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We’ve seen the video test to be quite outdated here and mostly related to very fine scaling behaviours as well as screen refresh rates.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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  • psychobriggsy - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    After years on Android, and a set of Android Apps and Services that I own via the Play Store (or because they come with the phone), the lack of Google Services and the Play Store is a critical piece of missing functionality.

    Indeed I'd say that this is not Android at all, Android for most people being the combination of core operating system and Google Services.
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    Exactly, the whole point of a android phone is to have google services. Anything else you are are developers whim in updates to OS and apps. Which if anyone who got burned by Samsung tablets know..its not pretty. Reply
  • prisonerX - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    There's something to be said for there being an alternative to the Google monopoly in that respect. Let's hope that something like that emerges from this fiasco. Reply
  • versesuvius - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Vendor lock-in does not even begin to describe what the US government is enforcing on the mobile phone users around the world. If at one time it was Apple or Microsoft or some other OS maker, now it is a political and economical system that the US government and Google want to lock the world in. That said, a mobile phone is nothing but Browser as OS. And the entire Google offering is nothing but open web technologies. The half hearthed attempts at something different from Google never added up to much because they always chose Google to fall back on from the get go. With Huawei on the one side and the general drift of the Western world towards Trumpism and the asinine single mindedness of what passes for American political and economical infrastructure, we are going to witness many wonderful shifts towards true freedom and innovation around the world and Huawei is just a very wonderful start. Reply
  • melgross - Sunday, December 1, 2019 - link

    I hope Huawei has problems. The Chinese have been stealing secrets for some time, and Huawei is benefiting from that. In fact, early this year, two Apple vendors in China stated that they had been approached by Huawei for just that purpose.

    I have no sympathy for them.
    Reply
  • shabby - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    The round ring on this phone looks amazing, wish more phones had that kind of ring. Reply
  • yetanotherhuman - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Reminds me of my old Sony Ericsson P990, with the little selfie mirror :D Reply
  • yetanotherhuman - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    oh, and the actual physical protection for the lens. Reply
  • s.yu - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    ...are you being sarcastic? This looks so last-decade-compact sort of cliché.
    Also many are commenting that it looks like a stove.
    Reply
  • Alistair - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    Can't me in the group that detests curved screens. Don't copy Samsung's mistakes. Every time I use a flat version, it feels and looks much better. Even the S10e vs the S10, or the Oneplus 7T vs 7 Pro, much better. Reply

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