The Samsung Galaxy S20 series launched in February with a pricing starting at £799 in the UK for the Samsung Galaxy S20 4G with 128GB storage.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 features the  Exynos 990 chipset in the UK while the US has the phone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865.

In previous years the Exynos models have come under fire due to their poor performance compared to the Qualcomm equivalent. Last year tests done by AnandTech showed the Snapdragon 855 ahead of the Exynos 9820 in almost every test they carried out. Furthermore, the chipset was criticised for its poor battery performance.

Is the same true this year? Looks like it (but it is closer)

Samsung S20 series – Exynos 990 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Geekbench results

Android Central has now done a performance comparison which confirms the performance differences from the previous leaks.

In their results they achieved:

DeviceSingle-coreMulti-core
Galaxy S20 Exynos 990 (120Hz)9142761
Galaxy S20 Exynos 990 (60Hz)9082737
Galaxy S20 SD865 (120Hz)8433087
Galaxy S20 SD865 (60Hz)8172878
Galaxy S20 Ultra SD865 (120Hz)8943206
Galaxy S20 Ultra SD865 (60Hz)8983188
Realme X50 SD865 (90Hz)9093349

This would give the Exynos 990 a 8.4% advantage over the Snapdragon 865 for the single-core when using 120Hz but the Qualcomm is 12% higher on the multi-core score.

The previous leaks had both the Exynos 990 and Snapdragon 865 scoring a bit higher, but the differences in performance remain around the same.

The original leaks gave the Samsung Exynos 990 a 2% advantage over Qualcomm for the single-core performance, but Qualcomm shoots out ahead with a 20% advantage with the multi-core performance.

Samsung S20 Exynos 990 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 3D Mark

GFXBench Aztec Ruins

DeviceOpenGL (High)OpenGL 1440p (High)Vulkan 1440p (High)
Galaxy S20 Exynos 990 (120Hz)332220
Galaxy S20 Exynos 990 (60Hz)211312
Galaxy S20 SD865 (120Hz)292120
Galaxy S20 SD865 (60Hz)292020

In OpenGL this would give the Exynos and lead of 13% using 120Hz. The results for 60Hz are very low so I would say something went wrong there.

In OpenGL 1440p the difference between 21 and 22 is 4.76%.

3DMark Sling Shot Extreme

DeviceOverallGraphicsPhysics
Galaxy S20 Exynos 990 (120Hz)675783934018
Galaxy S20 Exynos 990 (60Hz)667383503919
Galaxy S20 SD865 (120Hz)666676604586
Galaxy S20 SD865 (60Hz)640382883756

Barely any difference with the overall score – 1.37% but Samsung is ahead by almost 10% with graphics though 12% behind with physics.

3DMark Sling Shot Extreme

DeviceOverallGraphicsPhysics
Galaxy S20 Exynos 990 (120Hz)500063203170
Galaxy S20 Exynos 990 (60Hz)562372873161
Galaxy S20 SD865 (120Hz)613477313563
Galaxy S20 SD865 (60Hz)558381302663

These results are a little more confusing, The Qualcomm is out ahead by 23% when using the phone in 120Hz but the Samsung is a touch ahead at 60Hz (0.7%).

Samsung S20 series – Exynos 990 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 PCMark results

DevicePerformanceWeb BrowsingVideo EditingWritingPhoto EditingData Manipulation
Galaxy S20 Exynos 990 (120Hz)1198712053767611056280178636
Galaxy S20 Exynos 990 (60Hz)1194512307761410789282558515
Galaxy S20 SD865 (120Hz)1193310626743111566266769939
Galaxy S20 SD865 (60Hz)102658021592111427296097790

In the PCMark 2.0 testing the Exynos 990 performed well with almost no difference between the two chipsets for the overall score (0.45%). Though the break down of scores does reveal some interesting differences with the Exynos 5% ahead for photo editing, but the SD865 ahead by 15% in data manipulation.

Samsung S20 series – Exynos 990 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Battery Life

Battery life performance is a little harder to benchmark, and real-world usage varies even more between people. The Exynos chipsets have notoriously performed worse than Snapdragon for the battery. In my opinion, and I suspect most peoples, the above benchmarks don't really matter a few percent here and there will make no noticeable difference day to day. Battery life is another matter.

While a lot of people claim that the Exynos 990 is better than previous generations there are a lot of people over at Reddit reporting issues in comparison to their US-based compatriots.

At the top of this thread, a user with the SD865 claims a screen on time with 120Hz of 6 hours with two edits following stating 7.5h then 8h15 as the phone optimised the battery. This sentiment appears to be shared with other Snapdragon users

The next comment down has an Exynos user claiming 3H44m screen on-time running at 120Hz – that is basically half the battery performance. Obviously, we don't know how the two users used their phones, however at least one other person with the S20+ on Exynos running their phone at 60hz QHD+ has 3h45min SOT with and19% remaining, so not ideal.

One Exynos user had an S20 Ultra and they claim 8h42m screen on time but this is using a 60Hz refresh rate.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 vs Samsung Exynos 990 Specification

This year both the Exynos 990 and Snapdragon 865 are made on the same 7nm fabrication process, so Samsung may be able to improve the battery performance with this generation.

The CPU designs have important differences that reveal why the Samsung underperforms compared to the Qualcomm.

The Samsung Exynos 990 uses:

  • 2x Exynos M5 @ ? GHz
  • 2x Cortex A76 @ ? GHz
  • 4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.95GHz

Qualcomm uses:

  • 1x Cortex A77 @ 2.84GHz 1x512KB pL2
  • 3x Cortex A77 @ 2.42GHz 3x256KB pL2
  • 4x Cortex A55@ 1.80GHz 4x128KB pL2

We don't know much about the Exynos M5 but it obviously helps the Samsung achieve higher results for the single-core speeds. However, the inclusion of the older Cortex A76 cores is likely the reason why the Samsung Exynos 99 falls behind with the multi-core score.

The Exynos 990 is likely to be the last chipset that uses the custom cores made by Samsung, they have now ditched designing custom CPU cores themselves and will instead likely use  Arm Cortex designed moving forward.

Considering the consistently poor performance of Exynos vs Snapdragon it is perhaps no surprise that Samsung has given up on their custom designs.

Qualcomm SD865 is 5G only. Samsung Exynos 990 has 4G variants

The new Samsung Galaxy S20 series launched yesterday and it was confirmed that there will be 4G models of the phone. However, these models are only available in the UK/EU or where the Exynos variant is launch.

In the US where they use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 you only have a 5G option. We already know Qualcomm insisted on using the 5G X55 modem, so it is clear that Samsung are using a 4G modem on some of their Exynos 990 based devices (or just disabling the 5G bit).

Samsung Galaxy S20 Series Pricing

Samsung Galaxy S20USEuropeUK
4G 128GB storageN/A€899£799
5G 128GB$999€999£899
Samsung Galaxy S20+USEuropeUK
4G 128GB storageN/A€999N/A
5G 128GB$1,199€1,099£999
5G 512GB$1,299€1,249N/A
Samsung Galaxy S20 UltraUSEuropeUK
5G 128GB$1,399€1,349£1,199
5G 512GB$1,599€1,549£1,399
Samsung Galaxy Z FlipUSEuropeUK
4G 256GB$1,380€1,480£1,300

[Originally posted on  31st January 2020 ]

[2nd update Feb 12, 2020]

Last update on 2020-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API