Snapdragon vs Exynos: does Note 20 Ultra with 865 Plus outperform?

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Snapdragon vs Exynos: does the 865 Plus on Note 20 Ultra outperform?
Samsung equipped the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra with a Plus version of the Snapdragon 865 processor that is in the Galaxy S20 Ultra, breaking the 3GHz clock frequency barrier for the first time on a mobile processor, and bringing support for the newest connectivity standards like Wi-fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

That's great if you live in the US or South Korea, where the Snapdragon 865 Plus models will be sold, as only Qualcomm's attached modem can and is certified to connect to the latest 5G network generations in these countries.

If you are perusing the global Galaxy Note 20 Ultra version, however, it will be powered by Samsung's Exynos 990 chipset, the same one that is in the respective Galaxy S20 Ultra models. 

Given that there was a gap in performance and thermal throttling between the Snapdragon and Exynos versions of the S20 Ultra, we expect it to grow even larger between the 865+ and Exynos 990 models of the Note 20 Ultra, so we ran some benchmarks.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus vs Exynos 990 Note 20 Ultra performance benchmarks

As usual, the Exynos version of the Note 20 Ultra gives way to the Snapdragon model, but that's valid for the S20 variants as well. 

The phones are still plenty powerful enough to run everything you throw at them, 12GB RAM and all, yet the 865+ vs 865 advantage is not only in peak speed but also at extra image processing and newer memory or connectivity standards support.

Snapdragon 865 vs 865 Plus vs Exynos 990 specs

As you can see, there are three main areas where the Snapdragon 865+ outshines the 865 - peak processing and graphics speed (the first mobile chip to break the 3GHz barrier), even more global 5G multiband connectivity, and the newest Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-fi 6E standards support.

What is Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-fi 6E?

The Wi-Fi 6E in Snapdragon 865+ means that the Note 20 Ultra is capable of operating on the 6 GHz band. It would work like the current WiFi 6 on 5 GHz but with way more channels that won't interfere or overlap. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi 6E can have "14 additional 80 MHz channels and 7 additional 160 MHz channels,"reducing congestion and interference.

New Bluetooth 5.2 vs Bluetooth 5.1 features:

  • Higher quality, lower-power audio codec.
  • Independent true wireless earbuds synchronicity, and broadcasting audio streams to multiple listeners in different languages.
  • Multiple apps can interact with a Bluetooth Low Energy device simultaneously, reducing latency and interference.

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Moreover, there is the thermal throttling to consider, and, looking at our Note 20 Ultra battery tests, the Exynos version still has a way to go in order to catch up to the Snapdragon models in the US when it comes to endurance. No more than seven hours of YouTube playback with a 4500mAh battery and a top-shelf OLED display, is, after all, nothing to brag home about in this day and age.

So, yes, both Snapdragon vs Exynos Note 20 Ultra synthetic benchmarks, and real-life scenario battery tests return an advantage for the Snapdragon 865+ models over the global Exynos 990 variant. Not that this comes as a huge surprise, yet we sincerely hope that Samsung will be done with that split processing practice for the Galaxy S21 next year.

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