Most of you guys probably already know this. Samsung typically dual source chipsets for their flagship devices. Most of us gets Samsung’s Exynos chipset, while selected markets like North America, China, and Japan gets Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset. It varies from year to year, but in general, recent Snapdragon chipsets typically performs a little better.
Exynos VS Snapdragon Samsung S10
For the S10 series, I know there are a couple of videos comparing them already, but I’m still curious to test them out for myself. So I got my hands on a Galaxy S10e with the Snapdragon 855 from Hong Kong, to compare with the Singapore variant that I have here with the Exynos 9820. To make things fair, both phones went through a factory reset. They’re both running on the same WiFi network, same carrier, same settings, they’re signed in to the same accounts, and they have the same apps installed.
The first thing to compare, is of course speed. So in general the Snapdragon variant does seem a little quicker. It’s a little faster to boot up, and it launches apps slightly faster most of the time. But I think the difference here is negligible. A split second here and there isn’t a big deal to me. To me, the bigger differences here are the thermal, and battery performance. This is where the Snapdragon 855 pulls ahead. While using the Snapdragon variant as my main phone, I noticed that it didn’t get as warm as the Exynos variant while gaming, and I’m seeing around 30 to 45 minutes more screen on time on average. This is the result that I got when comparing them side by side as well. While I was comparing the performance and running the benchmarks from Geekbench, I measured the exterior temperature of the phones. In general, it’s about 3 to 4 degree celsius cooler for the Snapdragon variant. In terms of the battery life, by the time I was done with my test, the difference in battery life was about 20%. This includes quite a bit of battery benchmark on geekbench, leaving the phone in standby on mobile data overnight, and using the cameras quite a bit, so it’s not exactly regular usage pattern.
But the difference is definitely there. Like I mentioned, I did test the cameras as well. The rear camera sensors are pretty much the same, but the front camera on the Snapdragon variant is using a Sony sensor instead of a Samsung sensor. Interestingly, I did notice a few differences, even for the rear cameras. But, take this with a grain of salt, since this could all change with a software update. Even though they’re both on the June security patch, the Snapdragon variant I have here is running an older camera app without the new QR scanner feature. So, for regular day time shots with the rear cameras, they look similar. If you pixel peep you can tell that images seems a bit sharper on the main camera for the Exynos variant, but for the wide angle camera it’s the other way round.
I also noticed that the HDR processing seems a bit better on Exynos variant as well. At night, the main camera on the Exynos variant seems to produce sharper images with more details at the expense of a bit more grain and noise. It’s also a more contrasty look compared to the Snapdragon variant, which seems to lift the shadows a little bit more, producing a flatter look. For the wide angle camera, the ability to capture a sharper image on the Snapdragon variant becomes even more apparent. Night mode seems about the same for both cameras, just that the Exynos variant produces slightly more saturated colours. Front camera wise, kind of the same thing with the Exynos variant going for a more contrasty look, and the Snapdragon variant going for a flatter look. In lowlight, the Snapdragon variant produces brighter looking photos as well. In general, I think the Snapdragon variant performs better here.
Overall, it’s a mixed bag. For some shots I prefer the Exynos, some the Snapdragon. They’re both good enough for my needs, and I’m okay with either of them. So in the end, the Snapdragon variant does provide a noticeably better experience, especially in terms of thermal and battery performance. And, it supports FM Radio as well, which is kinda nice. However, I still wouldn’t recommend getting it, because it is quite a lot more expensive, and there isn’t any local warranty. Which is a shame, because I think the S10e with Snapdragon 855 is the best compact phone that money can buy right now.
It’s probably a pipe dream to hope that Samsung will just sell the Snapdragon variant globally, because it’s probably easier and cheaper for them to use their own chipset. So the only thing I can realistically hope for, is for them to make better chipsets so that consumers don’t have to feel like they’re being shortchanged in the future.