Apple recently introduced the iPhone 11 trio and Apple A13 chip simultaneously. This is according to Apple spokesperson, the fastest chipset on any smartphone. A few days back, Huawei had introduced its new SoC series named Kirin 990, which includes a regular 4G LTE variant and a fully 5G focussed mobile platform. Needless to say, Qualcomm is the market leader in the semiconductor industry. Therefore, we can’t forget its flagship SoC Snapdragon 855 Plus, if we are comparing the best chipsets available at present.
Unarguably, all three are mighty processors and fully capable of performing all kinds of essential tasks. There should be no issue running any app on smartphones powered by these chipsets. These tiar-1 SoCs hold on the world’s powerful and best-performing devices in the works. In the meantime, we will also compare the Apple A13 with its predecessor A12 Bionic chip, to find out how this one is different from the older one. All in all, we will be comparing Apple A13 Bionic vs A12 vs Kirin 990 5G vs Snapdragon 855+. Without any doubt, let’s start a full in-depth comparison.
Apple A13 Bionic vs A12 vs Kirin 990 5G vs Snapdragon 855 Plus Specs Comparison
|Apple A13 Bionic||Apple A12 Bionic||Kirin 990 5G||Snapdragon 855 Plus|
|CPU||Dual-cluster hexa-core (2x Lightning cores @2.66 GHz
4x Thunder efficiency cores)
|Dual-cluster hexa-core (2x Vortex cores @2.49 GHz
4x Tempest efficiency cores)
|Tri-cluster octa-core (2 x Cortex-A76 cores @2.86GHz
2x Cortex-A76 cores @2.36GHz
4x Cortex-A55 cores @1.95GHz)
|Tri-cluster octa-core (1x Kryo 485 @2.96 GHz
3x Kryo 485 @2.42 GHz
4x Kryo 485 @1.78 GHz)
|GPU||Apple-designed quad-core||Apple-designed quad-core||Mali-G76MP16, 700MHz||Adreno 640, 700MHz|
|Process||TSMS 7nm+||TSMS 7nm||TSMS 7NM+ EUV||TSMS 7nm|
|NPU||octa-core Neural Engine||octa-core Neural Engine||2 + 1 Da Vinci (three cores)||Qualcomm Hexagon 690|
|Modem||LTE||LTE||Integrated Balong 5G
D/L Speed 2.3 Gbps
U/L Speed 1.25 Gbps
|Snapdragon X50 external 5G
D/L speed 2 Gbps
U/L speed 316 Mbps
|Transistor||8.5 billion||6.9 billion||10.3 billion||N/A|
|Antutu||N/A||3,63,580 points (v7)||4,62,098 points (v7)||- 3,96,813 points (v7)
- 4,97,179 point (v8)
|ISP||Apple-designed ISP||Apple-designed ISP||ISP 5.0||Spectra 380 dual-core ISP|
Hardware and Performance
The Apple A13 bionic uses Hexa-core CPU with two powerful Lightning cores point @2.66GHz, and there are four efficiency cores called Thunder. In comparison, Apple A12 is also powered by the dual-cluster Hexa-core CPU, which arrives with 2x Vortex cores @2.49 GHz and 4x Tempest power efficiency cores. The company claims to deliver 20% faster CPU speed and 30% more power efficiency.
On the other hand, Kirin 990 5G comes with a tri-cluster octa-core CPU. Two powerful Cortex-A76 cores clock @2.86GHz followed by another 2x Cortex-A76 cores @2.36GHz and 4x Cortex-A55 cores @1.95GHz. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus has another tri-cluster CPU but with a different kind of architecture use. It has custom Kryo 485 (Cortex-A76) cores with one powerful cluster clocked @2.96 GHz, the other three (A76) arrive with 2.42 GHz clock speed, and 4x power efficient Kryo 485 (A55) cores remain @1.78 GHz.
On paper, it shows the dominance of Snapdragon 855+ and Kirin 990 chipsets. But real-world performance tests show a different story. Apple is known for its significant optimizations, whether it is the software part or hardware. Last year, Apple A12 was one of the fastest chipset used on any smartphone, and this year, you can see the dominance of Apple A13. Surprisingly, A12 still beats the 2019 flagship processors. It lacks some advancements made by the Snapdragon 855+ and Kirin 990 5G.
Besides, Apple A13 uses the second generation TSMS 7nm+ node. Both Apple A12 and Snapdragon 855+ plus are manufactured on the first generation TSMS 7nm process. Lastly, the Kirin 990 5G chip brings the more advanced 7nm+ EUV node by TSMS. Looking at Apple’s past track record, power efficiency and performance should be superior to the other three; still, Kirin 990 5G secures the 2nd place.
Moving to the GPU, the Apple A13 sticks to the own-designed quad-core GPU, as we have seen on A12. But the generation gap saw a lot of improvements over the A12 Bionic chip. If we believe in Apple’s claim, it delivers a 20% faster speed and 40% excellent power efficiency over the A12’s GPU. Moreover, Kirin 990 adopts Mali-G76MP16, which is 16 cores GPU. But we were surprised to see why the company didn’t use the latest Mali-G77, same with CPU architecture. ARM’s latest Cortex-A77 cores combine with Mali-G77, which Huawei denied utterly.
Finally, the Snapdragon 855+ comes with the latest Adreno 640 GPU, which has also seen some significant improvements over its predecessor. As of now, we don’t have any data to compare, but we are expecting Apple A13 Bionic to take the lead on the other two.
Both Apple A12 and A13 Bionic bring the octa-core Neural Engine to handle the AI tasks. But A13 is way more advanced compared to A12. It is capable of performing up to a whopping 1 trillion tasks in 1 second, which is even lower than Apple’s last year’s claim of 5 trillion operations at the same time.
Apple promises to deliver a 20% faster speed and 15% more power efficiency. Apple reportedly plans to push Deep Fusion technology via a software update, which is Apple’s version of HDR10+. It takes four photos before pressing the shutter, and the other 4 when you do and then one long exposure. Then it picks the best shots and combines them all.
The Snapdragon 855+ has its own Hexagon 690 quad-core AI engine combined with a dedicated tensor accelerator. It gives the chipset advanced machine learning performance. Some notable advantages provided by the Qualcomm NPU are scene detection, text recognition, super resolutions in snapshots, face authentication, dual and single-camera bokeh.
The NPU is well capable of running up to 7 trillion AI tasks per second by making it one of the most exceptional AI engine. It also supports some popular frameworks, including TensorFlow by Google, Facebook’s Caffe 2, and the Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX).
Lastly, the Kirin 990 5G has three-cores Da Vinci NPU divided into 2 Big + 1 Tiny core. The bigger cores are present for demanding high power tasks, while a tiny power efficiently core handles the small AI tasks. It can render real-time videos based on the new Real-Time Multi-Instance Segmentation.
All three are designed for heavy AI tasks in an era where AI’s importance can’t be neglected. Indeed, AI is the future of the tech industry, and all three are moving in the right direction. Indeed, AI will leave a significant impact on battery performance and camera optimizations.
Antutu-Geekbench Benchmark Scores
The Apple A13 Bionic processor scores 5,472 points in single-core and 13,769 points in multi-core results on Geekbench. The A12 managed to score 4,812 points for single-core and 11,280 points in multi-core. The Snapdragon 855+ results in 3,623 points in single-core and 11,365 points in multi-core. Apart from that, Kirin 990 5G scores 3,851 points for single-core and 12,638 points for multi-core on Geekbench.
Overall, Apple A13 takes the lead on all other tested SoCs and significantly beats in the single-core results and multi-core both. It is interesting to see, Apple A12 beats Snapdragon 855+ with a considerable margin in the single-core results, and A13 even is superior to A12. All in all, Apple A13 is the best scoring chip on any smartphone of 2019 flagships.
The Snapdragon 855+ scores nearly 4,00,000 points in Antutu v7 benchmark test. The Apple A12, on the other hand, scores almost 3,65,00 points on the same platform. In comparison, Apple A13 Bionic takes the lead on Snapdragon 855 Plus in the latest test. It comprehensively beat the competition with 4,62,098 points. Remember that we have included Antutu v7 results for a fair comparison. Otherwise, Antutu v8 delivers way more points. Apart from that, Kirin 990 5G Antutu scores are not yet updated, which we will cover later.
As we expected, Apple A13 takes a healthy lead on its competitors. These benchmark scores are losing credibility after we heard some manipulation incidents. Therefore, you can take these scores as a reference, and we wouldn’t advise you to judge any device blindly basis on the benchmark scores.
Final Conclusion – Which one is better?
Although these are initial impressions of Apple A13 and Kirin 990 chipset, we can’t conclude. Overall, Apple A13 seems to be promising to beat other chipsets around the world. Qualcomm’s best is yet to come with Snapdragon 865, which is rumored to have some worthy upgrades over the Snapdragon 855+. On the other hand, Kirin 990 chipset yet be tested its real-world performance. We will be updating the article as soon as we get the hands-on Mate 30 series.
Looking at the current scenario and Apple’s past track record, we can say that Apple A13 is the winner. It is the world’s fastest mobile processor, according to Apple’s claim, which I also believe to be true. Even Apple A12 is still a mighty chip, but Snapdragon 855+ and Kirin 990 5G get some advancements to beat the competition.
Besides, SD 855+ and Kirin 990 have 5G support, which Apple’s chips are lacking entirely. In the era where companies are rushing towards the 5G, Apple doesn’t want to be part of the mass. Next year, Apple would be planning for 5G phones, but this year it didn’t happen as we expected. 5G needs to evolve a lot before it reaches a broad audience.
The Kirin 990 5G chip uses an integrated 5G modem to make the chip smaller and power-efficient. It can produce up to 2.3 Gbps downlink and 1.25 Gbps uplink speeds. On the other hand, Snapdragon 855+ has an external X50 5G modem, which can go as high as 2 Gbps for download and 316 Mbps upload speed. In comparison, Kirin 990 5G looks a better choice when it comes to faster connectivity. What are your thoughts? Do let’s know in below comment section!