Yesterday, Samsung took the wraps off its new Exynos processor 8895 which has long been rumoured to be used in the International Galaxy S8 variants. The chipset is already under mass production since the Galaxy S8 might be unveiled on April 21st. The variant to be released in the USA will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, thnks to Qualcomm’s firm grasp on CDMA-related patents which make it rather compulsory for companies to release modified versions of their devices compatible with local bands, only solidifying Qualcomm’s monopoly in the USA.
While the two chipsets do have their differences, both are fairly similar in terms of regular performance, and the end-user can’t really tell the difference if he or she does not already know. However jumping into the nitty-gritty, lately Samsung’s Exynos flagship processors have proven to have a slight edge over Qualcomm. How do these chipsets featured on the Galaxy S8 fair against each other this year? Here’s a spec comparison table made by SamMobile
|Exynos 8895||Snapdragon 835|
|Process||10nm FinFET||10nm FinFET|
|CPU Cores||Octa-Core, 64-bit||Octa-Core, 64-bit|
|CPU||4 x 2.5GHz Exynos M2 + 4 x 1.7GHz Cortex-A53||4 x 2.45GHz Kryo 280 + 4 x 1.9GHz Kryo 280|
|GPU||ARM Mali-G71 MP20||Adreno 540|
|Display Resolution||4K UHD (4096 x 2160) or WQUXGA (3840 x 2400) 60FPS||4K UHD (4096 x 2160) 60FPS|
|Graphics API Support||OpenGL ES 3.2, Vulkan 1.0, OpenCL 2.0, DirectX 11, Renderscript||OpenGL ES 3.2, Vulkan 1.0, OpenCL 2.0, DirectX 12, Renderscript|
|RAM||LPDDR4X||2 x 32-bit LPDDR4X 1866MHz|
|Storage||eMMC 5.1, UFS 2.1, & SD 3.0||eMMC 5.1, UFS 2.1, & SD 3.0|
|ISP||Dual ISP||Dual ISP|
|Camera||28MP Single, 28MP+16MP Dual||32MP Single, 16MP Dual|
|Camera Technologies||Dual-Pixel, PDAF||Hybrid AF, Optical Zoom, Face Detection, HDR Video|
|Video Recording||Up to 4K @ 120FPS||Up to 4K @ 30FPS|
|Video Playback & Codecs||MFC, Up to 4K @ 120FPS; H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), VP9||Up to 4K @ 60FPS; H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), VP9|
|Audio||Unknown Chipset, Possibly with aptX||Qualcomm Aqstic, Qualcomm aptX HD|
|Modem||LTE Cat. 16 5CA 1Gbps Download; LTE Cat. 13 2CA 150Mbps Upload||LTE Cat. 16 4CA 1Gbps Download; LTE Cat. 13 2CA 150Mbps Upload|
|Wi-Fi||Dual-Band Wi-Fi ac/b/g/n with MU-MIMO||Wi-Fi ad, Dual-Band Wi-Fi ac/b/g/n with MU-MIMO|
|Global Positioning||GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou||GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS, SBAS|
|Security||Samsung KNOX, Security Processing Unit||Qualcomm Secure MSM, Qualcomm Haven, Qualcomm Studio Access, Qualcomm SafeSwitch|
|Charging||Samsung Adaptive Fast Charge, Fast Wireless Charging (Qi & PMA)||Quick Charge 4.0 (USB PD Compatible), WiPower|
Both processors feature an octa-core architecture, with four high- and four low-powered cores which get switched on depending on processor load. Both are manufactured by Samsung using the same 10nm FinFET process. There is only a slight difference between the frequency at which the cores run, however, that should hardly translate into any real world differences.
Even as the CPU becomes more and more powerful, there is an increasing pressure on manufacturers to further develop the graphics processing capabilities on their chipsets much thanks to the emergence of mobile VR. The snapdragon 835 has the Adreno 540 GPU which provides a 25% increase in performance over its predecessor Adreno 530.
However, Exynos 8895 takes the cake here with ease, at least on paper as its Mali-G71 GPU promises a 60% performance increase over the previous version. The Adreno 540 also supports DirectX12 API, while the Mali-G71 is limited to DirectX 11. Both support Vulkan 1.0, though, which is more important going forward.
The Exynos 8895 supports 4K video recording and playback at 120fps while its Qualcomm counterpart limits that 4K recording to 30fps and playback to 60fps. That’s a huge win already for Samsung’s processor but there’s more where that came from. While the Galaxy S8 has only 12MP dual cameras on the rear, the Snapdragon 835 supports a dual-16 MP rear shooter, while the Exynos 8895 ups that with a 16 plus 28 MP configuration. And then there is something that Samsung calls a “Vision Processing Unit” built into the exynos chipset that the company claims will improve the phone’s video tracking and object recognition capabilities.
Coming to audio, the Snapdragon chipset offers reduced power consumption and a feature you could call always-on microphones, which is used by the virtual assistants. I am not a fanboy of either, but I’ll say this, the fact that Exynos’ DSP hasn’t been detailed yet only sounds good for the Snapdragon right now.
The Snapdragon 835 uses Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 while the Exynos 8895 has Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charge, and will have different wireless charging standards as well. Qualcomm’s chip is locked down to Qualcomm’s WiPower while Samsung’s chip uses the QI and PMA standards. How these differences affect or do not affect the charging times though, we will have to wait and see.
Both chips support the Bluetooth 5.0 standard and offer support for Category 16 LTE, but the Exynos chip is limited to a dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, while the Snapdragon 835 comes with support for the latest Wi-Fi 802.11 ad (60GHz) standard, which means it can transmit data at speeds of 7Gbps, in theory.
Both the chipsets support the Iris scanning technology so you can be sure whichever variant you receive, the Iris Scanner will be there. The Snapdragon chip features Snapdragon Security which promises automatic malware detection and transaction authentication for mobile payments. The Exnos chip offeres similar features via its “dedicated security layer” and there is also a hardware crypto accelerator and a flash memory protector.
Overall, both the chipsets are still more or less identical and while the Exynos does seem to have an edge when it comes to the GPU and camera prowess, Qualcomm takes the cake in the connectivity department. Exynos chipsets have consistently in the past, provided a slightly better result than the Snapdragon and on paper that does seem like the case this year too.
Remember this is only in theory though and we should all probably know that while its fun to compare specs, the spec sheet does not always translate into real world performance. We’ll have to wait and see how the two S8 chipsets actually turn out to be when the device is in the hands of the consumers.