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Huawei’s got a free way of turning your phone into a monster gaming machine

By Andy Boxall


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Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei has seen gaming-centric phones from Razer and Asus, and has its own ideas about what will make the new generation of mobile gamers flock to its smartphones, and for a change, it doesn’t involve buying a new model. Games rely on the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to perform well, and Huawei has a software update coming that will boost the efficiency of the GPU by 60 percent and cut down battery consumption by 30 percent. The cost to you, Huawei phone owner? Zero. Excellent news.

It’s called GPU Turbo, and boosting the GPU’s ability means even mid-range phones will be able to run complex mobile games at a higher frame rate, and with all those flashy HDR+ visual effects switched on. Huawei even believes some of the Honor phones with simple GPUs will be able to outperform phones with stronger GPUs. What’s more, the GPU Turbo will also support augmented and virtual reality applications in the future, presumably if they’re specifically coded for compatible devices.

How does this magic work? Huawei’s not giving away many of its trade secrets, but it uses hardware-software acceleration in the GPU, in a similar way to how Google fine-tuned the software ahead of activating the Visual Core chip in the Pixel 2. Huawei has long spoken about how much it spends on research and development, plus how tweaks inside its EMUI user interface keep Android running faster for longer. That it has found a way to make the gaming experience better on many phones through software alone shouldn’t be a surprise.

Software updates

The GPU Turbo update is free and makes your phone better at playing games, so is there a downside? No, because Huawei’s committed to delivering the software update to a wide range of current phones from both it and sub-brand Honor. In August, the Huawei P20, P20 Pro, Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, and Mate RS are scheduled to receive the GPU Turbo update. In September, the P20 Lite will join them, along with the Mate 9, Mate 9 Pro, the P10, and the P10 Plus.

The Honor 10 should also see the update arrive in August. In China, a special edition of the Honor 10 called the Honor 10 GT has been released with the software already in place. In September the Honor 9, Honor 7X, and the Honor View 10 should benefit from the GPU Turbo software. Other phones for September include the Honor 8 Pro, the Honor 9 Lite, the Huawei Y9, Huawei P Smart, and the Mate 10 Lite.

Software update schedules are notorious for last-minute changes, so take all these dates as very approximate. Just because it says August, don’t expect it to be August 1, as it may be more like August 31. We also expect some future Huawei and Honor phones to have the GPU Turbo software installed on release. We’ll keep you updated with news of the update’s progress here.


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