Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Snapdragon 820 vs Exynos 8890: the beasts clash


The Galaxy Note 7 is finally out and, as always, it's among the best, most productive Android phablets one can buy. And while Sammy didn't go crazy with the amount of RAM, a-la OnePlus 3, the new Note is still considered one of the most powerful smartphones out there.

Now, if this isn't your first rodeo, you probably know that Samsung tends to release its flagships in two variants – one powered by a Qualcomm-made SoC, usually for the US market, and one powered by Sammy's home-brewed Exynos chipset for everywhere else. In the case of the Note 7, we have the Snapdragon 820 on US-bound units and the powerful Exynos 8890 for the international variant. If that sounds familiar, here's a hint: the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge that launched earlier this year are available in variants with the same two chipsets.

Fun fact: Qualcomm developed the Snapdragon 820 in collaboration with Samsung, and Sammy even produces at least a part of the chips. But this doesn't mean that it is a carbon copy of the Exynos 8890. In fact, here are the differences between the two:

Qualcomm Snapdragon 820Samsung Exynos 8890
CPUQuad-core (Kryo)
Clock speed: up to 2.15 GHz
Octa-core (Samsung M1 + Cortex A53)
Clock speed: up to 2.15 GHz
GPUAdreno 530
Core speed: 624 MHz
Mali-T880 MP12
Core speed: 650 MHz
MemoryDual-channel LPDDR4
Speed: 1866 MHz
Dual-channel LPDDR4
Speed: 1794 MHz

A quad-core vs an octa-core? Yes, it's a bit hard to imagine that Samsung would be able to pull that off without some discrepancies between the Snapdragon and the Exynos editions' performances, so — of course — you are probably wondering whether there are some major differences in performance.

Well, we've got you covered, as we ran our go-to benchmarks on both the European and US variants of the Note 7. All tests were ran three times and the scores below are the average from each run. Here are the results:

A mixed bag of results


There is no doubt that the two chipsets are among the most powerful on the market, and we expected some great scores from both. What we didn't expect to see, however, was the huge difference gap in AnTuTu and Vellamo Metal — the Snapdragon 820 absolutely crushed the Exynos 8890 in both of these CPU-heavy benches. However, moving on to Vellamo Browser and JetStream, we see that the Exynos regains some footing and performs unwaveringly better when it comes to web-browsing.

Next come the graphics-intensive tests, and, again, we have a huge difference in performance on the heavy, heavy GFXBench Manhattan test — the performance of the Snapdragon 820 with its Adreno 530 GPU reached almost twice the score of the Exynos 8890 with the Mali-T880 graphics chip. Moving to the much more forgiving T-Rex, however, we get a steady performance of about 53 FPS on both phones — more than enough.

Before we reach the end of the tests, we move on to the “overall performance” Basemark OS II benchmark. Here, both phones are relatively equal, though the Exynos edition does seem to have an edge. Last, but not least, we run them through Geekbench 3, which measures CPU performance for single-core and multi-core use. Here, the Exynos 8890 wins out as well — while both processors do equally good in the single-core test, the Sammy-made octa-core chip soars higher with about 1,200 points over the Snapdragon 820 in the multi-core test, giving it a not-so-slight edge.



In the end, what does it all mean?


Whether you get the Exynos or Snapdragon 820 variant Galaxy Note 7, you should expect (and get) a beast of a smartphone. If we had to draw conclusions, we'd say that yes, the Snapdragon 820 will probably make graphics junkies a bit happier – at least according to the synthetic benchmarks above. The Exynos could potentially be a bit snappier in other daily jobs, such as browsing the web, opening specific apps, or maybe, possibly multitasking.

Should you be losing sleep over the performance differences in the two variants? We'd say, for real world application — hardly. Of course, there's also the question of which model (if any) has a longer battery life. Well, stay tuned!

Related phones

Galaxy Note 7
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2150 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh

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37 Comments

1. XaErO

Posts: 353; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

I'm generally inclined to GPU performance more but between these two; I would still prefer Exynos here .. for quick app load, faster browsing (slightly) and better energy efficiency .. But it need to be tested out first in real life scenarios, for sure !!

12. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

Those GFX benchmarks are crap. There is no way the note 7 exynos performs the same as note 5 exynos. Check anandtech. The difference between the GPUs is less than 10%. adreno wins in gfxbench and exynos is basemark X. In 3Dmark, they trade blows: http://www.anandtech.com/show/10196/the-samsung-galaxy-s7-and-s7-edge-review-part-2/3 Samsung is not idiot to provide that much difference in GPU performance in both models. It's just that PA benchmarks are unreliable at best and misleading at worst.

14. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

The 820's GPU is very very slightly ahead in performance, sustained performance and perf/watt But the difference in CPU is pretty big in performance, sustained performance and perf/watt (smaller than 810 vs 7420, but bigger than 805 vs 5433) Overall, the 8890 is noticeably better in terms of performance, sustained performance and perf/watt Due to the difference in terms of CPU and given the CPU is used more often than the GPU

17. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

24. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

S7 exynos throttle like a bitch. I have g5 here with sd820 my friend got the s7 edge exynos as we are in Canada. We both play world of tank blitz together with graphix turned to max. After 1 hours of playing he start to have stuttering and lag and i do not. The gpu in exynos not made to run at thats speed and its show as its throttle a lots. So now he have to lower graphix to medium to play hours with me (we can play in platoon) where he beat me is after 4-5 hours of game i need a charge and he can easily play 1-2 more hours. So sustained performance exynos not so much at least for games. Otherwise my ui seem faster too. Finally ofcourse samsung phone design is much better than my g5 but i have otterbox defender on it so i dont care.

32. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Sorry mate to tell you but when you use the Samsung phone at max setting it runs the game at 2k Med setting it runs it at the sa,e mode as the G5 So try harder

30. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Sustainable performance king for Android is currently the OnePlus 3 with Snapdragon 820. If Exynos 8890 can match it then it's up-to Samsung to unlock that performance and reduce the performance throttling. In theory Exynos 8890 should be able to do better, but in practice we haven't seen any examples yet.

33. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Results from Anandtech after 2.5 hours GFXBench. iPhone 6S (A9 and 750p) - 33.73 / 50.1 OnePlus 3 (820 and 1080p) - 30 / 31.4 Mate 8 (950 and 1080p) - 9.57 / 11 G5 (820 and 1440p) - 9.55 / 15 5X (808 and 1080p) - 9.28 / 11 OnePlus 2 (810 and 1080p) - 6.71 / 16 6P (810 and 1440p) - 5.75 / 11 Not sure why they haven't done the same tests on Samsung's phones. However looking at long term performance on gfxbench (compare tool) you can clearly see the Galaxy S7 drops to 6.5fps and the OnePlus 3 gets 29.8fps which just confirms Anandtech's results. Long term OnePlus 3 barely throttles at all while performance on the Exynos powered Galaxy S7 plummets quite dramatically.

36. dazed1

Posts: 806; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

We heavent? oh my, some people should be banned from the internet.

31. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

The big one is Battery power not listed above, that and even less lag in unf the OS and not getting as hot if the s7 is anything to go by

2. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1841; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

It seems that the Exynos always has the better battery life...

15. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yep, I believe the last Snapdragon to have better efficiency was the 801

21. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I agree. The 801/805 were the best. The Note 3 with the SD was very efficient. With the 810, QC went full on-fire (no pun) and didn't care about efficiency and they got "burned". Literally! But the 800 series is wha Qualcomm really went for the juggler with having desktop-like performance from an ARM based chipset. When I purchased my Note Pro, I wanted the SD variant, because reviews pointed to he fact that the SD had far less jitters in pushing the 2560x1600 resolution of the display, while the 5000 series Exynos would struggle and lag. This is something I loathe with my Tab S. Because its use a 5000 series Exynos too and there are times it stutters in graphic intense stuff. For one it only has 2GB of RAM, which is to small for a tablet with a 2K resolution at 10.5". But after Qualcomm lied about the 810, I vowed to never buy another phone bearing the SD chipset. I'm forever as long as it is available, going with the Exynos. If I can't get the Exynos, I just won't buy the device. I do wish Samsung would use the PowerVR ship as they did in one of the older S models, which I think was the S4. I have no idea why they didn't stick with them. Unless they felt they could do better, or when apple basically took over, maybe the couldn't produce enough chips for 2 big OEM's.

27. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Personally, I dont really feel its a good idea to vow any brand Since everything is always changing, I'll just buy whatever suits me and avoid any that doesn't IMO switching between PowerVR and ARM isn't really a big deal Since both are basically neck and neck in terms of APIs supported, features and architecture perf/watt (at least from info we have, which isnt really much) Perf/watt mainly depends on how Samsung decides to configure their SoCs i.e. the more clusters and the lower the clocks Samsung choses the better perf/watt (same for Apple, Huawei, MediaTek, ...)

3. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

It does seem a little ridiculous, and bad for the customer that two versions of what should be exactly the same device can perform so differently. I'm sure the battery life will be quite different as in previous cases too... But then doesn't this mean reviews are required for both versions rather than just one? They're almost different phones.

7. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

But then, 2 different variants of the same are not available at the same location (officially). So even if a customer wanted the better performer, if it isn't available in his/her location, (s)he still has to get the one available. Not(e) the same as giving options.

8. KingSam

Posts: 1492; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

While that is mostly true I'm in Jamaica where devices are affected by US availability. But then sellers import the international version too. I have a choice if I were to buy one.

10. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

And that falls into the unofficial category.

9. KingSam

Posts: 1492; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

While that is mostly true I'm in Jamaica where devices are affected by US availability. But then sellers import the international version too. I have a choice if I were to buy one.

4. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

Exynos have a good lead in battery and in real life GPU performance it like 1-2 fps diffrence, vertical integration (sammy+exynos) will always shine more than a second hand soc

5. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Well Mali is much more efficient than Adreno so overall its better.

16. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Actually the 820's GPU is very very slightly ahead of the 8890's in terms of efficiency e.g.http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph10196/82144.pnghttp://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph10196/82145.png But overall, the 8890 is noticeably more efficient Because the 8890's CPU is noticeably more efficient and as the CPU is used more often than the GPU

22. Macready

Posts: 1829; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

28. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I prefer to use results from well known reviewers Results from databases have too many unknown variables e.g. is it stock firmware and were they in the same ambient temp, ...

38. alex3run

Posts: 715; Member since: May 18, 2014

and Mali is also faster in real world.

6. Subie

Posts: 2415; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

I'd be happy with either.

11. kkmkk

Posts: 699; Member since: May 06, 2013

exynos will win in real life even if it losses in bench marks it is all about software optimization and for some reason the SD lack it

13. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

"Next come the graphics-intensive tests, and, again, we have a huge difference in performance on the heavy, heavy GFXBench Manhattan test — the performance of the Snapdragon 820 with its Adreno 530 GPU reached almost twice the score of the Exynos 8890 with the Mali-T880 graphics chip." Run that again. The Exynos does 27 fps too on manhattan onscreen: http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph10196/82206.png

19. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Depends which version of the test they use, 27fps for 3.0 and 14fps for 3.1. I think some numpty at phonesrena has got the 3.0 and 3.1 results mixed up, they don't match up to anything gfxbench.

18. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

The problem with benchmarks for mobile devices is they measure peak performance. Which is fine but people need to understand if your doing anything intensive for more than a few minutes it's going plummet 30-50% in most cases, interesting but they're basically BS. Sustainable performance is far more important than peak performance, although it can come at the cost of battery life and be limited by the thermal limits which also depends on the phone and how well is disperses heat. .

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