Huawei Kirin Cheating Extends to Geekbench, P20 Pro Tested

Subject: Processors, Mobile | September 9, 2018 - 04:50 PM |
Tagged: p20 pro, Kirin 970, Kirin, Huawei

This story first appeared on ShroutResearch.com.

Last week the gang at Anandtech posted a story discovering systematic cheating by Huawei in smartphone benchmarks. In its story, AT focused on 3DMark and GFXBench, looking at how the Chinese-based silicon and phone provider was artificially increasing benchmark scores to gain an advantage in its battles with other smartphone providers and SoC vendors like Qualcomm.

As a result of that testing, UL Benchmarks (who acquired Futuremark) delisted several Huawei smartphones from 3DMark, taking the artificial scores down from the leaderboards. This puts the existing device reviews in question while also pulling a cloud over the recently announced (and impressive sounding) Kirin 980 SoC meant to battle with the Snapdragon 845 and next-gen Qualcomm product. The Kirin 980 will be the first shipping processor to integrate high performance Arm Cortex-A76 cores, so the need to cheat on performance claims is questionable.

Just a day after this story broke, UL and Huawei released a joint statement that is, quite honestly, laughable.

"In the discussion, Huawei explained that its smartphones use an artificial intelligent resource scheduling mechanism. Because different scenarios have different resource needs, the latest Huawei handsets leverage innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence to optimize resource allocation in a way so that the hardware can demonstrate its capabilities to the fullest extent, while fulfilling user demands across all scenarios.

To somehow assert that any kind of AI processing is happening on Huawei devices that is responsible for the performance differences that Anandtech measured is at best naïve and at worst straight out lying. This criticism is aimed at both Huawei and UL Benchmarks – I would assume that a company with as much experience in performance evaluation would not succumb to this kind of messaging.

After that AT story was posted, I started talking with the team that builds Geekbench, one of the most widely used and respected benchmarks for processors on mobile devices and PCs. It provides a valuable resource of comparative performance and leaderboards. As it turns out, Huawei devices are exhibiting the same cheating behavior in this benchmark.

Below I have compiled results from Geekbench that were run by developer John Poole on a Huawei P20 Pro device powered by the Kirin 970 SoC. (Private app results, public app results.) To be clear: the public version is the application package as downloaded from the Google Play Store while the private version is a custom build he created to test against this behavior. It uses absolutely identical workloads and only renames the package and does basic string replacement in the application.

gb-single.png

gb-multi.png

gb-change.png

Clearly the Huawei P20 Pro is increasing performance on the public version of the Geekbench test and not on the private version, despite using identical workloads on both. In the single threaded tests, the total score is 6.5% lower with the largest outlier being in the memory performance sub-score, where the true result is 14.3% slower than the inaccurate public version result. Raw integer performance drops by 3.7% and floating-point performance falls by 5.6%.

The multi-threaded score differences are much more substantial. Floating point performance drops by 26% in the private version of Geekbench, taking a significant hit that would no doubt affect its placement in the leaderboards and reviews of flagship Android smartphones.

Overall, the performance of the Huawei P20 Pro is 6.5% slower in single threaded testing and 16.7% slower in multi-threaded testing when the artificial score inflation in place within the Huawei customized OS is removed. Despite claims to the contrary, and that somehow an AI system is being used to recognize specific user scenarios and improve performance, this is another data point to prove that Huawei was hoping to pull one over on the media and consumers with invalid performance comparisons.

icon.jpg

Some have asked me why this issue matters; if the hardware is clearly capable of performance like this, why should Huawei and HiSilicon not be able to present it that way? The higher performance results that 3DMark, GFXBench, and now Geekbench show are not indicative of the performance consumers get with their devices on real applications. The entire goal of benchmarks and reviews is to try to convey the experience a buyer would get for a smartphone, or anything else for that matter.

If Huawei wanted one of its devices to offer this level of performance in games and other applications, it could do so, but at the expense of other traits. Skin temperature, battery life, and device lifespan could all be impacted – something that would definitely affect the reviews and reception of a smartphone. Hence, the practice of cheating in an attempt to have the best of both.

The sad part about all of this is that Huawei’s flagship smartphones have been exceptional in nearly every way. Design, screen quality, camera integration, features; the Mate and P-series devices have been excellent representations of what an Android device can be. Unfortunately, for enthusiasts that follow the market, this situation will follow the company and cloud some of those positives.

Today’s data shows that the story of Huawei and benchmarks goes beyond just 3DMark and GFXBench. We will be watching this closely to see how Huawei responds and if any kinds of updates to existing hardware are distributed. And, as the release of Kirin 980 devices nears, you can be sure that testing and evaluation of these will get a more scrutinizing eye than ever.

Podcast #512 - Synology DS1618+, BitFenix 750W PSU, and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2018 - 04:06 PM |
Tagged: video, Threadripper, synology, skype, ryzen, podcast, P65, msi, logitech, Kirin 980, Huawei, g502, g305, falcon northwest, DS1618+, bitfenix, battlefield, amd, 2950x

PC Perspective Podcast #512 - 09/06/18

Join us this week for discussion on Synology DS1618+, BitFenix 750W PSU, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:11:50

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:02:45 Jeremy: Can’t afford RTX?
    2. 1:04:05 Josh: We love new SSDs!
    3. 1:06:50 Allyn: DarkSky.net (especially the app)
  4. Closing/outro
 
Source:

The Huawei defence; it ain't cheatin' if everyone does it!

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2018 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: Huawei, dirty pool, Honor Play, P20, performance mode

In a move reminiscent of the old Quack.exe debacle, Huawei has been caught enhancing benchmark results.  Their recent phones are able to detect a running benchmark and will switch to "Performance Mode" which uses "AI to optimize the performance of hardware, including the CPU, GPU and NPU" because everything has an AI in it now, apparently.  This would be much worse if not for two things, they are correct in stating that their local competitors do the same thing and they have agreed to allow users to access this Performance Mode on their own.  That will increase the performance of the phone but you can expect the battery life to plummet. 

If you are interested in diving deeper into this, you can check out that link to The Inquirer.

127768-v8-honor-play-mobile-phone-large-1.jpg

"Earlier this week, AnandTech revealed that the Chinese phonemaker has benchmark detection software installed on the Huawei P20, Honor Play, and possibly other devices packing its homegrown Kirin 970 processor, which makes the chip perform better by raising its power limit."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Huawei Announces Kirin 980: Is the World's First 7nm SoC Passing Snapdragon?

Subject: Processors, Mobile | September 2, 2018 - 11:45 AM |
Tagged: SoC, octa-core, mobile, Mali-G76, Kirin, Huawei, HiSilicon, gpu, cpu, Cortex-A76, arm, 8-core

Huawei has introduced their subsidiary HiSilicon’s newest mobile processor in the Kirin 980, which, along with Huawei's claim of the world's first commercial 7nm SoC, is the first SoC to use Arm Cortex A76 CPU cores and Arm’s Mali G76 GPU.

KIRIN_980.PNG

Image credit: The Verge

Huawei is aiming squarely at Qualcomm with this announcement, claiming better performance than a Snapdragon 845 during the presentation. One of its primary differences to the current Snapdragon is the composition of the Kirin 980’s eight CPU cores, notable as the usual 'big.LITTLE' Arm CPU core configuration for an octa-core design gives way to a revised organization with three groups, as illustrated by AnandTech here:

K980.png

Image credit: AnandTech

Of the four Cortex A76 cores just two are clocked up to maximize performance with certain applications such as gaming (and, likely, benchmarks) at 2.60 GHz, and the other two are used more generally as more efficient performance cores at 1.92 GHz. The remaining four A55 cores operate at 1.80 GHz, and are used for lower-performance tasks. A full breakdown of the CPU core configuration as well as slides from the event are available at AnandTech.

Huawei claims that the improved CPU in the Kirin 980 results in "75 percent more powerful and 58 percent more efficient compared to their previous generation" (the Kirin 970). This claim translates into what Huawei claims to be 37% better performance and 32% greater efficiency than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845.

980_SD.jpg

Image credit: AnandTech

The GPU also gets a much-needed lift this year from Arm's latest GPU, the Mali-G76, which features "new, wider execution engines with double the number of lanes" and "provides dramatic uplifts in both performance and efficiency for complex graphics and Machine Learning (ML) workloads", according to Arm.

mali_g76.jpg

Image credit: AnandTech

Real-world testing with shipping handsets is needed to verify Huawei's performance claims, of course. In fact, the results shown by Huawei at the presentation carry a this disclaimer, sourced from today’s press release:

"The specifications of Kirin 980 does not represent the specifications of the phone using this chip. All data and benchmark results are based on internal testing. Results may vary in different environments."

The upcoming Mate 20 from Huawei will be powered by this new Kirin 980 - and could very well provide results consistent with the full potential of the new chip - and that is set for an official launch on October 16.

The full press release is available after the break.

Source: AnandTech

Podcast #494 - Intel 8th Gen launch, Samsung Z-NAND, and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2018 - 12:11 PM |
Tagged: Z-NAND, video, Samsung, project trillium, podcast, p20 pro, nuc, msi, Lenovo, Jedi Challenges, Intel 8th Gen, Intel, Huawei, H370, gigabyte, fractal design, Bloody Gaming, asus, apple, adata

PC Perspective Podcast #494 - 04/05/18

Join us this week for Intel 8th Gen launch, Samsung Z-NAND, and more!!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:53:12

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. Alex: Altered Carbon Trilogy
  4. Closing/outro
Source:

Huawei Unveils Flagship P20 Pro Smartphone With AI-Powered Triple Leica Cameras

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 4, 2018 - 01:59 PM |
Tagged: smartphone, p20 pro, Oreo, Leica, Kirin 970, Huawei, android 8.1

Huawei recently unveiled a slew of new smartphones and its new flagship P20 Pro is quite impressive and is the first smartphone to pack three rear cameras with Leica optics. The Huawei P20 Pro measures 155 x 73.9 x 7.8mm, weighs in at 180 grams (0.0275 lbs), and comes in black, midnight blue, pink gold, or gradient twilight colors.

Huawei P20 Pro Kirin 970 Android 8 Smartphone.png

The P20 Pro is IP67 rated for dust and water resistance and features soft rounded edges and flat faces. The front of the smartphone is dominated by an edge-to-edge 6.1’ FullView OLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2440 (408 PPI). a fingerprint sensor sits below the display and is the only hardware button on the front fact. While there is a notch (that is smaller than the iPhone X’s), Huawei offers a setting that will turn off the top of the display to the left and right of the notch to hide it if the notch is too annoying to you. The notch in the display is where the front facing camera with 24.8 MP CMOS sensor is located (the camera can be used for facial recognition to unlock the phone). External I/O includes a single USB-C port on the bottom (there is no 3.5mm headphone jack but Huawei does include the USB-C to 3.5mm adapter).

Around back is where things get interesting as Huawei has managed to pack three Leica cameras as well as an LED flash into the top corner. The rear cameras can be used alone or in combination and offer various forms of autofocus and depth detection along with bokeh portrait modes, improved low light and long exposure performance, and AI-powered image stabilization, scene detection, camera settings, and shot composition assistance. That's quite the run-on sentence, but in fact the P20 Pro managed to obliterate the DxOMark benchmark with an overall score of 109, a photo score of 114, and a video score of 98 which is very impressive! The NPU-powered AI is trained to recognize 500 scenarios in 19 categories and is able to assist the user in taking fast motion shots as well as night shots without flash using long exposures even when handheld, and looking at some of the night photos DxOMark was able to get seems to show it works well. Other camera features include 4D predictive focus, up to 102400 ISO, 960 FPS 720p video, and a 5-time hybrid zoom. Phase Detection Auto Focus is used in the main sensor and the cameras also support laser focus, deep focus, and contrast focus. Huawei claims that its "super snapshot" mode allows users to go from off to taking a photo in as little as 0.3 seconds.

Huawei P20 Pro Smartphone Kirin 970.jpg

The three cameras include:

  • 20 MP Monochrome (1/2.78”) f/1.6 27mm equivalent
  • 40 MP RGB (1/1.73”) f/1.8 27mm equivalent (10 MP photos produced using quad bayer patterning)
  • 8 MP RGB (1/4.4”) f/2.4 80mm equivalent with optical image stabilization

Enough with the covers though, what's inside this smartphone? Well, Huawei has chosen the HiSilicon Kirin 970 SoC which features four ARM Cortex-A73 cores at 2.36 GHz, four Cortex-A53 cores at 1.8 GHz, a "micro core i7" NPU (neural processing unit), and Mali G72 MP12 graphics. The SoC looks to be somewhere between the Snapdragon 820 and Snapdragon 835 in performance (according to AnandTech) is paired with 6 GB of  RAM and 128 GB of flash storage. Connectivity includes NFC, GPS, and LTE (oddly, they don't list any Wi-Fi information on the specifications page) and the P20 Pro has the usual sensor compliment (e.g. gravity, proximity, ambient light, hall, gyroscope, compass, color temperature sensor). A 4,000 mAh battery with Huawei supercharging powers the device. As of the time of writing the Huawei P20 Pro comes with Android 8.1 Oreo for the operating system.

According to Hexus.net, the Huawei P20 Pro will be available across the pond in both dual and single SIM versions starting at £799 RRP (recommended retail price) which comes out to about $1,230.93 in US dollars for those curious. Needless to say, the Huawei P20 Pro isn't going to be cheap when (or if) it hits the US but at least you get a of hardware packed into it!

I am interested to see the reviews on this one though I just recently bought the LG V30 due to my G3 dying so I'll likely be holding onto it for as long as possible as well (heh). I can't lie that I'm a bit jealous of the camera though; guess I should have waited – my corgi photos could have been so much better! (haha) What are your thoughts on the Huawei flagship?

Source: Huawei

Podcast #491 - Intel Optane 800P, UltraWide Monitors, and more!

Subject: General Tech | March 15, 2018 - 09:07 AM |
Tagged: video, ultrawide, podcast, Optane, Intel, Huawei, GeForce Partner Program, FreeSync2, cts labs, caldigit

PC Perspective Podcast #491 - 03/14/18

Join us this week for discussion on Intel Optane 800P, UltraWide Monitors, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath,Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Jim Tanous

Program length: 1:34:30

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:25:45 Ryan: Basta ZMover
  4. Closing/outro
 
Source:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Huawei

A Snappy Budget Tablet

Huawei has been gaining steam. Even though they’re not yet a household name in the United States, they’ve been a major player in the Eastern markets with global ambitions. Today we’re looking at the MediaPad M3 Lite, a budget tablet with the kind of snappy performance and just better features that should make entry-level tablet buyers take notice.

Specifications

  • MSRP: $247.93
  • Size: 213.3mm (H) x 123.3 mm (W) x 7.5mm (D)
  • Color: White, Gold. Space Gray
  • Display:1920 x 1200 IPS
  • CPU: Qualcomm MSM8940, Octa-core
  • Operating System: Android 7.0/EMUI5.1
  • Memory: RAM+ROM 3GB+16GB (tested), 3GB+32GB, 4 GB+64 GB
  • Network: LTE CAT4/Wi-Fi 11ac 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz
  • GPS:Supports GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, and BDS.
  • Connectivity: USB 2.0, high-speed Features supported: charging, USB OTG, USB tethering, and MTP/PTP
  • Sensors: Gravity sensor, ambient light sensor, compass, gyroscope (only CPN-L09 support, CPN-W09 does not support)
  • Camera: Rear camera: 8 MP and auto focus Front camera: 8 MP and fixed focus
  • Audio: 2 Speakers+2 SmartPA Super Wide Sound (SWS) 3.0 sound effects, Harman Kardon tuning and certification
  • Video: Video file format: *.3gp, *.mp4, *.webm, *.mkv, .ts, .3g2, .flv, and .m4v,
  • Battery: 6600 mAh
  • In the Box: Charger, USB Cable, Eject tool, Quick start guide, Warranty card

1.jpg

The tablet arrives well-packed inside a small but sturdy box. I’ve got to say, I love the copper on white look they’ve gone with and wish they’d applied it to the tablet itself, which is white and silver. Inside the box is the tablet, charging brick with USB cable, a SIM eject tool, and warranty card. It’s a bit sparse, but at this price point is perfectly fine.

2.jpg

The tablet looks remarkably similar to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, only missing the touch controls on either side of the Home button and shifting the branding to the upper left. This isn’t a bad thing by any means but the resemblance is definitely striking. One notable difference is that the Home button isn’t actually a button at all but a touch sensor that doubles as the fingerprint sensor. 

3.jpg

The MediaPad M3 Lite comes in at 7.5mm, or just under 0.3”, thick. Virtually all of the name brand tablets I researched prior to this review are within 0.05” of each other, so Huawei’s offering is in line with what we would expect, if ever so slightly thinner.

Continue reading our review of the Huawei MediaPad M3 Lite 10!

Podcast #489 - Ryzen 5 2400G Compute, Thrustmaster TS-PC Wheel, and more!

Subject: General Tech | March 1, 2018 - 12:54 AM |
Tagged: western digital, video, TS-PC, thunderbolt 3, Thrustmaster, tekq, snapdragon 700, SN720, SN520, Samsung, Ryzen 5 2400G, qualcomm, podcast, logitech, Huawei, galaxy s9, g613, g603, bitmain

PC Perspective Podcast #489 - 03/01/18

Join us this week for Ryzen 5 2400G Compute, Thrustmaster TS-PC Wheel, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:29:41

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:20:45 Allyn: sfcable.com - for all of your oddball cable needs
    2. 1:24:05 Jeremy: Medeco³ High Security lock my donkey YOUR WHAT? Horse + mule
  4. Closing/outro
 
 
Source:

MWC 2018: Huawei Announces the MateBook X Pro Notebook

Subject: Mobile | February 25, 2018 - 10:49 AM |
Tagged: thin and light, notebook, mx150, MWC 2018, MWC, MateBook X Pro, matebook, laptop, Huawei

Huawei has introduced their new MateBook with the X Pro, an ultra slim design which features a nearly bezel-less 13.9-inch display that boasts a 91% screen-to-body ratio. More than just display, which is a 3:2 ratio 3K LTPS panel, the MateBook X Pro offers a choice between 8th-gen Intel Core i5 and Core i7 mobile processors, and the option of a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU.

MateBookXPro_0225.jpg

"Huawei has applied many of its innovative smartphone technologies to the HUAWEI MateBook X Pro to create effortless and intuitive user experiences. Pioneered by Huawei for the HUAWEI MateBook Series, the HUAWEI MateBook X Pro features the super-fast power button 2.0 which enables login in just 7.8 seconds from power off, and 6.6 seconds from hibernation. In addition, the HUAWEI MateBook X Pro features the world’s first recessed camera which discreetly sits on the keyboard – to activate it, all users need to do is press it and it will pop up, ensuring privacy when it’s not being used. This contributes greatly to the perfect experience of FullView Display."

huawei-matebook-x-pro-3k-display-2.jpg

While the look and especially name of the MateBook X Pro evokes memories of similar products from Cupertino, this seems to be more of a Surface Book competitor, down to the multi-touch 3:2 aspect, 3000x2000 display. A couple of the unique features are the combination power button/fingerprint reader, and a camera that is hidden among the function keys and pops up during use. Audio is also premium for a slim notebook with a four-speaker Dolby Atmos system.

huawei-matebook-x-pro-hidden-camera.jpg

A unique recessed camera design that pops up when needed

Specifications:

  • FullView Display
    • Size: 13.9 inches
    • Resolution: 3000 x 2000
    • Type: LTPS
    • Screen-to-body ratio: 91%
    • Aspect ratio: 3:2
    • Viewing angle: 178 degrees
    • Color: sRGB 100% color gamut
    • Contrast: 1500:1
    • Maximum brightness: 450 nits
    • Touchscreen: 10-point, anti-fingerprint
  • Processor: 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U / i5-8250U
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce MX150 with 2GB GDDR5 / Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • Memory 8GB / 16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz
  • Hard Drive: 256GB / 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4/5 GHz 2x2 MIMO
  • Bluetooth: BT 4.1 (compatible with 3.0 and 2.1+EDR)
  • Camera: Front 1MP
  • Audio Configuration: Quad digital microphones and Quad speakers
  • Battery Material: Lithium polymer 57.4Wh (Typical Capacity)
  • Local video playback: 12 hours (testing conducted by Huawei in a laboratory environment)
  • Buttons and Ports
    • One touch power button
    • 3.5mm stereo headset jack
    • USB-C x2 (both allow data transfer, charging and connection with MateDock 2 and one supports Thunderbolt 3)
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 304mm x 217mm x 14.6mm Weight: approximately 1.33kg
  • Colors: Mystic Silver and Space Gray

onetouch.jpg

The one touch power button with integrated fingerprint reader

The MateBook X Pro will be available this spring with pricing starting at €1499, or approximately $1850.

Source: Huawei