The Samsung Galaxy S8’s headline features are its edge-to-edge Infinity Display and striking new design. Of course it still comes packed with the latest hardware and technology like previous Galaxy phones, including iris recognition, wireless charging, and a flagship SoC. Actually, there are two different SoCs for the S8 and S8+. Most regions around the world will get Samsung's Exynos 8895, while regions that require a CDMA modem, such as the US and China, will get Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835. Both SoCs are built on Samsung's 10nm LPE process and are paired with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 64GB of UFS NAND.

While no market receives both types of phones through official channels, with the wonders of modern shipping, anyone with a bit of time and patience would have little trouble tracking down the out-of-region version of the phone. Consequently, for the nerdy among us, we simply have to ask: how do these dueling SoCs compare? Which SoC – and consequently which phone – is better?

Today we’ll delve into the performance differences between the Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895 to help answer those questions. We'll also see how well they work with the Galaxy S8’s other hardware and software when we evaluate its system performance, gaming performance, and battery life.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Series
  Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy S8+
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (US, China, Japan)
4x Kryo 280 Performance @ 2.36GHz
4x Kryo 280 Efficiency @ 1.90GHz
Adreno 540 @ 670MHz

Samsung Exynos 8895 (rest of world)
4x Exynos M2 @ 2.31GHz
4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.69GHz
ARM Mali-G71 MP20 @ 546MHz
Display 5.8-inch 2960x1440 (18.5:9)
SAMOLED (curved edges)
6.2-inch 2960x1440 (18.5:9)
SAMOLED (curved edges)
Dimensions 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm
155 grams
159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm
173 grams
RAM 4GB LPDDR4 (US)
NAND 64GB (UFS)
+ microSD
Battery 3000 mAh (11.55 Wh)
non-replaceable
3500 mAh (13.48 Wh)
non-replaceable
Front Camera 8MP, f/1.7, Contrast AF
Rear Camera 12MP, 1.4µm pixels, f/1.7, dual-pixel PDAF, OIS, auto HDR, LED flash
Modem Snapdragon X16 LTE (Integrated)
2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 16/13)

Samsung LTE (Integrated)
2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 16/13)
SIM Size NanoSIM
Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MU-MIMO, BT 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS/Glonass/Galileo/BDS
Connectivity USB Type-C, 3.5mm headset
Features fingerprint sensor, heart-rate sensor, iris scanner, face unlock, fast charging (Qualcomm QC 2.0 or Adaptive Fast Charging), wireless charging (WPC & PMA), IP68, Mobile HDR Premium
Launch OS Android 7.0 with TouchWiz

Our initial look at Snapdragon 835 revealed that its Kryo 280 performance cores are loosely based on ARM’s Cortex-A73 while the efficiency cores are loosely based on the Cortex-A53. Samsung's Exynos 8895 also has an octa-core big.LITTLE CPU configuration, but uses four of its own custom M2 cores paired with four A53 cores. Samsung introduced its first custom CPU core, the M1, last year. Compared to ARM’s A72, integer IPC was similar but the M1 trailed the A72 in efficiency. The M2 does not appear to be a radical redesign, but rather a tweaked M1 that offers the usual promises of improved performance and efficiency. Are the changes enough to top Qualcomm’s flagship SoC?

Battery life is one of the most important metrics for a smartphone. A bunch of cool features and lightning quick performance will do little to temper your frustration if the phone is dead by lunchtime. This was an issue for the Galaxy S6, which came with a small-capacity battery that contributed to its at-times disappointing battery life. Samsung increased their battery capacity for the S7 models, but there’s no further increase for the S8s. The smaller S8 retains the same 3000 mAh capacity as the S7, while the the S8+ drops 100 mAh compared to the S7 edge. Any improvement to battery life for this generation will need to come from more efficient hardware, and indeed at least for Qualcomm, this is precisely the angle they've been promoting to hardware developers and the public alike.

Previous Galaxy phones delivered good performance, but shortfalls in one or more performance metrics have kept them from being a class leader. Will the updates to the S8’s hardware and software finally smooth away these performance wrinkles? Will efficiency improve with the new 10nm SoCs? Did Samsung reduce power consumption in other areas? It’s time to take a closer look at the Galaxy S8.

CPU & Memory Performance
POST A COMMENT

129 Comments

View All Comments

  • PlugPulled - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Lol Apple destroying every other devices for the past 5 years! No chance these companies are going to survive with the might of Apple. Reply
  • mkaibear - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Not sure that Samsung (equity and assets roughly 1.5x Apple) is in any danger of being killed off by Apple, tbh. Nor HTC, LG, Huawei, or especially Google.

    There's no doubting Apple are top of the heap at the moment with their hardware design. It's just a shame they've got to couple it with iOS really.
    Reply
  • melgross - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Nope. Love iOS, can’t stand Android. Just a matter of choice. Reply
  • arsjum - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    You are definitely right about it being a matter of choice, melgross. Love Android, can't stand iOS. Reply
  • SpartanJet - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Agreed ADroid is garbage. iOS is fine for a phone OS. Reply
  • raptormissle - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    I think you mean iOS is fine for a feature phone - which it is. Reply
  • Nullify - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    After being laughed off Arstechnica you're going to try to pull that stuff here? I can't wait until you try to argue processor architecture and get exposed as the fool you are. Reply
  • Hyper72 - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Meh, either OS is fine with me. Live and let live... Reply
  • Sttm - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    Yep exactly, I tried an iPhone with the 6s+ but I couldnt stand it. Sure it was smoother than my Samsung phones, but no wireless charging, LCD screen looks like garbage after using OLED, no Always on Display for my night time clock, way too bulky, and there is no back button. That lack of back button was the real dealbreaker. The whole Apple input setup, having to constantly go to the home screen, it was just so annoying.

    Reminds me of the issue I had with Mac for years, no right button, or side buttons...
    Reply
  • D3v - Thursday, August 03, 2017 - link

    Never tried double pressing the home button to move around your opened apps? The ones with a need for a back button have a soft button on screen. I'm an android guy but still, iOS is easy AF to move around in. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now