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Samsung Galaxy S8 processor showdown: Exynos 8895 vs Snapdragon 835

Samsung Galaxy S8 processor showdown: Exynos 8895 vs Snapdragon 835

The arrival of Samsung's Galaxy S8 doesn't just mark the retail debut of one of this year's most eagerly awaited flagship phones. Sure, the hardware's beautiful, and the software represents one of the best Android experiences you can find on any handset out there, but we're also interested in some pieces of the puzzle that are hiding just a bit deeper under the surface: the processors powering the phone.

Like has happened so many times before, Samsung's built two main versions of the Galaxy S8 (and correspondingly, GS8+), one running one of the company's own Exynos chips, and one featuring a top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. And what makes that pairing especially exciting this time around is that this is the very first time we've been able to interact with either chip on a commercial handset.

Samsung Galaxy S8 processor showdown: Exynos 8895 vs Snapdragon 835
In most international markets, the Galaxy S8 is built around the new Exynos 8895, featuring new custom CPU cores, new Mali GPU, and with the whole thing fabricated via a cutting-edge 10nm process intended to maximize performance and power efficiency.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 is similarly a 10nm chip, and while it's an octa-core processor like the Exynos, Qualcomm uses its own Kyro 280 CPU cores. It also introduces a new GPU – here the Adreno 540 – and like Samsung's chip, the Snapdragon brings its own new image processor, media playback engine, and supports high-speed gigabit LTE.

On paper, those two chips sure sound pretty similar. The details may differ, but they're both trying to do largely the same things, and are crafted with some very similar-looking technologies. And that makes a lot of sense for the components that will drive a high-profile phone like the Galaxy S8: you don't want one edition being wildly more capable than the other, especially with most shoppers unable to choose from between the two themselves.

But even if the Exynos 8895 and Snapdragon 835 are very much two chips in the same class, there's bound to be little differences here and there. Maybe one has an advantage in a particular use case, while another really shines under different operating conditions. That's why we've run both the Exynos and Snapdragon-based Galaxy S8 through a battery of benchmark tests, giving us plenty of data to start looking at how these processors measure up.

Spoiler alert: when it comes to performance, there's not an obvious winner here.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Performance Benchmarks

AnTuTuVellamo MetalVellamo BrowserJetStream
Exynos 8895 1666463074675955.503
Snapdragon 835

Both the Snapdragon and Exynos Galaxy S8 ran neck-and-neck across a few of our tests, including AnTuTu and Vellamo Metal – a Qualcomm-designed benchmark.

In GFXBench, both phones had no problem maxing-out the T-Rex test at 60fps, but the Exynos GS8 did pull slightly ahead when running the Manhattan 3.1 rendering test, at 41fps to the Snapdragon GS8's 35fps.

That Exynos lead continued into Geekbench 4 CPU testing, with the 8895 besting the 835 in both single-core and multi-core performance: we saw scores of 2008/6575 for the Exynos GS8, vs 1840/6134 for the Snapdragon GS8. While that gap may not be huge, that doesn't mean it's not statistically significant.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Performance Benchmarks (continued)

GFXBench T-RexGFXBench MhtnGeekbench 4 SingleGeekbench 4 MultiBasemark OS II
Exynos 88956041200865753202
Snapdragon 8356035184061343420

On the flip side, the Snapdragon blew past the Exynos in both the Vellamo browser test and the JetStream JavaScript benchmark, suggesting that the 835 may be chip to favor if you really value web-browsing speeds. It also eked by the Exynos with a better overall score in the Basemark OS II test suite, with a score of 3420 to the Samsung chip's 3202.

All that has us feeling pretty good that neither of these chips is a dud, and either should be more than capable of powering a 2017 flagship. While the Snapdragon 835 shined when it came to navigating websites, the Exynos 8895 demonstrated a somewhat surprising capability for graphics performance.

But that's not quite the end of our story – not just yet. We also have a second Exynos 8895-based phone on hand, having conducted our review of the international Galaxy S8+ (we've yet to spend time with a US, Snapdragon-based GS8+), and subjected it to the same benchmark analysis as its smaller brother.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ Performance Benchmarks

AnTuTuVellamo MetalVellamo BrowserJetStream
Exynos 88951739543223688160.931
GFXBench T-RexGFXBench MhtnGeekbench 4 SingleGeekbench 4 MultiBasemark OS II

In theory, both Exynos-powered GS8 models should perform the same: they have the same RAM, same storage, and same-resolution screen (albeit of different physical sizes). Yet counter-intuitively, that GS8+ with the 8895 managed to outperform both the 8895-based GS8, as well as the Snapdragon 835 edition of the phone in a number of our tests (top scores bolded in above chart).

Why would that be? Frankly, we're not quite sure, and we're going to want to spend a little more time working with all this hardware in order to learn why certain combinations of these components perform better than others.

It's also important to consider that this sort of app-performance comparison is well and good, but it only represents one portion of the functionality offered by a modern system-on-a-chip. How will photo-processing times differ with this hardware? And what about cellular data speeds?

One particularly noteworthy difference between the GS8 phones running these different chips has already revealed itself to us, with the Exynos-based GS8 showing markedly superior battery-life endurance to the Snapdragon version of the phone. Will more critical differences like these continue to pop up as we spend more time with these chips? Keep checking in with PhoneArena to see what we learn.

  • Options

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 18:55

1. LyannaStark (Posts: 87; Member since: 07 Apr 2017)

I wish we could order a US carrier compatible Exynos S8 here. :/

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 19:47 1

7. Lois13 (Posts: 26; Member since: 20 Nov 2015)

Well you can order that version and it will work on GSM carriers. I'm waiting for them to go on sale on B&H and I'll probably get one. You can preorder them from a couple sellers on eBay but they are like 100 more than the US versions. I imagine the price will go down some soon.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 20:26 2

12. njguy (Posts: 11; Member since: 26 May 2013)

I bought my unlocked Exynos S7 from Best Buy last year. Works great on AT+T, and probably any US carrier other than Verizon.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 18:59 4

2. LebronJamesFanboy (Posts: 618; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)

Samsung - Make Exynos standard for all regions.

posted on 19 Apr 2017, 02:33 3

27. juandante (Posts: 654; Member since: 23 Apr 2013)

No ! Exynos is known for closed drivers. If this is done, you can say bye-bye to custom ROMs, and take a good middle finger in your arse.

posted on 01 Jul 2017, 06:49

37. ccic2491 (Posts: 3; Member since: 01 Jul 2017)

What??? It's the other way around. The Exynos version already has custom ROMs and Snapdragon version has yet to even be rooted as of this post.

posted on 17 Jun 2017, 07:23

36. DarylHall (Posts: 4; Member since: 27 Apr 2017)

Samsung do not make exynos standard for all regions until it makes sense to do so. Why would you even want that? It's way better to have the Snapdragon variant in the states. Not only do you get much better reception and data speeds which boosts performance and battery life, but you get all these other perks. The Snapdragon S8's Aqstic DAC blows the exynos S8's Wolfson DAC away.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 19:02 8

3. ibend (Posts: 6610; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)

exynos beat snapdragon in 3D performance?
last year exynos only beat SD in multi-core performance, now they also beat SD in GPU side..
RIP snapdragon..

posted on 19 Apr 2017, 03:50

29. vincelongman (Posts: 5042; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

Not really surprising since that gap wasn't that big and Qualcomm didn't make their GPU any wider this year (while Samsung went from 16 to 20 shader cores)

How about sustained GPU performance
That's where the gap was bigger

Also these are dated GPU benchmarks, where's Car Chase?

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 19:03

4. Ordinary (Posts: 2450; Member since: 23 Apr 2015)

"when running the Manhattan 3.1"

You mean 3.0 the regular one?

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 19:26 3

5. Plasticsh1t (Posts: 2036; Member since: 01 Sep 2014)

Snapdragon is more developer friendly. If you're into mods and custom roms go for the Snapdragon.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 19:52 5

9. Ordinary (Posts: 2450; Member since: 23 Apr 2015)

Its the opposite with S7 and probably S8.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 20:29 1

13. ibend (Posts: 6610; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)

right, because most of people in this planet use international version of S7/S8 aka exynos version
but if by "developer" he mean "modders on XDA" he still correct..

(but there are lots of different kind of "developer" out there)

posted on 19 Apr 2017, 02:35 1

28. juandante (Posts: 654; Member since: 23 Apr 2013)

I think he means XDA because he said custom ROMs, and we cant agree less than 100% with him.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 20:49 1

15. Tyrion_Lannister (unregistered)

With locked bootloader, hell no.

posted on 01 Jul 2017, 06:56

38. ccic2491 (Posts: 3; Member since: 01 Jul 2017)

Right......If someone could unlock the bootloader. I don't see it happening anytime soon and the Exynos version already has custom ROMs.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 19:32

6. omnitech (Posts: 864; Member since: 28 Sep 2016)

Bigger battery means less need to throttle, that's why the bigger phones always bench higher.

Everyone can design super powerful hardware, getting it to last is a different story.

posted on 19 Apr 2017, 00:40 3

23. crzykiller (Posts: 75; Member since: 03 Jan 2015)

Bruh nah... Battery has nothing to do with thermal throttling. What does "thermal" mean? Heat. It has to do with the CPU hitting a too high temperature causing it to lower in frequency. With a bigger phone, you have more space to dissipate that heat. Also in Samsung's case the heat pipe is slightly bigger so the CPU can stay cooler for longer.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 19:50

8. darkkjedii (Posts: 24329; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Thursday for me.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 20:14

10. joeytaylor (Posts: 900; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


posted on 18 Apr 2017, 20:30

14. ibend (Posts: 6610; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)

still 3 day till shipping :(
probably I will get in sunday or monday

posted on 19 Apr 2017, 05:37

30. darkkjedii (Posts: 24329; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

@joey. Tomorrow as of today lol. I keep checking UPS tracking.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 20:23

11. CreeDiddy (Posts: 956; Member since: 04 Nov 2011)

Apple is laughing while saying welcome to 2016 A10 status. A11 is ready for 220k Antutu and 4800/8000 GB4 scores...lol!!! Can't wait...

A10X = 215k Antutu and 4400/7200 GB4...

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 20:51 1

16. Tyrion_Lannister (unregistered)

The easy gains have been had. A 11 isn't going to be more than 10% faster than A10.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 20:57

17. kiko007 (Posts: 5188; Member since: 17 Feb 2016)

And you know this how? Just because Android processor improvements have been scarce these last few years, doesn't mean Apple's have as well. Even if what you said did come to pass the A11 would still be HANDS DOWN the best mobile processor in any phone in history by a wide margin.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 21:21

19. dazed1 (Posts: 541; Member since: 28 Jul 2015)

Easy there iFanatic, doesent matter who is faster anymore so much like before, even if the A11 is faster, still S9 will be by far better buy overall, get used to it.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 21:37 4

21. Tyrion_Lannister (unregistered)

Similar to how he predicted the scores. Wait lol, I have actual facts to back up my claim, or at least a hypothesis.

I can't be bothered to explain it. But for the past 3 years, Apple has gained performance by increasing the clock speed from 1.5 GHz to 1.8 to 2.1 to 2.4 Ghz. Around 2.5 GHz is the smartphone limit for voltage frequency curve like 3.5 for laptops and 5 for desktops.

So no, they can't have any frequency gains this year. What's left? They already have an intel like wide microarch which is pretty optimised in all the years and almost everything is pretty well rounded.

Sounds an awful lot like Intel? Intel was the reason Apple custom architecture came to be, since ARM refused to make a wide execution design(though I expect them to go 180 next year).

Basically, most of the easy gains have to be had, and people don't care enough for smartphone performance to invest huge R&D into it.

posted on 19 Apr 2017, 08:49

31. Khyron (Posts: 293; Member since: 28 Sep 2015)

Does SDCARDfs imProve games loading times? I know games con IOS load faster because every game is tailored to work with iphones and the reduced size of games on IOS

posted on 19 Apr 2017, 09:14

32. Tyrion_Lannister (unregistered)

Never heard of it. But the thing that mostly impacts game loading times is the storage solution and CPU.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 21:20 2

18. dazed1 (Posts: 541; Member since: 28 Jul 2015)

Nice little fantasy there, keep on dreaming.

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