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The Honor 8 with the Kirin 950 offers power-packed performance

|November 15, 2016 |Android, Huawei, Mobile, Honor

"Here's a closer look at the processor powering the Honor 8"

When buying a new smartphone, good performance is the one aspect which no buyer is willing to compromise on. The processors working under the hoods of most smartphones these days carry either Qualcomm or MediaTek branding but those aren’t the only good options out there. Several manufacturers like Huawei, Honor, Apple, and Samsung make use of their own homebred chips which are often as fast as their Qualcomm counterparts or sometimes even faster. One such chip is the HiSilicon Kirin 950 processor which powers Honor’s latest flagship, the Honor 8 which intrigued us to take a closer look at the processor’s capabilities.

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Before we run any benchmarks and games on the Honor 8, let’s get the rest of the specs out of the way. The Honor 8 gets a healthy 4GB RAM unit aiding its Kirin 950 processor. The device sports a dual-camera setup at the back featuring two 12MP sensors similar to the ones found on the pricier Huawei P9. The camera performance of the device is stellar and if you would like to know more, make sure to check out our camera review of the Honor 8. Moving on, the smartphone features a fingerprint sensor below the camera module on the back and rocks a 5.2-inch full HD display. Embodied in a glass/metal build, the smartphone offers sufficient grip and a good in-hand feel when you hold the device. The Honor 8 runs Android 6.0 out-of-the-box with a skin of EMUI 4.1 on top.

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While the design and the presence of dual-cameras on the device is enough to send customers to Honor’s doorstep, the processing package on the smartphone is no joke either. The USP of the Kirin 950 processor is that it's not just about raw processing power but also about energy efficiency. Like most modern day mobile processors, the Kirin 950 SoC is based on big.LITTLE architecture, featuring four high-performance Cortex A72 cores clocked at 2.3GHz as well as four power-efficient Cortex A53 cores running at 1.8GHz each. Therefore, when the smartphone is subjected to light tasks, the power-saving Cortex A53 cores kick in and when a graphically-intensive app is launched on the smartphone, the high-performance Cortex A72 cores jump into the action. And that’s not all, as the HiSilicon chip also comes with a low-power, always-on i5 co-processor which works in the background and manages all the sensors such as an accelerometer, gyroscope etc. This not only increases the response time of the smartphone but also saves a lot of battery as the high-performance cores don’t have to be active to monitor these sensors.

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While that all sounds good in theory, how does the Honor 8 perform in real life? Well, we are glad that you asked, so here are some of the results of the benchmarks we ran on the device. Starting off with AnTuTu, the smartphone scored an impressive 91,708 on the app’s various 3D benchmarking scenarios. Moving on, the smartphone scored big on GeekBench 4 obliterating the fan-favourite OnePlus 3 and getting awfully close to the much more expensive Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge in multi-core and single-core tests. The Honor 8 scored 5,112 on the former and 1,737 on the latter while the Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge scored 1,806 on single core tests and 5,213 on multi-core which proves that the Honor 8 is a much better VFM device.

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Since many believe that benchmarks don’t paint the complete picture, we tested the device intensively with everyday tasks like multitasking between apps such as Snapchat and Whatsapp along with switching between multiple Google Chrome tabs and the Honor 8 handled everything like a champ. We switched the gears up a notch and tested some graphically-demanding games like Real Racing 3 and Badland 2, and you’ll be happy to know that the smartphone played those without a hitch as well.

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For a smartphone to perform well and not stutter with animations and other tasks, it is important for the hardware and the software to gel together. Since the homebred chips are designed by Huawei, they work extremely well with the software which the Honor smartphones ship with. We have been seeing how Apple devices with lesser processing cores and RAM outperform certain Android flagships and its good to see Huawei jumping into the mix too and giving users good performance at an affordable cost.



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