Samsung yesterday announced its latest premium SoC, the Exynos 9 Series 9820, which will feature in their flagship devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S10 next year.

The Exynos 9820 features a fourth-generation custom CPU, 2.0-gigabits-per-second (Gbps) LTE Advanced Pro modem, and an enhanced neural processing unit (NPU) to bring new smart experiences to mobile devices.

It is based on the 8 nm LPP (Low Power Plus) FinFET process and is an evolution from the 10 nm Exynos 9810.

The new processor layout is a little different from last year, with something similar to the Kirin 980 with two ultimate processing power, two Cortex-A75 cores for performance and a third cluster of four Cortex-A55 units for efficiency.

The company said the new configuration has intelligent task scheduler to boost multi-core performance by 15% from the previous Exynos. The single-core results would be up to 20% and provide 40% power efficiency.

The LTE-Advanced Pro modem is another step towards 5G chipsets with 2 Gbps downlink speeds but this is not a 5G chipset yet.

The new Mali-G76 GPU should deliver a 40% performance boost or 35% power savings, allowing longer usage of VR and AR applications. The NPU is a separate unit that would make any AI processes about seven times faster. In practice, it should help the camera to adjust the settings to the surrounding or objects in focus to provide better information.

The new chip will be ready for mass production before the end of the year, and we will certainly see it in the Galaxy S10 which is typically launched at MWC in February.

Samsung Exynos 9820 vs HiSilicon Kirin 980 vs Snapdragon 845

So how does the new Exynos 9820 fair up against the competition? Below is a table of comparison specs, it is hard to get specifics of everything as the companies have no released all the data.

At this point, it is a bit unfair comparing the Snapdragon 845 to the others, but until the Snapdragon 8150 is released its the only comparison that can be done with Snapdragon.

This year is the first time Samsung has included a dedicated AI processor, but this could fall short on performance of the dual NPU in the Kirin 980.

At the moment the other main comparison worth noting is that Samsung has a dual custom Exynos performance cores running at unknown speeds but then drops down to Cortex-A75 for its middle cores. Whereas the Kirin 980 uses Cortex-A75 for both the performance and middle cores but just drops the clock speeds. As we don’t know the specification of the Exynos cores it would be difficult to compare processing power between the two chips, it could be that the Exynos cores are far more powerful and efficient than the Cortex-A75, and they don’t need to rely on the A75 performance for its middle cores.

On the graphics side of things, the Exynos appears to have a superior GPU using the Mali-G76 MP12 vs Mali-G76 MP10 in the Kirin 980.

 Exynos 9810Snapdragon 845HiSilicon Kirin 980Exynos 9820
Process2nd Gen 10nm FinFET2nd Gen 10nm FinFET7nm8 nm LPP (Low Power Plus) FinFET
CPU CoresOcta-Core, 64-bitOcta-Core, 64-bitOcta-Core, 64-bitOcta-Core, 64-bit
CPU4 x 2.9GHz Exynos M3 + 4 x 1.9GHz Cortex-A554 x 2.8GHz Kryo 385 + 4 x 1.7GHz Kryo 3852x Cortex-A76 @ 2.6GHz
2x Cortex-A76 @ 1.92GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.8GHz
(4MB shared L3 cache)
2x Custom CPU
2x Cortex-A75
4x Cortex-A55
GPUARM Mali-G72 MP18Adreno 630Mali-G76 MP10ARM Mali G76 MP12
NPUNoYesDual NPUYes
Display Resolution4K UHD (4096 x 2160) or WQUXGA (3840 x 2400) 60FPS4K UHD (4096 x 2160) 60FPS4K UHD (4096 x 2160) 60FPS?4K UHD (4096 x 2160) 60FPS
RAMLPDDR4XLPDDR4X Quad-channel 16-bit 1866 MHzLPDDR4X @ 2133MHzLPDDR4x
StorageUFS 2.1, & SD 3.0UFS 2.1, & SD 3.0UFS 2.1?UFS 2.1/3.0
ISPDual ISPDual ISPDual ISPDual ISP
Camera24MP Single, 16MP+16MP Dual32MP Single, 16MP Dual?Rear: 22MP
Front: 22MP
Dual: 16MP+16MP
Video RecordingUp to 4K @ 120FPSUp to 4K @ 60FPS?8K@30fps, 4K@150fps
Video Playback & CodecsMFC, Up to 4K @ 120FPS; 10-bit HEVC (H.265), H.264, VP9Up to 4K @ 60FPS; 10bit HDR, H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), VP9?2160p60 HEVC & H.264 Decode
2160p30 Encode
HDR10
AudioUnknown chip with 32bit/384kHz qualityQualcomm Aqstic, Qualcomm aptX HD with 384kHz/32bit quality??
ModemLTE Cat. 18 6CA 1.2Gbps Download; LTE Cat. 18 2CA 200 Mbps UploadX20 LTE Cat. 18 1.2Gbps Download; LTE Cat. 13 150Mbps UploadLTE Cat 21
1.4Gbps down / 200Mbps up
LTE-A Cat.20 8CA (2Gbps download)
Cat.20 3CA (316Mbps upload)
Wi-FiDual-Band Wi-Fi ac/b/g/n with MU-MIMOWi-Fi ad, Multi-gigabit Wi-Fi ac/b/g/n with MU-MIMOHi1103 WiFi chip supports 1732Mbps with Wi-Fi and, Multi-gigabit Wi-Fi ac/b/g/n with MU-MIMOWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth5555
Global PositioningGPS, GLONASS, BeiDouGPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS, SBASDual frequency GPS / A-GPS / GLONASS / BDSGPS / A-GPS / GLONASS / BDS
SecuritySamsung KNOX, Security Processing Unit, DRAM encryptionQualcomm Secure Processing Unit, Qualcomm Processor Security, Qualcomm Mobile Security?Samsung KNOX, Security Processing Unit, DRAM encryption
ChargingSamsung Adaptive Fast Charge, Fast Wireless Charging (Qi & PMA)Quick Charge 4+ (USB PD Compatible)SuperCharge 4.5V / 5A low-voltage fast chargingSamsung Adaptive Fast Charge, Fast Wireless Charging (Qi & PMA)