A month ago, Qualcomm renewed its mid-range chipset series with the inclusion of two new processors: the Snapdragon 730 and the 730G. But what can the new Snapdragon 730 offer us? We must remember that one of the leaders in this segment is the Snapdragon 660. Since it was included in the Xiaomi Mi A2, it has become the most popular processor for mid-range smartphones. On the other hand, we have its strong competitor, the HiSilicon Kirin 970, a chipset designed to reduce costs while offering quality. To check which provides the best features and performance for this 2019, here we bring you the Snapdragon 730 vs Kirin 970 vs Snapdragon 660 comparison.
Let’s start with the manufacturing process of the three chipsets. Small semiconductors provide better performance and reduced power consumption. So, chipsets with a higher number of transistors, semiconductor components of electronic devices, offer more computational power. Based on this, Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 is manufactured with an LPN node of 14nm, followed by the HiSilicon Kirin 970 with a 10nm and finally, we have the winner in this category, the new Snapdragon 730 has an 8nm process technology. They all have a 64-bit architecture CPU.
Kirin 970 processor is made up of octa-core: 4 x Cortex-A73 at 2.4 GHz high performance, and 4 x Cortex-A53 at 1.8 GHz energy saving. The Snapdragon 660 is also an octa-core chipset but it has a Kryo 260 CPU. Their cores are distributed in the following way: 4 main cores to 2.2GHz and 4 secondaries cores at 1.84GHz clock speed. While Snapdragon 730 arrives with Kryo 470 octa-core that works at a CPU clock speed up to 2.2 GHz: 2x up to 2.2 GHz and 6x up to 1.8GHz.
Theoretically, Snapdragon 660 and Kirin 730 have a CPU performance quite similar, also emphasizing energy savings. The first one is the first Qualcomm mid-range processor to assemble Kryo cores, incorporating key features. However, the one that really incorporates key aspects, that every user wants to see improved to a greater extent on their smartphone, is the new Snapdragon 730, fueled by the 4th generation Qualcomm AI Engine.
AnTuTu Score Comparison
The AnTuTu benchmark measures how a phone behaves based on multiple factors, showing how much raw performance its processor can provide. But it does not necessarily fully describe the user’s performance and experience. For better results, it is better to test the smartphone. However, it is a reference to determine how good the chipset’s performance is. Here we have the scores of each SoC:
In the Kirin 970 SoC, the score varies with a minimum of approximately 173,757 and a maximum of 207,777 points. However, the result in the new Snapdragon 730 chipset has achieved a score of 207.082 points, but we do not know if it is its maximum score or not. Finally, we have the weakest in this segment, although the Snapdragon 660 had an emblematic increase over previous generations, today is the one with the lowest score in the AnTuTu tests with a maximum score of 120,479 points and a minimum of 105,973.
The improvements in the gaming section on the Snapdragon 730 come hand in hand with the Qualcomm Adreno 618 GPU with 700MHz frequency. It allows optimizing quality and autonomy with OpenCL 2.0 FP, Vulkan 1.1, OpenGL ES 3.2 and DX12. All the improvements, together with the CPU Kryo 470, will offer the user an increase in the overall performance of up to 35% compared to the previous generation.
Snapdragon 660 comes with the Adreno 512 GPU GPU. This is already a bit obsolete, it is for this reason that Qualcomm has released the Adreno 6xx series which is what we see in the new Snapdragon 730 processor. Meanwhile, for the Kirin 970, Huawei has used a very powerful Mali G72 MP12 GPU with a maximum frequency of 850MHz. Between these two, users agree that the game performance is much better in Kirin 970.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 powers intelligent on-device experiences for camera, gaming, and performance. The 14-bit Qualcomm Spectra 350 ISP features the Computer Vision (CV-ISP) to bring brand-new camera capabilities. It also captures photos and videos in HEIF format, document life from multiple angles and store at half the size. It has support for a dual camera up to 22 MP and simple cameras up to 36 MP with MFNR, ZSL, 30fps. But we can also mount 48 MP if we only need noise reduction (MFNR). And if we leave aside all these features, it has support for a single camera of up to 192 MP. In case, the Qualcomm Hexagon 688 is the Digital Signal Processor included for all the AI power with a lot of capabilities.
Among its connectivity options, we have WiFi 6, in addition to WiFi 5 and WiFi 4, MU-MIMO to add up to four channels and increase speed. The Snapdragon 730 is equipped with a Snapdragon X15 modem, with 4G up to 800Mbps download and LTE Category 13 to 150Mbps upload. We will have classic supports such as NFC, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0, as well as Quick Charge 4+ quick charge.
When it was released, the Snapdragon 660 was designed to perform supporting AI on-device, advanced photography and enhanced gaming, in addition to long battery life and fast LTE speeds. All these thanks to the 14-bit Qualcomm Spectra 160 ISP, engineered to support the capture of up to 25 MP with zero shutter lag. And the Hexagon 680 DSP included was designed to significantly improve performance and battery life, but with less AI capabilities than newer DSP’s.
The first connectivity feature of Snapdragon 660 is X12 Modem with LTE CAT 12 to give download speed up to 600Mbps and CAT 13 to give 150 Mbps upload speed. In addition, it integrates 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 and RF front end technologies.
With the dual ISP, the Kirin 970 offers improved photography performance. It provides system optimization and improvement in instant photography and night scenes. With dedicated face detection hardware, it is able to capture information more accurately, making portrait photographs more natural. We do not know the maximum MP that it supports but there are Huawei smartphones with the Kirin 970 equipped with triple cameras and a main sensor of 40MP. So, we are sure that the capacity is quite broad.
The Kirin 970 integrated a Neural Processing Unit for the first time. The neural-network processing unit (NPU) delivered an improvement in AI performance density. And it has a powerful LTE modem supporting category 18 capable of reaching a maximum downlink of 1.2 Gbps and 150Mbps upload speed. Finally, the Kirin 970 is the first to put dual-card dual-4G dual-VoLTE technology into commercial use. Other features are Dual-Band Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS and Bluetooth 4.2.
In this comparison, the Snapdragon 730 slight as the winner, and it stands a little bit from the other two competitors thanks to all the improvements that were included. We are almost sure that it will be used in the next smartphones in the mid-range section and will be crowned as one as the favorite.
It has been more than a year since the launch of the Kirin 970 and the Snapdragon 660, and although they still offer excellent performance, the reality is that technology becomes obsessed very quickly. Even so, the Kirin 970 continues to stand out and is a worthy competitor, but the Snapdragon 660 will be easily replaced.