Kirin 710 vs Snapdragon 660 – Which is Better
Mid-range Android phones are selling really well all over the world due to their great mix of affordability and functionality. What defines every recent mobile phone’s power and efficiency is its chipset. One of the more popular chipsets is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon (SD) 660, a powerful system-on-a-chip (SoC) that is part of an affordable SoC series, the Snapdragon 600.
Its popularity captured Huawei’s attention enough to make them release the HiSilicon Kirin 710 over a year later. Is this Huawei’s response enough to outmatch the mighty Snapdragon 660? We’re about to find out.
The first noticeable difference is related to the manufacturing process. While the Snapdragon 660 uses a somewhat old 14-nm technology (just like the Samsung processors), the Kirin 710 uses a more current 12-nm process.
The CPU configuration is another major difference between the two chipsets. The Snapdragon 660 relies on its own Kryo 260 CPU. This Kryo CPU has four high-performance cores clocked at 2.2 GHz and four high-efficiency cores clocked at 1.7 GHz. The former are semi-custom ARM Cortex-A73 cores, while the latter are semi-custom ARM Cortex-A53 cores.
As you can see, the only real difference between the two CPUs is that the Kirin relies on the usual ARM Cortex-A73 and A53 cores. The SD is in the lead here as it has custom cores, which have advantages of their own, mostly related to the performance and power efficiency.
The Kirin 710 made a visible improvement over its predecessor, the Kirin 659. Its ARM Mali-G51 MP4 GPU is certainly better than the 659’s GPU, but it falls hard in comparison to the Snapdragon 660’s Adreno 512 GPU.
Both GPUs have added gaming enhancements. The Adreno 512 has the Vulkan API (application programming interface) support. The Vulkan API, which improves the graphics, might have forced Huawei to come up with a gaming enhancement of their own.
Huawei has thus started bundling their SoCs with GPU Turbo. This feature boosts gaming performance by clearing all the performance barriers between the software and the phone’s GPU.
Not much is known about these chipsets’ display characteristics. However, it is known that the Kirin has a maximum supported resolution of 2340×1080 pixels (Full HD+), while the Snapdragon’s upper limit is even bigger at 2560×1200 pixels, which is a WQXGA (Wide Quad Extended Graphics Array) resolution.
The Kirin’s creators seem to be shy about sharing camera-related information, but the same cannot be said of Qualcomm. The Snapdragon 660 can support a single camera with a resolution that does not exceed 25 megapixels. In case of two camera lenses, the resolution can’t go over the 16 MP mark.
Qualcomm even has additional photo-taking features such as Qualcomm Clear Sight, which helps capture more light in photos, as well as the Spectra 160 ISP (image signal processor) chip, which improves the color reproduction, prevents shutter lag, and makes the autofocus faster.
The SD 660 has an advantage, especially in photos with adequate lighting, but it never hurts to check the actual smartphone’s photo-capturing abilities. Ultimately, that is more important for taking high-quality photos than the chipset model.
Artificial Intelligence Support
The Snapdragon supports Qualcomm’s software development kit (SDK) called Neural Processing Engine (NPE). It works with AI framework like the TensorFlow to enable more advanced functions such as scene recognition, phrase identification, word matching, etc.
The Kirin doesn’t have its own neural processing engine, but it can use both the GPU and the CPU to gain additional functions such as face unlock, scene recognition, improving the quality of photos taken in low-light environments, etc.
Announcing the Winner
Performance-wise, the Kirin 710 and the Snapdragon 660 are similar at first look and have mostly similar benchmark results. However, that completely turns around after comparing the GPU performances. The Snapdragon 660 is the clear winner when it comes to power, while the 710 is good on efficiency and is a solid choice if you prefer Huawei smartphones.
Which chipset are you using? Are you planning on swapping it for one of these? Share your thoughts in the comments below.