Every year, Samsung releases their galaxy flagship S-series phone in two variants – one based on the Snapdragon processor and another on the Samsung Exynos processor. Typically, both Exynos and Snapdragon variants perform similarly. But this year, with the Samsung S20 series, people have discovered significant differences between Exynos 990 and Snapdragon 865 variants.
Samsung needs to produce a massive amount of phones in a short amount of time. So to avoid supply chain issues, they rely on two different types of chipsets. The US, China, and South Korea usually get Snapdragon SoCs, while the rest of the world gets an Exynos variant with similar performance capabilities.
Issues with Exynos processor
The Samsung S20 series with Snapdragon 865 got excellent reviews from top tech YouTubers and journalists. But when reviews of the S20 series with Exynos 990 came out, things were a little different. Exynos 990 S20 series users noticed inferior gaming performance, battery life, and inferior camera performance compared to Snapdragon 865 variants.
According to Antutu benchmarks, Snapdragon 865 scores around 10% more than Samsung’s Exynos 990. That said, when we do heavy things like gaming, the latter overheats and causes thermal throttling, so Antutu scores become about 20% lower in some cases. In such a case, Snapdragon 865 variants can be said to be ahead of Exynos 990 variants by two generations.
Benchmarks are usually pushing the phone’s hardware to its limits, not reflecting the real-world performance. In everyday use, customers may notice the difference in three areas: gaming, battery life, and camera quality.
When we play a lightweight game, the performance difference is only noticeable after prolonged use. But when playing heavy games like PUBG at ultra settings, the FPS will always be below 50 FPS (40-45 FPS on average) compared to 55 FPS or above in Snapdragon variants. It can go below 40 FPS as well (around 37-38 FPS).
Even if you buy the midrange POCO X2, Realme 6 Pro, they will perform better in PUBG. If you are a gamer, stay away from Samsung Exynos flagships. Even Samsung’s offering S10 lite with SD855 performs much better in PUBG. Most game developers optimize their games for the Arduino GPU present in the snapdragon SoCs, which may be why this low FPS count in Exynos models.
2. Exynos vs Snapdragon battery life
Reviewers have said that there is a vast difference in terms of battery life too. Tech Youtuber Arun Maini (Mrwhosetheboss) reported a decrease of 40% in battery percentage than a 20% drop for precisely the same tasks in the Exynos 990 S20 Ultra.
3. Camera Performance.
Even though both variants of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra come with essentially the same camera hardware and software, the ISP (image signal processor) in the Exynos 990 variant is inferior to the one present in SD865. This makes switching between lenses in the camera app feel much smoother in the Snapdragon variant. The pictures coming out of Snapdragon variants have more detail, texture, and sharpness.
It has been easy to recommend Samsung flagships to anyone looking for ultimate Android flagships for a long time. This year, people from countries with Exynos 990 variants have received subpar performance from a phone that costs more than $1000. The gaming experience from these devices can’t match even $250 smartphones.
OneUI improved a lot in recent times, but Samsung is pushing ads and a lot of bloats in their $1000 phone in India is not an acceptable thing. So in our honest opinion going with the OnePlus 8 Pro or OPPO Find X2 series would be a better choice than the S20 series. They might be slightly worse at photos, but you can save a lot of money too with them.
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