Why I don’t recommend buying Samsung flagships on Exynos processors

Probably everyone knows that Samsung releases two different versions of each flagship smartphone every year. One is equipped with Samsung’s own Exynos processor and is intended for sale in Russia, Europe, and the CIS countries, and the other has Qualcomm Snapdragon for America, Asia, and Oceania. Therefore, Koreans promote the proprietary chip and specifically limit the sale of different smartphone versions so it would be unprofitable to sell them in different countries. Users have consistently preferred Snapdragon over Exynos. Let’s see what the difference is between them. Let’s take, for example, the Galaxy S20, which comes in Exynos 990 and Snapdragon 865.

Choose which Samsung smartphone to buy? It doesn’t matter, the main thing is to use Snapdragon
Choose which Samsung smartphone to buy? It doesn’t matter, the main thing is to use Snapdragon

Why Snapdragon 865 is better than Exynos 990

Oddly enough, the Snapdragon 865 is better than the Exynos 990 on all fronts. Earlier Qualcomm chipsets outperformed Samsung’s branded “stones” in performance, but they were also inferior to them in autonomy. Now Snapdragon is the undeniable leader in everything. This can be seen in this video.

Here, the blogger says he tested both versions of Samsung’s flagship and came to the conclusion that after three hours of active use, Exynos 990 battery went down to 59% and Snapdragon 865 went down to 71%. At first glance, the difference is not too big – only 12% – but for a smartphone, this means an additional two hours.

When measuring the performance of both processors, the difference was even more noticeable. Exynos scored only 449,000 points in the AnTuTu benchmark and Snapdragon was almost 527,000. The difference in productivity is almost 20% in favor of the “American” modification. But where does such a gap come from? If you look closely at the indicators, you can see the difference is in the more powerful Qualcomm graphics accelerator. Exynos 990 scores only 155,961 points whereas Snapdragon 865 has 211,835 points.


What’s faster: Exynos 990 or Snapdragon 865?

What does all this mean in practice? In real-world performance tests, Exynos and Snapdragon go almost side-by-side. In any case, it showed tests on launching application speed. With heating and throttling, Samsung’s proprietary processor heats up much faster than Qualcomm and it starts to return to an acceptable temperature mode earlier. Therefore, for games, 4K video shooting, and editing, Snapdragon is clearly better.

Snapdragon 865 more powerful than Exynos 990
Snapdragon 865 more powerful than Exynos 990

But why does Samsung even equip smartphones with processors that are so disliked by users, deliberately introducing the worst product to them?

It’s all about saving money, because the production of Exynos chips costs Samsung less than Snapdragon.  However, savings quite easily turn into earnings, since in retail the prices for smartphones with Exynos and Snapdragon chips are absolutely identical, adjusting for pricing features in each of the countries where Samsung sells its devices. This is not to mention that Koreans do not have to use Snapdragon to help them optimize the proprietary processor, which also costs money. Therefore, Exynos prove to be profitable for Samsung both in the short- and long-term.

It is ironic there is no such paradox in the case of non-flagship models because Samsung equips all of them with Exynos chips. So if you want to buy a Galaxy A51 or A71, you will have no other choice because these are budget devices and the Koreans save as much money on them as they can. This does not make Samsung’s own processors bad, just against Qualcomm they lose out quite a bit, which is very important when choosing a flagship phone. However, if you’re looking for a low-cost device, this difference is not so noticeable, since they rarely require the highest performance and speed.

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