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Huawei Mate 8, Kirin 950, Cortex-A72 Benchmarks

Battery Life And Thermal Throttling

Battery life may be the most important performance metric for a mobile device. After all, it does not matter how quickly a phone or tablet can load webpages or how many frames per second the GPU can crank through once the battery runs down and the device shuts off. To learn more about how we test this critical facet of mobile computing, please read our battery testing methodology article.

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The PCMark system test estimates battery life using real-world workloads and reflects how long a phone can last while continuously working on common tasks. Kirin 950's improved power efficiency, combined with the Mate 8's big 4000mAh battery, helps it last 9 hours and 23 minutes, the longest of any device we've tested, edging out Samsung's Galaxy S6 edge+ at 523 minutes and Motorola's Moto G (3rd gen) at 507 minutes. This feat is made even more impressive by the Mate 8's chart-topping performance score. Our colleagues at AnandTech examined Kirin 950's power efficiency in greater detail, which helps explain the Mate 8's outstanding results in PCMark.

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The Mate 8 also does well in the GFXBench 3.0 battery test, which focuses on the GPU and is an indicator of battery life during intense gaming, lasting 3 hours and 45 minutes. We've seen a few devices last longer, but only because thermal throttling forced them to lower GPU frequency.

The Mate 8 exhibits good performance stability while gaming, staying within 94 percent of its peak performance over the first 30 minutes of T-Rex. After this we see the Mate 8 throttle back a bit, briefly reducing performance to 85 percent, but overall it's able to maintain near peak performance.

Looking at these results adds new context to HiSilicon's decision to use a quad-core GPU in the Kirin 950. By focusing on sustained performance rather than peak performance, a somewhat risky decision from a marketing standpoint, the Kirin 950 actually provides similar, if not better, performance after a few minutes of gameplay as compared to some other high-end SoCs, such as the Exynos 7420 or Snapdragon 810, at least when paired with a 1080p display like in the Mate 8.

  • ak47jar3d
    Kirin 950 unfortunately disappoints again on the gpu end. The six core snapdragon 808 does better.
    Reply
  • megamanxtreme
    The SD 820 does horrible on the battery life tests, as it doesn't show anywhere. :(
    Reply
  • Nintendork
    4gpu cores are simply too low for their flagship SOC. 6gpu cores would've been better.
    Reply
  • MobileEditor
    The SD 820 does horrible on the battery life tests, as it doesn't show anywhere. :(

    The only SD 820 device we've tested so far is the Qualcomm MDP, which is the company's own development hardware. Because we had less than two hours to complete our testing, we were not able to collect any battery life data.

    - Matt Humrick, Mobile Editor, Tom's Hardware
    Reply
  • Onus
    The non-removable battery is a dealbreaker. Only a fool pays $700 for a device that may only have a two year service life. As fast as this device-space changes, will it even be possible to get a battery replacement in two years?
    Reply
  • bit_user
    17348494 said:
    ...
    Great analysis -- I've been waiting for this. Thanks!
    :)

    BTW, how did HiSilicon & Huawei get way out front of everyone else on the A72? That's a story I'd like to read.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    17351759 said:
    As fast as this device-space changes, will it even be possible to get a battery replacement in two years?
    Sure, why not? A flagship phone will probably be sold on to another owner. It will still be fast enough in 2 years, and there would probably be enough of them to justify a small battery market.

    Plus, I've had no trouble getting replacement batteries for lots of discontinued things - laptops, cameras, MP3 players, to name a few.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    17348857 said:
    Kirin 950 unfortunately disappoints again on the gpu end. The six core snapdragon 808 does better.
    But I see it mainly as a test of the A72. True, Kirin made a bad call on the GPU, but there will be plenty of A72-based SoC's that'll have similar CPU performance to this and possibly different GPUs, so I don't see the GPU performance as such a problem.

    Now, the only piece missing from this picture is Samsung's Exynos 8890, with their custom Mongoose core.
    Reply
  • kenjitamura
    Does this company release the source code for their android products? Googling this company and open source shows that at least they seem to put some effort into contributing to open source software but couldn't find if that policy extends past their networking operations. If they do comply with the licenses and release source code I'll gladly consider their products but if they're a POS company like Mediatek then I want no part of it and hope they don't manage to penetrate the US market.

    Seriously, the single most important factor to buying an Android product is whether or not the company behind them actually complies with the license for using the software and it feels like most people don't even consider that. If the company stops maintaining the device a few months down the road, as is the case with 99% of android devices from china, then you'll find yourself SoL and left with no more security patches or platform upgrades.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml
    Impressive as it beats Mediatek. But a few months from now, Samsung and Qualcomm will release theirs which have better GPUs and image processing.
    Reply