performance, and here the Mate 30 Pro’s performance is simply a step ahead of every other phone in the market, showcasing a similar large step-increase as we’ve seen in some of the memory bound benchmarks in SPEC.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Photo Editing 2.0

The Photo Editing scores are also significantly better for the new phone, although due to the workload being a RenderScript task, we’re not sure if this is due to Android 10 or changes in the software stack or DVFS of the GPU of the new phone. In any case, the new results are excellent and just slightly ahead of the best Snapdragon 855 devices. It’ll be interesting to see Kirin 980 devices here once they’ve been updates with the new OS and if that improves the scores in any way.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Data Manipulation

Data Manipulation test scores are again quite high, although the differences to other phones is smaller here.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Performance

Overall in PCMark, the Mate 30 Pro takes the top spot amongst all Android devices, which given that it’s the phone with the strongest hardware to date, isn’t too surprising.

Web Benchmarks

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView WebXPRT 3 - OS WebView JetStream 2 - OS Webview

Oddly enough, the phone didn’t do too well in the web benchmarks, sometimes falling behind the Kirin 980. I don’t believe this would be due to the hardware, but rather to maybe some software issues with the BSP and Android 10. Over the last few months I’ve seen some odd changes in WebView performance in recent updates across a larger swath of phones, some showing degradations. It’s definitely something I would blame on Google rather than Huawei in this case.

System Performance Conclusion

Overall, the Mate 30 Pro has been for me visibly the fastest Android device to date. It’s quite noticeable that it shows more responsiveness than any other device this year and is ahead of other fast devices such as the Galaxy S10 or the Pixel 4. Huawei definitely did a good job here and I think it’s one of the Mate 30 Pro’s strong points.

The Kirin 990 SoC GPU Performance & Power
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  • s.yu - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    "a unique 90° curved screen on its sides – a first not only for Huawei but for the smartphone market overall"
    ...IIRC NEX 3 with the same screen curve design was launched 3 days before this model.
    But the comments regarding the ergonomics certainly push me further towards the ROGP2.

    "The new sensor is a native 16:9 unit" really surprises me as I thought it was a 3:2, since it shoots stills in 3:2, in this case the 4:3 crop in night mode would be even more of a compromise cutting out a larger portion of the sensor, essentially highlighting how severe the falloff and in cam shadow lifting is.
    But this doesn't explain the poor DR of the new unit.

    If I were shooting an UWA I'd probably prefer a narrower one, as the ~12mm FoV is overdramatic and incredibly difficult to master, but this isn't the main issue as I don't believe a significantly relevant proportion of users of these ultimately consumer devices actually understand photography enough to have that in mind.

    The night mode on the UWA still has severe smearing that hasn't been resolved, especially obvious in the shot of the theater, whose exacerbation in edges and corners under a certain lighting threshold is observable in the 2nd sample on the stairs, so what I observed from GSMA's very few night samples turns out to be universal, that the UWA night mode on this big big sensor is actually worse than Samsung's tiny tiny sensor with a far wider FoV. Peculiar.

    So the conclusion here is: When not much FoV is needed, DR isn't too extreme, and lighting is either sufficient enough not to need night mode or lacking enough that Samsung's tiny sensor tends to capture no data, this new UWA has the advantage.

    A minor detail regarding "The ISO51200 of the sensor in the regular mode is able to get better results than the image stacking of ISO1600 pictures in night mode." The ISO1600 is probably calculated from the accumulated shutter durations of the burst, I don't believe it's likely that a burst could be captured without vibration under this lighting with each shot at ISO1600.

    Finally, I was expecting a sprinkler test of the "7680fps", and preferably a test on effective video resolution, shame this wasn't included.
    Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    You are right about the 3:2, I was absentmindedly writing 16:9.

    In regards to the slow-mi, Ian did an article few months back:
    https://www.anandtech.com/show/14897/a-day-with-th...

    The capture is just 2000fps interpolated 4x, I investigated this in the software.
    Reply
  • s.yu - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Yeah I know, just that a running tap was too slow, while a sprinkler test would yield more as to how the interpolation is done, e.g. the NPU technically should be able to afford some object tracking resulting in much better interpolation than mere averaging or something.

    Also a comparison of resolution between all the slow-mo that on paper appear to be 720P could help assess actual quality, my second point.
    Reply
  • Dazzler86 - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Eventhough the DR is not up to the unrealistic level of Samsung, its subtle enough & flagship grade.

    Whining about Night Mode? The Mates doesnt even need to use Night Mode to beat other competition, its still a low light king, as stated by the review.

    Funny that you only stated negativity about the camera phone but ignores its pros that beat others. Best UWA implentation, best detail preservation on a smartphone camera, ever.

    I dont care about your other post about their politics, but i know i made the right choice, choosing Huawei for a point & shoot camera along with my main Leica Q & Fuji X-E3.
    Reply
  • s.yu - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Oh I know a Huawei fanboy when I see one alright.

    "Eventhough the DR is not up to the unrealistic level of Samsung, its subtle enough & flagship grade."

    So more DR than Huawei equals unrealistic? lol. Apple's UWA output also has more DR and is quite realistic. The processing of the two Samsung variants is also different, and not entirely less realistic than for example P30P.

    "The Mates doesnt even need to use Night Mode to beat other competition"
    Rather that it would lose to others where it might have won without night mode?

    The Mate, which on auto:
    https://images.anandtech.com/galleries/7356/Mate30... beats Samsung's night mode(for as wide as its FoV would cover): https://images.anandtech.com/galleries/7356/S10E_2...
    loses handily to Samsung's night mode with its own night mode: https://images.anandtech.com/galleries/7356/Mate30...
    with much narrower FoV, much more severe smearing etc.
    This inconsistency, a strong argument against night mode use in many nighttime conditions, is a liability, because the user is forced to guess when night mode works better and when it's far worse, and the penalty for making a mistake in judgement is a heavy one.

    Andrei left out a lot of individual analysis between samples, but clearly there are too many catches for it to be declared outright "king", which I summarized as "When not much FoV is needed, DR isn't too extreme, and lighting is either sufficient enough not to need night mode or lacking enough that Samsung's tiny sensor tends to capture no data, this new UWA has the advantage."

    Note that I acknowledge the advantage, where there is one, only I also acknowledge the disadvantage, where there is one, unlike you who does nothing but brag.

    "Best UWA implentation"
    is, again, false. You don't say that a 21/2 is better than a 12/5.6, because the drastic difference in FoV makes then incomparable, and the UWA, already ~18mm in stills, a 1.5x crop compared to Samsung and Apple's UWA, is a ~21mm equiv. FoV in night mode's forced 4:3 crop, so no matter how much cleaner it is, you can't call it something along the lines of "the best". Your claim is akin to "my 16-35/2.8 is better than your 12-24/4", or "my 50/0.95 is better than your 75/1.4", which is nothing but ignorant fanboy talk. You're lucky this is Anandtech, or else you'd be laughed at commenting like that under DPR.

    Also some things I left unsaid as I already covered some of Mate30P's performance in the comments of the Pixel 4 review, I felt no need to repeat them.

    "Leica Q"
    You bought an expensive toy that will go to waste in your hands. Your X-E3 purchase does expose your taste for JPG filters over material performance gain though, not surprising for a Huawei fanboy.
    Reply
  • SydneyBlue120d - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Thank You Andrei for your great review!

    After all this years of Android it is really disappointing that still at the end of 2019 no one seems to be able to beat the iPhone 11 PRO display accuracy.
    Reply
  • phils1969 - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Anyone else had an issue with the Nano Memory card not being detected? Dual sim works so the slots fine, but 1 sim and 1 NM card and its not seeing the NM card, the wifes Mate 20 Pro sees it fine so its not the card? Reply
  • Calista - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    If anything this shows we really need properly split Alphabet/Google from Android. Android being open source, it belongs to the world. But that's not much use if it's still locked to a single company in a country more than happy to be both judge, jury and executioner when it comes to world politics. All the major cellphone vendors should work together to replace the Google services with open alternatives. It's easy to pick on Huawei, but what's the next target? Samsung? Oppo? LG? Sony? Some other company not from USA? Reply
  • liquid_c - Saturday, November 30, 2019 - link

    In the pfw chart, the iPhones get 2 subsections (cold/peak and hot) while the other devices, don’t. Why is that? Reply
  • AidenP - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - link

    Looks decent (except for those extra curved sides) ,and the specs are up there,it seems, I think at 500-600 Euros would be a realistic value offer , but for now I will stick to my iPhone 8,for at least a few more years . Reply

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