Snapdragon 865 vs A13 Bionic vs Kirin 990 Initial Performance Results Show Android-Based SoCs Are Closing the Gap

Dec 16, 2019
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With mobile chipset makers such as Apple and Huawei already using 7nm EUV parts in their smartphones; the A13 Bionic and Kirin 990, respectively, we were still waiting for Qualcomm to come up with its best contender yet. In comes the Snapdragon 865, promising a wide range of benefits for Android flagship smartphone users in 2020, but just how big of a performance difference does the latest silicon provide over its direct competitors? Let us take a first look at the initial Snapdragon 865 vs A13 Bionic vs Kirin 990 performance results to find out more.

Snapdragon 865 vs A13 Bionic vs Kirin 990 - Introduction

Do keep in mind that this is going to be an initial first look at the performance results when seeing the difference in the latest Snapdragon 865 vs A13 Bionic vs Kirin 990 bout. Of course, some of you will be quick to jump to conclusions, stating that Apple’s latest and greatest wins the crown, but we’ll advise you to compare the entire scores to see the bigger picture.

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Our initial performance comparison will take out numbers of Geekbench 4 since that’s a synthetic benchmark that really stresses the CPU. Before we get started, we’d like to point out one thing; the results are much closer than what you’d expect. For years now, Apple has been reigning supreme in the performance department as far as its mobile chipsets go, but things are a little different this time around.

Snapdragon 865 vs A13 Bionic vs Kirin 990 - First Performance Comparison

Before we get started, we’d like to point out one thing. During Huawei’s presentation, the company announced not one, but two Kirin 990 variants; one with an embedded 5G modem and one without. The one that ships with an integrated 5G modem features more transistors and a higher processor clock speed, translating into higher performance, and this is the variant that will be used in our initial performance comparison. So without waiting any longer, here are the results.

In case you’re wondering which devices were used in the following tests, for the Snapdragon 865, it was an unnamed reference handset. For the A13 Bionic, it was the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and for the Kirin 990, it was the Mate 30 Pro. Since two of these smartphones are running at a higher resolution, it’s possible the Geekbench 4 scores obtained by both of them are lower compared to handsets with displays running at lower resolutions.

Regardless, it’s still an impressive run by all three SoCs, but like we’ve seen time and time again, the A13 Bionic takes the win, but not comprehensively this time. Sure, it thrashed both the Snapdragon 865 and Kirin 990 in the single-core test results, but in the multi-core comparison, things are much different. In fact, so different that the Snapdragon 865 is just a few points away from taking over the A13 Bionic, which would be a remarkable feat for Qualcomm. That being said, the chipmaker did state that it took three years to develop the Snapdragon 865, so it looks like the team effort should be appreciated.

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What Are the Future Mobile Chipsets That We All Should Forward to in 2020?

The Kirin 990 still struggles to find some meaningful difference in the latest comparison but there’s still hope. According to the latest rumor, its successor called the Kirin 1020 is expected to boast performance with nearly a 50 percent increase, and it’s expected to be made on a new 5nm architecture. For Qualcomm, it’s probably going to be focused on improving the single-core performance with the upcoming rumored Snapdragon 875, which too will reportedly be made on the 5nm node.

Considering that the Snapdragon 865 development took three years to complete, it’s possible Qualcomm has a secret group of talented engineers working on the Snapdragon 875 as we speak. Maybe they’re devising on how to narrow that single-core performance gap between Apple’s A-series chips. Speaking of Apple, the A14 Bionic (we’ll be sticking to this name for now) is expected to be made on TSMC’s 5nm EUV process for 2020.

Going by these changes, the A14 Bionic should deliver a speed increase between 14-17 percent, and if we’re being a little too optimistic, we should expect the same results from the Snapdragon 875 and Kirin 1020. Whatever those results may be, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the latest. We’ll also provide an in-depth difference between the new chipsets and the old ones, so if you want to see that apart from this Snapdragon 865 vs A13 Bionic vs Kirin 990 initial performance comparison, be sure to let us know down in the comments.

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