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Huawei P20 Pro: Can the Kirin 970 get the job done in 2018?

AndroidPIT huawei p20 pro 3199
© nextpit by Irina Efremova

The Huawei P20 Pro is equipped with a Kirin 970 processor. It has a dedicated artificial intelligence unit, but still utilizes a chip that was released in 2017. Will you be able to cope without the latest processors that were incorporated into devices such as the Galaxy S9 or Sony Xperia XZ2?


Benchmark test results: CPU, GPU and memory

We relied on the classic benchmark tests to understand what the P20 Pro is made of. This type of test allows you to test the computing power and graphic performance of a smartphone by providing a score that can be compared with those reported for other devices. We used the following platforms for the P20 Pro, as well for the Galaxy S9/S9+.

Benchmark tests are only theoretical references as they do not always represent the real performance of smartphones in everyday use. That's why in our article, in addition to the test results, you'll also find our personal impressions of the P20 Pro's performance to help you understand if this is the smartphone you need.

AndroidPIT huawei p20 pro 3033
Does the notch limit the gaming experience? / © NextPit

The Huawei P20 Pro isn't the most powerful smartphone on the market...

The Huawei P20 Pro packs a HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor with eight cores: 4 Cortex-A73s processing at 2.4GHz and 4 Cortex-A53s processing at 1.8GHz. There’s also a Mali-G72 MP12 GPU, which is responsible for graphic performance, and a 6 GB UFS, 2.1 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory that can’t be expanded. Those are all the technical specifications of the P20 Pro, but how did it perform in the benchmark tests?

The Huawei P20 Pro is positioned behind the new Galaxy, but still offers excellent value in everyday use.

As expected, the numbers aren’t that great in comparison to the latest flagship devices. But that's to be expected, as the P20 Pro has a processor that has already proven itself capable of handling demanding games, multitasking, and all kinds of other things (the Mate 10 Pro is the most obvious example), but it’s still a chip from 2017. This is not meant to be criticism, especially if your smartphone does its job without any problems, but we’ll address this issue again later.

Huawei P20 Pro: CPU and GPU benchmark results

  Pixel 2XL Sony Xperia XZ2 Galaxy S9 (FullHD+) Galaxy S9+ (FullHD+)

P20 Pro

3D Mark
Sling Shot ES 3.1
3571 4437 3274 3304 2972
3D Mark
Sling Shot ES 3.0
4714 5043 3873 3966 3346
3D Mark
Ice Storm Unlimited ES 2.0
37844 48021 38488 38701 30602
Geekbench CPU
Single core
1867 2435 3645 3771 1920
Geekbench CPU
6291 7164 8820 8923 6780

As you can see from the results, the Huawei P20 Pro doesn’t excel in the benchmark tests. It's positioned behind the new Galaxy, which in Europe is equipped with the Exynos 9810 (4 Mongoose M3 units at 2.7GHz and 4 Cortex-A55 units at 1.8GHz). In the United States the new Galaxy comes with the Snapdragon 845 (with Cortex-A75 and Cortex A-55 cores), so it uses more recent units than the Sony Xperia XZ2.

Passmark shows the performance of the RAM and internal memory. In this case the RAM of the P20 Pro is faster than the RAM of the Pixel 2 XL and Xperia XZ2, but isn’t faster than the new Galaxy. Its internal storage only exceeds the Pixel 2 XL’s, but not the internal storage of the latest flagships.

The Huawei P20 Pro's memory under stress

  Pixel 2 XL Sony Xperia XZ2 Galaxy S9+ Galaxy S9 Huawei P20 Pro
PassMark Memory
13836 12387 24164 24721 14091
PassMark Disk
47759 73208 67765 72538 64144

... but it doesn't disappoint in everyday use!

The presence of an older processor doesn’t limit the performance of the Huawei P20 Pro. The smartphone doesn’t give you any problems while gaming, multitasking and browsing. Everything runs smoothly. On some occasions, however, it does ‘jam’. This isn’t that limiting, and I think it has more to do with the software, which still isn’t in its final version, since this is a pre-production device.

Games load fast and the overall experience with the P20 Pro is good. Like the brand’s other smartphones, it shows how quickly it can scroll through screens, Facebook message boards, and move between apps.

The notch disappears with PUGB.  / © NextPit

If you’re worried about the notch when using certain apps or games, you can breathe a sigh of relief: your smartphone will automatically hide the notch with those games that don’t offer a good gaming experience with the notch. With Asphalt 8 and Real Racing 3, for example, the notch disappears. Lovers of Instagram Stories will be disappointed though, as the notch is still there and limits the visibility on the upper part of the screen, so it’s even difficult to edit stories with text.

What do you think of the results for the Huawei P20 Pro?

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Jessica Murgia

Jessica Murgia

Italian editor and Android lover: with her, all the most intimate secrets of Android will be revealed! Chronic traveler, a lover of good wine and good food, Jessica is crazy for shopping and passionate about technology! What's never missing in her bag? A book, an MP3 player, her Android smartphone and an external battery!

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  • 20
    Reg Joo Apr 12, 2018 Link to comment

    In every day use, I don't think there would be any noticeable difference in operation from this to any other flagship.