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Huawei has just announced their brand new Kirin 960 chipset, and we’re more than happy to summarize it. Truth to be told, this is is a significant architectural update, but it’s not really groundbreaking. Let’s split this up with a TL;DR part where the key takeaway points are what most people care about, and the more detailed part for those who are curious. At the end, there’s a list of specs that further summarizes everything.

We’ve already explained before what’s a chipset and why it’s important, and you check it out right here!

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So far, the future of Huawei seems to be focusing on its dual-camera setup, while improving on the usual things. It’s good to see that there are actual hardware optimizations done towards dual-camera setups. Maybe soon, Huawei will make their own  Project Tango smartphone?


First off, let’s talk about what’s new. The Kirin 960 chipset is obviously Huawei’s flagship chipset, so it supports the latest and greatest hardware too. It includes:

  • Cortex-A73 CPU
  • Mali G71 GPU
  • UFS 2.1 storage
  • Vulkan graphics API
  • Brand new focus on dual-camera technology

Going through the entire wall of text that was sent to us by Huawei, here’s some key takeaway points regarding its raw performance:

  • 15% less CPU power consumption
  • Kirin 960’s 8-core GPU will have 180% increase in graphic performance
    • Consumes 20% less power
  • Able to run VR smoothly and render 2K videos at 90FPS
  • UFS 2.1 storage tested to have >150% encrypted read/write speed

Thanks to Kirin 960’s brand new i6 co-processor, its power efficiency has been drastically increased while main CPUs are asleep. According to Huawei, the co-processor managed to decrease 75% power consumption when running the pedestrian dead reckoning PDR algorithm, and 40% lower power consumption when counting steps. This is a huge improvement for fitness fellows.

The more detailed part

Since the Kirion 960 is “always on” thanks to its co-processor, some low-powered tasks like precision hardware geofence, GeoIP, context awareness, and the likes can be ran in the background without taxing the battery life much. This is very useful for games like Pokemon Go, which is heavily reliant on GPS. Huawei claims that GPS power consumption is reduced by 70% with the help of  low-powered GPS functionality.

On other side note, it seems like Huawei is keeping the P9’s technology alive and afloat high in the skies. The latest Kirin 960 chipset gives a whole new focus to the dual-camera technology. It now has hybrid autofocus as it is now able to “see like human’s eyes”, thanks to its stereoscopic vision. Also, it supports color-monochrome dual-camera real-time fusion processing now. It should be a lot faster, clearer, and less noise.

As for the audio driver though, HiSilicon Kirin 960’s Hi6403 audio chip has a few key takeaway points too:

  • Cutting-edge active noice cancellation technology
  • Noise floor reduced to -117dBV
  • Has a lower-power mode that saves 17-33% power
  • Supports 32-bit/192kHz and DSD format audio

In terms of security, the Kirin 960 now even aims to revolutionize the mobile payment security industry, as it has an integrated secure element (inSE). Huawei claims that this solution is comparable to software-based security solutions and standalone security chips. Its  credibility actually comes from the China Financial National Risking Authentication (CFNRA), and China Union Pay, as they have both approved in terms of mobile payment. The Kirin 960 is the first ever chipset to be approved by leading financial institutions.

List of specs

Kirin960 Specifications
CPU Architecture: 4 x A73 + 4 x A53 + i6 + HiSEC V100
GPU Mali G71 MP8
Support for Vulkan 1.0
Storage UFS 2.1
Communication Communication specifications DL 4CC/DL 2CC + 4 x 4 MIMO, Cat.12, peak download speed of 600
UL 2CC Cat.13, peak upload speed of 150 Mbps
Mode/Frequency band Global modem: GSM/UMTS/CDMA/TD-SCDMA/TD-LTE/LTE FDD, 330 MHz to 3.8 GHz frequency bands
Dual SIM Primary SIM + Secondary SIM: LTE + GSM, LTE + WCDMA, or more
Voice solutions High quality Audio 2.0 (includes HD Voice+, VoLTE and VoWiFi)
ISP 1.         Color-Monochrome Dual camera technology
2.         Hybrid focusing technology
3.         PrimISP 2.0
4.         4K video stabilization
Audio 1.         Smart audio solution Hi6403
2.         ANC active noise cancelling technology, reducing noise to -117 dBV
3.         Embedded dedicated audio DSP
4.         4. 32 bit/192 kHz and DSD lossless formats
Security Security Core HiSEC V100
Certification Given a security IC certificate by both the China Financial National Risking Authentication(CFNRA) and China Union Pay
Process TSMC 16 nm FinFET Plus

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