Early leaks of Huawei’s next flagship Kirin 1020 and midrange 820 chips are great


Their latest flagchip Kirin 990 (5G) launched mere months ago but Huawei’s Q3 2020 flagchip Kirin 1020, and its midrange and likely sooner brother Kirin 820, have dropped and feature great improvements.


Huawei has a strong history in the semiconductor industry with their own long series of excellent ‘HiSilicon’ mobile chips which they have used in their smartphones instead of purchasing processors from other companies like Qualcomm, and they launched their latest and greatest Kirin 990 (5G) flagchip in September with the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro.

Said Kirin 990 and its 5G variant were both designed on Samsung‘s currently latest 7nm EUV process and featured huge performance gains in AI and also featured an integrated 5G modem (in the slightly more powerful 5G variant), though Huawei did opt to utilise ARM‘s 2018 Cortex-A76 core architecture, previously featured in the Kirin 980, Snapdragon 855, and Exynos 9820, rather than ARM’s latest Cortex-A77 architecture over what Huawei claims were power consumption issues.

Huawei also launched a midrange Kirin 810 chipset earlier this year which was, on all accounts, a very powerful chipset which managed to slightly outperform Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 730 chipset on all fronts with more efficient power consumption.

Despite just how recent those chip launches are, though, leaks of Huawei’s next-gen 2020 flagchip Kirin 1020 and midrange Kirin 820 have sprung up and reveal a small but tantalising piece of info beyond the two chips’ names, being a few key specs of the 1020:

@RODENT950 has tipped that both the Kirin 1020 and Kirin 820 will be full 5G chips (with no 4G-only variants), and further and juicily leaked that the flagchip Kirin 1020 will use Qualcomm’s latest Cortex-A77 cores (though by Q3 2020 there will be newer, but unusuably early Cortex-A78 cores available) built on 5nm which will purportedly – and believably (architectural improvements plus lithographic improvements) – deliver nearly a 50% CPU performance improvement over the Kirin 990 5G.

Such a performance improvement would be a huge leap and would solidly put the Kirin 1020 in the mobile performance lead, ahead of the upcoming Snapdragon 865 and Exynos 990 which have each been officially announced to feature Cortex-A77 on 7nm EUV with a claimed ~20% performance improvement over the likes of the Kirin 990 5G.

Of course, it’s early days yet for Huawei’s next-gen chipsets; refinements are always possible as is the possibility of a dud leak (though I personally find these proposed specs very likely, and the >40% performance improvement believable), so we’ll have to stay tuned to learn more.

The Kirin 1020 and 820 sound great though.


Located in Melbourne, Australia, Oscar has been a tech enthusiast for a decade, though only finally getting his first smartphone with an HTC One M7, and moving to a OnePlus 2, OnePlus 3, and now an Essential Phone. Now studying astrophysics and linguistics, Oscar has become immersed in the evolving phone industry, with a great memory for specs and details, he is always looking to find the greatest value and most innovative phones.






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