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
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  • goatfajitas - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    /edit - buy what suits you Reply
  • zodiacfml - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    It is not that big. The "taller" aspect ratio exaggerates the diagonal. To the article, the 10nm SoC now seems more valuable than benchmarks/reviews I've seen from other sites. Since the Pixel is going to be expensive, taller, no storage expansion and without a headphone jack, I have no ideal phone yet this year. The Mi Mix 2 or the LG V30 might. Reply
  • philehidiot - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    Just as a side point, I went from a HTC M9 to an S8. I tried and tested the S8 and S8+. Bear in mind I have small hands to the point where I also pack a pair of socks to compensate. If you're American or not quite so crude that means I prefer a 9mm to a .45. I found the elongated screen of the S8 to be just about tolerable and the advantages for multitasking do outweigh the occasional situation where I need to reach the far end of the screen and can't do it. I suspect most people with normal hands will find the S8 to be perfectly fine from a usability standpoint. Certainly the S8+ I would strongly recommend you try a live model before you buy and perhaps consider waiting for the new Note if big screens are your bag.

    As for the carrying something that big you haven't heard the worst of it. It's well built - teardowns show this. Equally it's still made of glass for crying out loud. You NEED a case (and what's the point in making something so aesthetically amazing when you have to cover it??!!) and not a light one either. I have a leather fold out case which allows me to watch stuff on the phone at an angle and also takes some cards. Interestingly, it has two magnets right next to where the cards live. I got locked out of my hotel room due to this. Regardless, the necessary beef and size of case required to protect such a fragile device means the size is doubled. If HTC had continued down the metal line I'd have gone with them but it's all about bloody glass these days and I'm sick of it.
    Reply
  • Tttimothy2355 - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Apple stocks galaxy awesome Reply
  • syxbit - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    >>"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"

    Why would you write such a blatant lie. It's not LOOSELY based at all. It's >95% the same chip. QCOM have made minor tweaks just to be able to market it as their own design.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Where would the A10 fall on the ratio/GHz chart I wonder?

    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph11540/sams...
    Reply
  • name99 - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    We can guess.
    You can see the A9 results here:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/9686/the-apple-iphon...

    Eyeballing it, they are on average about 1.5x the current A73 results.
    A10 results are about 50% faster again, while running at the same frequency as the CPUs referenced in the article, so basically about twice the IPC of the current A73 crop of champions.

    One thing that stands out in comparing the SPEC results across all these devices is the massive jump in 175.vpr. A9 (which, like I said, is at around 1.5x for most results) has a value of 2017. This is about in line with what we see for Snapdragon 821. Then we get these massively (2x larger than I'd expect) scores for the other high-end ARM cores.

    My guess is that something changed in the compiler in the past year or so. (Since the article doesn't say whether gcc or llvm was used, I can't investigate further.) My guess is likewise that this wasn't something nefarious, some "cheat" to make SPEC results look better --- no-one cares about SPEC2000 on ARM64 anyway --- but rather some general improvement in the compiler (perhaps loop unrolling/data placement, but most likely autovectorization) that managed to MASSIVELY improve ARM64 performance on this particular piece of code.
    Presumably (if the change is in LLVM...) Apple picks up the same improvement, but sadly we never got to see the A10 SPEC results. Maybe A11?

    So summary
    - Apple's IPC seems to now be at around 2x ARM competitors for most purposes. (It's at around 1.25x Intel's; but to be fair Intel can clock higher; but to be fair Intel uses more juice)
    - something interesting happened to 175.vpr on ARM64 in the past year or so, and if anyone knows, they should speak up!
    Reply
  • Nullify - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    I was hoping for Anand to do a deep dive on the A10. Perhaps they're saving it for the A11? Should be the first ARM core in the world to break 4,000 single core on Geekbench, making it a full 2X faster than the 8895 or 835. It's truly amazing how much further ahead Apple is. Reply
  • tuxRoller - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    How big are those some cores, again?
    It's not like this is magic, and these companies know his to make very high IPC if you don't care about cost. Apple has built a massive core, and they pay the price in silicon.
    ARM, and most of their licensees, are optimizing for silicon area efficiency, not absolute performance.

    http://cdn.wccftech.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10...
    Reply
  • Meteor2 - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    I think that, as alluded to above, Android and iOS are diverging so much that there's little point comparing Apple IPC to ARM or whoever, you may as well compare it to Power or SPARC. Reply

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