Earlier today, Huawei announced the Honor 5C affordable mid-ranger at an event in Beijing, China. The phone comes at an amazing price tag of just $138, which is pretty impressive. But along with this phone, the company also debuted the new Kirin 650 chipset, which will be the direct successor to the Kirin 620 chip which powered low-end devices of last year. Given that Huawei has come a long way as a smartphone chip maker, it’s time to look at what the Kirin 650 offers to us as consumers.
First of all, the major highlight of the new chip is that it is manufactured on an much more efficent node than competitors. The Huawei Kirin 650 is built on the 16nm FinFET plus process from TSMC, which is much better than the 28nm process used by rivals such as Helio X10 and even Snapdragon 616.
As for the specs of the chip, it comes with ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture with 4 x Cortex A53 cores clocked at 2.0GHz and 4 x Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.7GHz. Even in the GPU department, there’s an upgrade as compared to the previous generation. Now, it is using the Mali T830 MP2 dual-core GPU which is a big upgrade from last year’s Kirin 620. How big you ask? The company claims that in the CPU department, the new gen chip sees an improvement of 60% while in the GPU department, you’ll find 100% increase in performance.
The chip also comes with the i5 co-processor which aids the CPU in various tasks. The co-processor is low power consuming, and hence, handles some specific tasks much more efficiently. Then there’s the company’s self-developed ISP which helps adjust dynamic range and supports hybrid technology focus which reportedly helps take better pictures with your smartphone.
In addition, the Kirin 650 also comes with its own HiSEE security solution which helps in mobile payments, call encryption etc. It also features the new wireless chip Hi1102 which supports infrared, FM, GPS, Compass etc. So, it comes with standard connectivity features supported by most chips these days.
Despite its mid-range placement, Kirin 650 is still one of the important chips for the company now. This is because the chip comes with support for a wide number of networks, in other words, full netcom support. It should support all three major networks in China. Company reveals that the chip will come with support for TD-LTE / FDD-LTE / TD-SDCMA / WCDMA / GSM and even CDMA networks. Further, you get Cat. 7 LTE support with speeds of up to 300 Mbps. Then, there’s VoLTE support as well.
Interestingly, the Huawei 5C powered by this Kirin 650 chip actually doesn’t come with full netcom support. This came as a surprise given that the chip was capable, yet the phone was not provided support for the additional networks. Later, an analyst from China revealed that this was due to the need for software optimizations. He said that full netcom support could be added with just an update to the baseband in the future.
So, it looks like this will be the chip that will drive the low-end and mid-range segment of the company. We can expect the still unannounced Huawei P9 Lite to become the second phone with this chip on board.
In the recent leaked benchmark test of the Kirin 650, the chip scores lower than Helio X10, which was a bit disappointing. But let’s wait for some real life performance and benchmark tests of the chipset to make conclusions about this newly released SoC.