Despite the statements of the firm, the figures do not deceive. The international version of the latest Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 mobile chip is said to be systematically more powerful than the model sold in Europe, and equipped with an Exynos 990 SoC.
Exynos 990 Soc processor vs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865
As Samsung fans know, the manufacturer has become accustomed to offering different variants of its flagship smartphones in different regions of the world. Thus, for several years, European versions of its latest flagships have systematically landed with the firm’s in-house SoCs, called Exynos.
On the latest Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 + and Galaxy S20 Ultra, we were thus entitled to an Exynos 990 SoC, the company’s latest mobile processor, while the United States had the right to a Snapdragon 865 SoC, last chip from the American founder Qualcomm.
Strangely, even in South Korea, the brand’s home country, Samsung generally prefers to integrate Qualcomm’s solutions, to the detriment of its in-house chip.
Galaxy S20: a less powerful European version?
Year after year, the question persists: is the European version with Exynos less efficient than the one equipped with Qualcomm’s latest SoC?
Samsung nevertheless assured that its in-house SoC fully competes with the Snapdragon 865 with our colleagues at SamMobile: “The Exynos and Snapdragon processors both undergo strict and rigorous testing protocols, based on actual use, with a view to providing optimal performance throughout the life of the smartphone. ”
But if Samsung tells us that there is no difference, the benchmarks speak for themselves: no, the Exynos 990 does not compete with the Snapdragon 865. Moreover, the difference would a priori be much more marked than that that we had imagined, according to our American colleagues at Anandtech. Equipped with both versions of the latest Galaxy S20 Ultra, they have carried out rigorous tests to compare their performance, and the American-made mobile chip has proven to be consistently more powerful. The Snapdragon 865 would thus have more or less 20% more performance compared to the Exynos 990, whether it is performance on the CPU or GPU side. The observation is therefore bitter: smartphones sold in Europe at the same price would be less powerful than those sold elsewhere in the world … Despite everything, if there is one point that turns to the advantage of the Exynos SoC, it is ‘autonomy. Thus, the European Galaxy S20 Ultra would be a bit more autonomous than the version equipped with a Qualcomm chip.
But if Qualcomm’s chips are more powerful than the Exynos, why does Samsung insist on offering them on its high-end products in Europe?
While some users would be delighted if all of Samsung’s smartphones would definitely switch to a Qualcomm SoC, these aren’t flawless. The Galaxy S6, for example, didn’t have any Exynos variants at the time, and it had experienced a number of issues that Samsung couldn’t fix due to lack of control over the design of its mobile chip. Also, 9To5Mac’s Ben Schoon recently said that the “Exynos processor gives Samsung negotiating power over Qualcomm”, which may prove to be enough to justify its use on its premium smartphones.