Samsung reportedly makes surprise decision about which chip will power the Galaxy S11 line

Samsung reportedly makes surprise decision about which chip will power the Galaxy S11 line
Traditionally, Samsung powers its latest flagship phones in the vast majority of markets with chipsets it designs and produces itself. In the U.S., China, and Japan, Galaxy S and Galaxy Note handsets typically employ the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC. That's because Qualcomm's chips work better with the 4G networks in those regions. For example, earlier this year Samsung packed the Snapdragon 855 into U.S., Chinese and Japanese versions of the Galaxy S10 series. In other markets, these phones were equipped with the Exynos 9820 chipset.

Now, the reverse could happen with the new Galaxy S11 line rumored to be unveiled in San Francisco on February 18 of next year. According to a report in South Korea's The Elec (via GSMArena), the Snapdragon 865 Mobile Platform will be employed in Galaxy S11 devices in all regions except one. Samsung Galaxy S11 models launching in Europe next year will be powered by the Exynos 990 SoC; elsewhere, these units will have the Snapdragon 865 Mobile Platform under the hood. The reason? According to the report, Samsung executives noted that the Snapdragon 865 outperforms the Exynos 990. The latter was unveiled by Samsung in October and the manufacturer said that the chip offers a 20% performance boost over the Exynos 9825 SoC. Interestingly, both the Exynos 990 and Snapdragon 865 are manufactured by Samsung using its 7nm EUV process. We should note that Samsung has stopped developing its own custom cores.

Snapdragon 865 Mobile Platform has better specs than the Exynos 990


One difference between the Snapdragon 865 and the Exynos 990 involves the CPU cores being used. The former features ARM's latest and most powerful Cortex-A77 while the latter includes the older Cortex-A76. In addition, the new flagship Snapdragon chipset's Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for AI functionality runs up to 15 Tera Operations Per Second (TOPS) compared to 10 TOPS for the Exynos 990. The Image Signal Processor (ISP) on Qualcomm's chip has support for 200MP cameras while Sammy's chip supports cameras up to 108MP. Interestingly, Samsung has decided to use MediaTek's 5G processor on some of its low to mid-range models.


You might recall that Samsung had to adjust which chip to use on 2015's Samsung Galaxy S6 in the U.S., China, and Japan. That's because the Snapdragon 810 SoC was fond of overheating. So Samsung decided to employ the Exynos 7420 chipset in Galaxy S6 units that normally would have featured the Snapdragon 810. But that adjustment lasted all of a year before Samsung reverted to its previous pattern.

We expect the Samsung Galaxy S11 family to include a 6.2-inch Galaxy S11e, 6.5-inch Galaxy S11, and a 6.8-inch Galaxy S11+. All three displays are expected to refresh at 120Hz allowing for buttery smooth scrolling and improved animation. The Galaxy S11+ should come with five camera sensors on the back including a 108MP primary (producing 27MP images with pixel binning), an ultra-wide camera, a telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom, a telephoto camera with 5x hybrid zoom and a Time of Flight depth sensor. Using a combination of sensors the Galaxy S11+ could offer 50x hybrid zoom and 100x digital zoom.

It should be interesting to see what Samsung does in 2021 when TSMC will manufacture the 5nm Snapdragon 875 Mobile Platform and Samsung turns to its 5nm process to produce the successor to the Exynos 990. At 5nm, both chips will be packed with billions of transistors making them more powerful and energy-efficient than next year's chips. The 2021 integrated circuits will contain as many as 171.3 million transistors per square millimeter. Both TSMC and Samsung have roadmaps taking their chip manufacturing down to 2nm over the next few years.

Related phones

Galaxy S20 (S11e)
  • Display 6.2" 1440 x 3200 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 128GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh
Galaxy S20 Ultra (S11+)
  • Display 6.9" 1440 x 3200 pixels
  • Camera 108 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 128GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 5000 mAh

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26 Comments

1. maherk

Posts: 7065; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Samsung should just suck it up and use Snapdragon in all markets. It's not fair that majority of markets are stuck with an inferior chipset, especially when you take into consideration the crazy prices we are paying for these smartphones.

2. androiduser

Posts: 557; Member since: Jun 18, 2014

Majority? Read the article, it's only in Europe.

3. maherk

Posts: 7065; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I read it earlier today on sammobile, and maybe I wasn't clear with my comment, what I meant is that it wasn't fair before, and it's still not fair that a big portion of the S11 series users are going to be using an inferior chipset. Samsung should keep their exynos inventory for the A series, and deliver SD to all S11 users. I live in the middle east, so this is definitely great news for me, but still, I see it as an unfair treatment to future S11 buyers in Europe.

4. mdorno

Posts: 49; Member since: Aug 17, 2011

I totally agree. Use the most powerful chip available and readjust that every year.

10. androiduser

Posts: 557; Member since: Jun 18, 2014

Yeah totally agree.

7. User123456789

Posts: 1361; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Usually only USA, Canada and China get snapdragon.

11. IT-Engineer

Posts: 584; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

I live in Europe, and the main reason I stopped buying their phones is because of their chips. I guess I won't next year either.

14. AlienKiss

Posts: 323; Member since: May 21, 2019

Europe - 747,3 million people. USA - 329,9 million people. Do the math.. Remember that in Europe, Samsung is the main choice for high-end smartphones. I'm going to order my Note 11+ straight from South Korea if that's the case..

24. mickymouse7

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 23, 2019

So why should we in Europe get the inferior chipset when we pay more for these phones do you think that is fair when the rest of the world gets the snapdragon these phones will not work as well on these exynos I for one will not be buying a Samsung they can keep their inferior chipsets

12. rdvn26

Posts: 78; Member since: Aug 04, 2017

you right but we can do nothing about it. Im planning to buy s11 unless it uses exynos. Maybe ppl wont buy s11 due to the processor and this will forc3e them to use sd cips.

21. mickymouse7

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 23, 2019

Looks like a middle finger to the europeans it would serve them right if they stoped buying Samsung mobiles until we stop being ripped off with inferior chipsets

5. RevolutionA

Posts: 529; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

Finally Samsung agrees that their chips are dip sh.

6. sebstin

Posts: 195; Member since: Dec 03, 2015

No compact phone in s11 line up?.. Too bad...

9. User123456789

Posts: 1361; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Rumors say : S11e = 15,1 cm S11 + = 16,7 cm

8. User123456789

Posts: 1361; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

I think in the future only A and M will have exynos, while S and Note with snapdragon.

13. vincelongman

Posts: 5816; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

GCam + 1/3" 27MP/108MP sensor would be amazing

15. Chrusti

Posts: 107; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

Get your phone on Hong Kong guys, they are 20 percent cheaper there and you can spend an amazing vacation there.

19. ypocat

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 16, 2019

paying 2k eur for a return ticket won't do it for me

16. Guseinguliev

Posts: 145; Member since: Mar 04, 2019

Samsung should completely abandon its proprietary chip. I really like Samsung smartphones, but because of the exynos, I do not buy their products.

22. mickymouse7

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 23, 2019

I’m the same mate why should I buy a mobile with an inferior chipset to the rest of the world

17. torr310

Posts: 1729; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Alan, You are probably wrong. The 865 uses TSMC’s 7nm process, while the 765 is manufactured on Samsung’s 7nm process. source: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.pcworld.com/article/3482244/inside-the-snapdragon-865-qualcomm-android.amp.html

18. plsnoregforcomments

Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

One of my pet peeves with Samsung is that it's fond of coming up with its own inferior crap when something which already exists would have fulfilled that need. Case in point: Bixby. No one cares, Google Assistant is way ahead in functionality. The same story for Exynos. Everyone else is using a Snapdragon, but Samsung just wanted to be special and use an Exynos. If people really wanted to reduce costs, they would have used a Mediatek. Samsung has come a long way from its terrible bloatware Touchwiz days, but the bloatware mentality and company culture still persists. This must change.

20. ypocat

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 16, 2019

We should organize something like an European Exynos boycott and awareness campaign about this scam perpetrated by some Samsung execs on EU citizens. Like others have said here - we in EU pay a massive premium for a significantly inferior product. Samsung sends Snapdragon units to YouTube reviewers and then Europeans think that's what they are getting. Exynos vs Snapdragon comparison reviews never compare the most important features - what's the battery drain when the phone is idle, and when it's navigating. These both are absolutely horrible on the Exynos versions. Shame on you, Samsung. Wondering what's Huawei going to offer.

23. mickymouse7

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 23, 2019

I agree we should have European boycott Exynos inferior chipset

25. lorecherry

Posts: 4; Member since: Jan 10, 2020

I also agree to attend this boycott, I actually wanted to buy he next Samsung Galaxy S, but with Exynos no thanks! I have a S8+ that is suffering from battery drain already. :( Guess I will buy a Xiaomi mi 10 Pro, better price, Snapdragon 865.

26. ypocat

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 16, 2019

I'm thinking along the same lines, Xiaomi will deliver without apartheid and for half the price

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