Other than Apple, Qualcomm and Samsung are the major brands in the smartphone SoC market. Samsung makes the “Exynos series” as their flagship, while Qualcomm makes the “Snapdragon series.” The latest Exynos version is “Exynos 2100,” debuted in January 2021 inside the Galaxy S21 series. The latest Snapdragon series is “Snapdragon 888”, which was also launched in January 2021. Xiaomi Mi 11 is 1st phone to bear the chip. The fun fact is Samsung uses both these chips in their phones for different countries. Phones with Exynos processors are usually for Asian and European countries. In the US and China, they ship it with the latest Qualcomm processors. Now we come to think which processor might have the better performance! Let us make a comparison to answer the burning question is Exynos better than Snapdragon?
How do they differ? – is Exynos better than Snapdragon?
Before moving on to the comparison, users should clearly know one fact. That is, neither Samsung nor Qualcomm nor any smartphone company design their own processors from scratch!
They head over to ARM, AKA Advanced RISC Machines instead. ARM calls its processor cores “Cortex” and supplies them to Qualcomm and Samsung. Samsung modifies these basic chips and names them as “Mongoose.” Qualcomm names their modified version as “Kryo cores.” Therefore, you can see both these chips originate at the same place and slightly modifies by the consumer brand. But of course, both modified versions are a bit faster than the basic Cortex cores.
Exynos and Snapdragon are both 5nm chipsets. Their smaller node size upgrades the performance and reduces the power consumption in comparison to their predecessors. They also have ARM CPU cores in the same 1+3+4 arrangement and also possess built-in 5G modems.
Let us compare the specifications of the two processors in a nutshell:
- Node Size – 5nm in both chips
- CPU – Up to 4 x ARM Cortex for both. But Exynos has overall higher frequencies for all cortexes.
- GPU- Exynos’s GPU is Mali-G78 MP14 (14 cores), while that of Snapdragon’s is Adreno 660.
- AI engines – Both chips have AIs that support up to 26 Tops.
- Maximum On-Device Display – Both on-device displays feature 4K at 60Hz and QHD+ at 144Hz.
- Maximum External Display – Exynos support 8K while Snapdragon only support 4K at 60Hz
- Modem – Both have a Peak download speed of 7.35 Gbps. But Exynos has a higher Peak upload speed (3.67 Gbps) than Snapdragon (3 Gbps)
- Connectivity – Exynos has no precise description. But Snapdragon supports up to Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 up to 6GHz.
If the above information is too abbreviated for you, let us look at the features in a more detailed manner.
The previous Exynos series, “Exynos 1080,” was 21% slower than the existing Snapdragon 888. But Samsung made a leap when introducing Exynos 2100, making all of its CPU cores clocked pretty higher than those of the Snapdragon 888 processor. Therefore, the Exynos 2100 is the winner in this category. However, the two chips have the same CPU cores, and they have the same arrangement.
Both chipsets bear new GPUs that bring significant upgrades compared to their previous series. However, all of these chipsets have the same GPU, and their performance varies only due to the number of cores they bear.
The Exynos 2100 has 14 GPU cores, of course, four more than the Exynos 1080. But the Adreno 660 GPU inside the Snapdragon 888 has more than 24 cores in its GPU. Therefore, in this case, it is a win for Snapdragon 888.
But suppose you compare the previous versions of these chipsets. In that case, Exynos 1080’s GPU score will indeed surpass that of the Snapdragon 865 Plus. The Exynos 1080 has a GPU score of 239,408 points, while the Snapdragon 865 Plus has only 236,287 points. So, if you are having older versions of these series, the win goes to Exynos 1080.
These are just some paper comparisons of the most basic features. If you need a more detailed review, search deeper for comprehensive details such as game framerates and temperatures.
Well, we do not have a winner in this category. Yeah, it is a tie. Can you beleive that the Exynos 2100’s “triple-core NPU” boasts up to 26 TOPS (trillion operations per second) while the same figure Qualcomm applies for the Snapdragon 888’s “Hexagon 780”? Yes, it is!
The ISP in the Exynos 2100 has some fantastic features. It supports from 200MP cameras to 4K video recording at 120FPS. It also features 8K video playback at 60FPS, and users get a massive benefit when they record their precious memories. This chipset series is also the first in the industry to support the AV1 Decoder for 8K.
The Snapdragon 888’s Spectra 580, on the other hand, also gives fair competition. It supports 200MP cameras while having the ability to support 8K video capture at 30 FPS. Another plus is 4K HDR recording with computational HDR.
In this feature, the winner is up to you to decide depending on your requirement.
Both the manufacturers have designed their flagship processors to go with an integrated 5G modem. The two processors support mmWave and sub-6GHz spectrums as well. However, Samsung has not confirmed the type of Wi-Fi technology its new chipset supports. Apparently, it might use Wi-Fi 6, but we do not know if it has Wi-Fi 6E, which the Snapdragon 888 has. Suppose the Wi-Fi connectivity of Samsung is confirmed. In that case, we can come to a conclusion about the winner of this feature.
Samsung has done an excellent job with its chipset, and it has a more powerful CPU than the Snapdragon 888. Its ISP brings some significant improvements too. However, when it comes to GPU features, Qualcomm’s chipset has the advantage. Snapdragon has a splendid ISP also. Most of the other features are more or less similar for both flagships.
Based on the above comparisons, we will say the result is a tie! But as time passes, a real-world comparison of devices powered by these two chipsets will show us which chipset is better overall. Therefore, keep yourself updated with the user reviews for a practical conclusion.