We saw that the Mali T628 in the Kirin 920 is quite power hungry, but let's see exactly how much performance it delivers for that power.

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Graphics

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Overall

The 3DMark graphics score falls in the middle inbetween the Adreno 320 and the Adreno 330. Due to the low physics score on the CPU side, the overall score is quite low compared to other flagships.

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (High Quality, Onscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (High Quality, Offscreen) BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (High Quality, Onscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (High Quality, Offscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Overall (High Quality)

There's a similar trend going on with BaseMark X, the Kirin manages to outperform the Adreno 320 but can't touch the Adreno 330. In many cases it performs roughly at half the speed of competing flagships. Only when enabling the "Rog" mode and dropping to 720p does the GPU catch up the Adreno 330. In fact we can pretty much say that the Mali in the HiSilicon chip performs identically in 720p as the Adreno 330 does in 1080p. I'm suspecting a severe lack of fill-rate power on behalf of the Mali GPU.

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Offscreen)

This trend continues on to the GFXBench 3.0 tests. Interestingly, the performance delta is much smaller for the Manhattan test and is not that far off from the Adreno 330 as it was in the T-Rex. In 720p it catches up with the Adreno 330 on T-Rex and surpasses it in Manhattan. This again might indicate that the Mali has more ALU power and is bound by other factors in the T-Rex test. A look at the fill-rate tests confirm this suspicion, as it ends up slower than the Mali 450MP4 in the Kirin 910T:

GFXBench 3.0 Fill Rate Test (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Fill Rate Test (Offscreen)

It seems the MP4 configuration is too underpowerd to properly run 1080p content at optimal performance, its fillrate scores are quite poor and the GPU is even outperformed by architectures two generations behind.

GFXBench 3.0 Quality/Accuracy Test (Medium Precision)

GFXBench 3.0 Quality/Accuracy Test (High Precision)

An noticeable result is found in the accuracy tests of GFXBench: the Mali achieves consistently higher scores over the competition. While in no way noticeable, this would mean that ARM's drivers are doing a better work of rendering the intended scene.

All in all, the GPU is decidedly mid-range. If you plan on gaming a lot on your smartphone, a Hi3630 device such as the Honor 6 or Ascend Mate 7 may not deliver an experience as good as a competing device with a Qualcomm SoC.

CPU performance Battery Life and Charge Time
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  • DIYEyal - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    I found a typo in the battery life page: "I think this is due the phone having quite good thermal dissipation charateristics ." Reply
  • akshayprbhu - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    that is not a typo. The phone is having good thermal dissipation as it is cooler than similar spec phones when a performance test was done! Youtube for more proof... Reply
  • lilmoe - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    Great review of what really matters. I especially liked the in-depth analysis of the SoC and its platform power in comparison to others. Looking forward to future reviews.

    "Ideally, it would be interesting to see a 720p mode on 1440p screens as it would offer perfect scaling, with one logical pixel being mapped to exactly four physical ones, without the need for interpolation and upscaling artifacts"

    If Samsung ever decides to put a 1440p panel on the GS6, I seriously hope they allow a 720p mode in their power saving options. Even if pentile, It would be MUCH sharper than any other 720p AMOLED panel since it's up-scaled. Actually, I seriously interested to see how it would look like. Plus, the added performance and battery life would be legendary on a phone faster and more efficient than the current GS5. Totally intriguing.
    Reply
  • lilmoe - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    Oh, this is just a suggestion. If you must use browser benchmarks to measure platform performance (sighs...), wouldn't it be better to use the stock browser since it's what most people use? You know, since the stock browser is usually more optimized for that specific device and generally performs better than Chrome. Using Chrome to see the difference of Android devices in comparison is OK since they'd be using the same browser running on the same OS, but definitely NOT OK in comparison with other platforms.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm positive that I'm not.
    Reply
  • aryonoco - Sunday, September 14, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the great review, this was the first time that any publication has exposed the inner workings of a Hisilicon SoC, and you've done a great job of that. However I wanted to mention here that I strongly disagree with your analysis of the software.

    Designing software that's going to be used by mass users is a constant balancing act between exposing enough power to satisfy different user requirements and power users, and yet keeping the UI simple enough so that the vast majority of users are not overwhelmed by the array of features. The Permission Management feature here, similar to those baked into many custom ROMs goes well over the line and is a huge user experience disaster. To ship an OEM ROM with this, is begging for a deluge of support calls from clueless customers who have disabled things and then wonder why their phone doesn't work as intended.

    I'm not saying that the current permission management scenario in Android is perfect, far from it. I don't think anyone has figured out the perfect balance of how to inform users about third party apps without scaring them, turning the notices meaningless, or overwhelming users.

    One of Anand's greatest assets was his ability to articulate his vision of good UI in various products. Him and Brian could explain why certain choices were made (for example in terms of treatment of external storage on Android, or the design tradeoffs about non-replaceable batteries) and the guiding principles behind them. File managers are archaic and confusing to 90% of users. I know the tech-savvy AT readership will disagree, but the whole concept of files and directories are broken for average users, especially on a device like a phone, and they are better off being abstracted away from them. Your comments on file managers in KitKat, or your praise of Huawei's software "enhancements" shows a lack of understanding of where the line is when it comes to UX design.

    I hope that now that Anand is gone, AT doesn't become a place where the writers are blind to the needs of average customers. We do not need Android to regress to the wild days of Gingerbread, or worse, Windows Mobile.
    Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Sunday, September 14, 2014 - link

    Well, you complaining about huawei logo or writing missing and main thing is that you NEVER complained on iphones that they NEVER put writing on their phones but that is alright ? h ? people are so pathetic .. if apple wud make soome plastic dick sticking out from phone you guys would say that is fine bcos it is iphone and we will forgive that we will get used to it .. oohh jeezz naive people Reply
  • akshayprbhu - Friday, October 10, 2014 - link

    the writings are a part of the mandatory regulations to denote the compliance with the telecom regulations. and it does not eat up too much space on the back. Reply
  • darkich - Sunday, September 14, 2014 - link

    Absolutely great analysis. Andrei and Joshua, keep these top notch write ups coming! Reply
  • SeleniumGlow - Monday, September 15, 2014 - link

    I was hoping that the Kirin processor would have a comparison with the MediaTek MT6592. But I guess there are some obvious differences in the Big Little implementation that will prevent it from being a good comparison. Reply
  • siberstorm - Monday, September 15, 2014 - link

    The mediocre camera and obvious cutrate shoddiness (wtf the stabilization is just the 1080p field cut down to 720p with none of the rest of the sensor used, so ghetto) is unacceptable and this goes for the mate 7 as well. So bye bye huawei. I am still interested in the lenovo vibe z2 pro aka k920 and would love a review of that phone, but the chances of lenovo sending one to anandtech are slim, considering they arent gunning for the global market like huawei is. Reply

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