Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 vs Samsung Exynos 2100 Compared: Specifications & Benchmarks. Will the Exynos Galaxy S21 be as good as the Qualcomm variant in the US?

Yesterday at CES 2021, Samsung formally announced its flagship mobile chipset for the year, the Exynos 2100.

In previous years, Samsung has developed its own performance CPU microarchitecture for these chipsets, but that division has now been closed down, and Samsung are using Arm’s Cortex cores such as the new X1.

The decision to ditch the Exynos M cores could possibly be related to the regular criticism the flagship Exynos chipset has received in recent years.

So this new Arm based chipset aims to get Samsung back on form with an overall specification that is much more similar to the Qualcomm chipset.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 vs Samsung Exynos 2100 Specifications Comparison

SoCSnapdragon 888Exynos 2100
Kirin 9000 5G
CPU1x ARM Cortex-X1 @ 2.84 GHz1x Cortex-X1 @ 2.9GHz1x Cortex A77
@ 3.13Ghz
3x ARM Cortex-A78 @ 2.42 GHz3x Cortex-A78 @ 2.8GHz3x Cortex A77
@ 2.54Ghz
4x ARM Cortex-A55 @ 1.8 GHz4x Cortex A55 @ 2.2GHz4x Cortex [email protected]
2.05Ghz
GPUQualcomm Adreno 660
+35% perf vs SD865
Mali G78MP14 @ ? MHz
+35% perf vs Exynos 990
Mali-G78
24 Cores
APU / NPUHexagon 780
26 TOPS AI
Triple NPU + DSP
26 TOPs
2 big core, 1 tiny core

Memory3200MHz LPDDR5 / 51.2GB/s
3MB system level cache
LPDDR5 @ ?MHz
?MB System Cache
LPDDR5 / LPDDR 4X
ISP/CameraTriple 14-bit Spectra 580 ISP
1x 200MP or 84MP with ZSL
64+25MP with ZSL
3x 28MP with ZSL
4K video & 64MP burst capture
Single: 200MP
Dual: 32MP+32MP
(Up to quad simultaneous camera)
quad-core, 6th gen ISP


ModemX60 integrated
(5G NR Sub-6 + mmWave)
DL = 7500 Mbps
UL = 3000 Mbps
Exynos Modem Integrated
(5G NR Sub-6)
DL = 5100 Mbps
UL = 1920Mbps
(5G NR mmWave)
DL = 7350 Mbps
UL = 3670 Mbps
Balong 5000
4G + 5G NR NSA+SA Sub-6GHz
ProcessSamsung
5nm (5LPE)
Samsung
5nm (5LPE)
TSMC
5nm

CPU & Fabrication prices

Both Qualcomm and Samsung are using the same Samsung 5nm LPE fabrication process, so they are on level footing from the start.

They also have the same basic CPU layout, but, on paper at least, the Samsung offers a superior spec with higher frequencies across the board.

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
    • 1x ARM Cortex-X1 @ 2.84 GHz
    • 3x ARM Cortex-A78 @ 2.42 GHz
    • 4x ARM Cortex-A55 @ 1.8 GHz
  • Samsung Exynos 2100
    • 1x Cortex-X1 @ 2.9GHz
    • 3x Cortex-A78 @ 2.8GHz
    • 4x Cortex A55 @ 2.2GHz

In particular, the middle and efficient cores have a massive difference in clocks, with the A78 cores being 15% higher and the A55 cores 22% higher.

On the one hand, this is exciting, giving us hope Samsung may have the most powerful chipset on the market. However, one of the main criticisms in recent years is the poor performance of the battery on Exynos phones. Higher clocks equal shorter battery, so we will have to wait and see how much this affects the phones battery performance.

GPU

Comparisons on the GPU are harder, Qualcomm use the Qualcomm Adreno 660 which Samsung are using the Mali G78MP14.

Samsung claims a 40% improvement vs the previous Exynos 990, and Qualcomm claimed 35% improvement vs the SD865.

While the Kirin 9000 using on Huawei phones can’t compete with the CPU, that has a massive 24 core Mali-G78, so it will be interesting to see how the Samsung and Kirin GPU compete against each other.

Modem & Connectivity

Both Samsung and Qualcomm now have integrated 5G modems, but the Samsung is essentially the same Exynos 5123 modem we saw on the Exynos 990.

I was hoping to see some mention of the Wi-Fi within the press releases, but nothing is mentioned at all. The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 supports the latest Wi-Fi 6E with 6Ghz.

Camera & Video

Both companies are claiming big improvements with the camera processing. The new Samsung chip supports single-sensors up to 200MP, while also connecting up to a total of 6 camera sensors, and simultaneously running 4 of them in parallel.

The Qualcomm can only handle 3 simultaneous cameras.

The Samsung encoder has been updated to support up to 8K60 video decoding, although encoding has remained at 8K30/4K120. It now also supports AV1 decoding, something Qualcomm omitted and MediaTek implemented last year.

Benchmarks

The Samsung Exynos 2100 has only just been announced and no phones launched running so we have no official benchmarks. Several leaks have come out indicating performance.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 has been released and I have it myself so the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 benchmarks are genuine results carried out by myself.

All benchmarks are done in the default state, no performance mode or anything like that.

Geekbench

Early leaks of the Qualcomm had it going up to 1,204/ 4,121 with a second leak of 1,105/3,512.

My result was 1139/3693, which is excellent and in line with the second leak.

The Samsung has been claimed to achieve 1,323/4,215, which seems believable based on the higher clocked cores.

Antutu

For the Xiaomi Mi 11 using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, I was able to achieve a monstrous score of 690,985 which is almost 20% higher than the SD865 on the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro.

Reports of poor thermals are a concern here. During the test, my battery went up 9 degrees c vs 4.5 degrees c when I tested the Mi 10T Pro.

No Antutu Exynos 2100 results are available yet.

3DMark

For 3D mark, I don’t think there have been any leaks of the Exynos 2100 yet, but the Snapdragon 888 achieved:

  • Sling Shot Extreme: 8274
  • Wild Lift: 5663

Battery Life

There is no word on how the Samsung and Qualcomm perform with battery efficiency, but I will update this section when more data comes in.

During my testing of the Xiaomi Mi 11, it performs well, but not class-leading. I can easily get a full days worth of real-world use out of it

For reference, I managed 9h 35mins using the PC Mark Work 2.0 battery life test which is about the same as the Realme X50 Pro from last year, but less than all the other flagship phones I reviewed (which was a limited selection). The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro with its 5000 mAh battery achieved almost double at 19h 45mins.

Overall

A lot of people see sceptical about the Samsung Exynos 2100, disappointed that we are once again having an Exynos based Galaxy S21 in the UK while the US gets Qualcomm.

I am feeling a little more optimistic towards it, on paper, it looks good, in theory, it should be more powerful, but it is the battery life that needs to be good, or at least comparable to Qualcomm.

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