This year, not only will the United States get the stronger Snapdragon 865 version of the Galaxy S20 series, Samsung will also deliver the Qualcomm SoC instead of its own Exynos 990 to South Korea. The extremely expensive Galaxy S20 flagships in Europe not only have to do without mmWave 5G, Samsung also rips us off with the various disadvantages of the Exynos variant in terms of performance, battery life and photo quality, gamers in particular should look for alternatives.
You feel slightly kidnapped as a European if you google a little according to the experience of the first Galaxy S20 users in the USA compared to those in Europe. A few days after the availability of the new Samsung flagships, one thing is clear: This year too, Samsung is feeding us with a SoC that is inferior to the Qualcomm chipset, which has been known for months on paper, but has now also been confirmed by the first test results .
We already have our Exynos versions of the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 + and Galaxy S20 Ultra in the test laboratory, so the publication of our own tests is imminent, but let’s take a look at what other testers are already comparing directly with the Snapdragon 865 variants found out that this year they will not only be sold in the USA but also in South Korea – the Exynos 990 was no longer good enough in its home country, but it was in Europe.
Briefly about the differences between Exynos 990 and Snapdragon 865 itself. In addition to the more efficient 7 nm EUV manufacturing process at TSMC, the Qualcomm SoC also beats Samsung colleagues with the more modern, Cortex-A77-based Kryo585 cores, while Samsung still outperforms its predecessor Cortex-A76 remains in combination with two Mongoose M5 cores. There are also differences in the details of the ISP (Image Signal Processor), which could explain the quality differences in the cameras mentioned below, in the end the GPU is also a completely different one: Samsung uses a Mali-G77 MP11, Qualcomm an Adreno 650.
Dramatic differences in performance, battery life and even camera quality
The video by Youtuber MrWhostheboss above summarizes quite well what many other testers criticize independently: The Galaxy S20 in the USA, here in the Ultra version, is a completely different product from the Galaxy S20 in Europe, but costs almost the same much or even more depending on the country. Here are the differences determined by Arun Maini, practically all in favor of the Snapdragon 865 version:
AnTuTu benchmark on the first run 10 percent faster than on the Exynos version.
After several runs, the Exynos variant throttles more, the performance difference increases to 20 percent.
The temperature of the Snapdragon 865 rises to 39 degrees Celsius after four runs, that of the Exynos 990 to 66 degrees Celsius.
Long-lasting gaming (about 1 hour or more) caused the European Galaxy S20 Ultra frame drops to about 15 fps, the US version remained constant at 60 fps.
The camera app of the Snapdragon variant remains more fluid to use than the Exynos version.
Photos look sharper on the Snapdragon version of the Galaxy S20, especially when cropped, which indicates differences in the image processors or the algorithms used.
On average 2 hours more screen-on-time on the Snapdragon 865 version compared to the Exynos 990 version (at 1080p resolution with 60 Hz)
None of this sounds particularly pleasant, but is largely confirmed by other testers. The situation is particularly blatant for gamers, as the following video demonstrates that an Exynos 990-Galaxy S20 + in PUBG and NBA can compete against a Galaxy S10 + (!) With Snapdragon 855 from the previous year. Even in this absolutely unfair comparison, the Galaxy S20 cannot succeed and has to surrender to last year’s flagship from the USA.
Don’t buy an Exynos Galaxy S20 for gaming!
There are a few differences at the beginning, but it gets exciting in the video from about minute 4, where you can see how the Galaxy S20 + throttles down to 25 to 40 fps after about 15 minutes of NBA gameplay, but the Galaxy S10 + still at about 50 fps remains. From minute 6 it is PUBG’s turn and here too the disaster is repeated, sometimes even worse. The Galaxy S20 not only gets hotter than the previous year’s Galaxy, but throttles the Exynos 990 massively, causing the frame rate to drop sharply. The gamer’s recommendation: If you want to play on your smartphone, forget the Exynos-based Galaxy S20 family and buy something else.
If you need more proof of the almost lousy performance of the Exynos 990 compared to Qualcomm, you can also visit Liu Chong’s Twitter page, which has given some thought to efficiency. Based on comparisons of the own specint scores of an Exynos Galaxy S20 with the values of a Qualcomm variant determined by Anandtech, it comes to a performance / power ratio of 13 for the Exynos 990 compared to 19.6 for the Snapdragon 865. Apart from those mentioned Real-world gaming experiences are unlikely to cause any major problems in everyday life for most users, but the differences in battery life seem very noticeable if you look at this thread on Reddit.
Dramatic differences in battery life
The fact that the 120 Hz mode costs a few hours of runtime is the same on both Galaxy S20 variants and is already known from initial tests, but the difference is dramatic when examining the experiences between Exynos and Snapdragon users – even if they are not, of course, among the the same conditions have taken place. Most Snapdragon users report an average of about 6 to 8 hours of screen-on-time, however, the few reports from Exynos testers seem to be in the area of less than 4 hours, some with QHD + resolution, some in 120 Hz mode . Even if there are no comparable situations here – the anecdotes seem to confirm the differences Arun identified in the video above.
Still all good in everyday life?
Finally, to save Samsung’s honor, the experiences of Android Central, which also had a US version of the Samsung Galaxy S20 compete against a Euro variant, here based on the PCMark test, which rather explores real-world performance. In a nutshell, the Samsung flagship sold in Europe can prove itself here and in some cases even finish before the Qualcomm version, which shows once again that the differences mentioned in everyday life probably have less dramatic effects than in the more synthetic tests – at least as long as you not pushing his smartphone to the limits like some gamers. Ultimately, however, there is the downside that Samsung, apart from the missing mmWave 5G antennas and the high prices in Europe, delivers inferior hardware that is no longer good enough for the home country of South Korea.