Huawei announced its first mid-range 5G mobile SoC, the Kirin 820 5G, earlier this week. The chipset made its debut on the HONOR 30S and will power the upcoming crop of affordable 5G phones from Huawei and its sub-brand HONOR.
While the Kirin 820 will be competing with the likes of Snapdragon 765 in the mid-range segment, HONOR President says Qualcomm's solution is no match for it. In an interview following the HONOR 30S launch event, Zhao Ming (also known as George Zhao), President at HONOR, said that Qualcomm has no direct competitor to the Kirin 820 5G as of now.
Zhao says the Kirin 820 is a mid to high-end SoC but its pricing means it won't be competing with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 in the flagship market. The latter delivers better performance but is significantly costlier too.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765 5G falls in Kirin 820's price range. However, the latter is better specced and theoretically is capable of better performance. Thus, Qualcomm doesn't have a product to compete with the Kirin 820 5G.
Kirin 820 5G is better specced than Snapdragon 765 5G
The Kirin 820 5G is based on a 7nm process technology, similar to Huawei's flagship Kirin 990 chipset. It also integrates the same Kirin ISP 5.0 and the Balong 5000 5G modem. This makes for an impressive offering given that the chipset will be powering 5G smartphones priced under $400.
While the Snapdragon 765 5G is also fabricated on a 7nm process, it lags behind the Kirin 820 5G in core configuration. It has two high-performance Cortex A76 cores while the Kirin 820 5G features four Cortex A76 cores.
The fastest A76 core on Qualcomm's solution is clocked at 2.3 GHz, with another Cortex A76 clocked at 2.2 GHz. It has six power-efficient Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 1.8 GHz.
The Kirin 820, on the other hand, has one Cortex A76 core clocked at 2.36GB, while the other three are clocked at 2.22GHz. The four power-efficient Cortex A55 cores are clocked at 1.84GHz.
With six Cortex A55 cores the Snapdragon 765G might be more power-efficient. However, the Kirin 820 5G is still a clear winner in the CPU performance. Huawei has also significantly improved GPU and AI performance on the Kirin 820 over last year's Kirin 810.
That said, Qualcomm doesn't really need to compete with the Kirin 820, or any of Huawei's chipsets at this point. The Kirin chips are OEM-specific and available only to Huawei and HONOR.
And given Huawei's current situation due to the US sanctions, its devices are in a difficult position in the market. The lack of Google Mobile Services mean those devices aren't finding many willing buyers.
Qualcomm's competition in the mid-range segment, if there's any, is with MediaTek's Dimensity 800. It is also a 7nm octa-core chipset with four Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 2.0GHz and four Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 2.0GHz too.