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Samsung Galaxy S21 India variant with Exynos 2100 clearly inferior to Snapdragon 888 variant, find benchmarks

Extensive benchmarks from one of the top tech websites find that the Exynos 2100 variant of the Galaxy S21 Ultra runs hotter, slower and sips more battery compared to the Snapdragon 888 variant.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | February 8, 2021 | Updated 15:51 IST


  • Benchmarks reveal that the Galaxy S21 Ultra with Exynos inferior to Snapdragon 888 variant.
  • In India Samsung sells the Galaxy S21 series with Exynos 2100 chipset.
  • Benchmarks reveal that Exynos 2100 prone to throttling, lower performance and high battery use.

Initial hints were that this time, at least this time, the top Galaxy S series phones powered by Samsung's own Exynos processor will be as good as the phones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. But that doesn't seem to be the case if we are to go by latest benchmarks published by one of the top tech sites in the world. We are talking of the Galaxy S21 series, specifically the Galaxy S21 Ultra, powered by Exynos 2100 and the same S21 Ultra powered by Snapdragon 888. The benchmarks reveal that the Galaxy S21 Ultra using Exynos 2100 is clearly inferior to the Snapdragon 888 variant. It is worth noting that in India, Samsung sells the Exynos 2100 variants of the Galaxy S21 series.

The different, this time around, seems to be even bigger compared to the Exynos S20 and Snapdragon S20 last year. Like always, Samsung in India has released the Exynos variants of the S21 series phone while globally in major markets, such as the US market, the company sells the Galaxy S21 phones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. Now, AnandTech, which often runs deep and through benchmarks, finds that the Galaxy S21 Ultra powered by the Exynos 2100 performs poorly, consumes more battery and runs hotter compared to the S21 Ultra using Snapdragon 888.

Unlike last year, or a few times before that, this time both the Exynos 2100 and the Snapdragon 888 use similar cores as well as similar manufacturing process. Both have off-the-shelf ARM X1 high-speed processor, paired with 3 high-performance A78 cores and four power-efficient A55 cores. Both also use Samsung's 5nm LPE manufacturing process, which ideally should have given them similar power and efficiency profile.

On paper, the Exynos 2100 looks more powerful because it runs its cores at higher speed. It also has more system cache of 6MB. But in practice, AnandTech found that its high-speed on paper was sort of misleading because the Exynos 2100 runs hot and throttles often. It rarely ran at its advertised speeds. Instead, it often runs slower than the Snapdragon 888, which powers the global variants of the S21 series phones as well as will power many other high-end Android phones this year.

Specifically, here are key takeaways from the AnandTech report:

-- The X1 core in the Snapdragon 888 is 5.1 per cent faster than the same core in Exynos 2100 in integer ops in SPEC. On floating point, the Snapdragon core is 1.6 per cent faster.

-- Despite being faster in SPEC, the Snapdragon 888 X1 core consumes 10 per cent less power compared to the X1 in the Exynos 2100.

-- At similar display settings, the battery life of the S21 Ultra with the Snapdragon 888 is over 1 hour more than the battery performance of S21 Ultra with Exynos 2100. The website notes that this is despite the more power-efficient display in the S21 Ultra and says that with the S21 and the S21+ using Exynos 2100 the battery will be even worse because those two phones do not have similar power-efficient panels.

-- In terms of graphics performance, neither the S21 Ultra with Exynos 2100 nor the one with Snapdragon 888 impresses AnandTech. But the S21 Ultra with Exynos 2100 is particularly disappointing. Here is what the website says, "In terms of sustained performance, although the Exynos 2100 is a large generational upgrade, it still falls below that of last-generation Snapdragon 865 devices, and naturally also the newer Snapdragon 888. The benchmark figures here also pretty much correspond to the real-world gaming performance of the phones the Exynos S21 Ultra fared not only worse than the Snapdragon S21 Ultra, and also worse than a Snapdragon S20 Ultra or Note20 Ultra."

-- In conclusion, the website notes: "More worrisome for the Exynos is its weird clock behaviour, with the new chip really struggling in maintaining its peak frequencies other than for very brief moments -- the Snapdragon 888's X1 core had no such issues. My Exynos S21 Ultra chip bin was quite terrible here, but the better silicon on my second S21 doesn't improve things too much either."

Overall, AnandTech seems disappointed with both the Exynos 2100 and the Snapdragon 888 when compared to what Apple is managing with the iPhone 12 series and the A14 processor. It writes, "Overall, this generation seems a bit lacklustre... Qualcomm, while seemingly having executed things quite well this generation, seem to be limited by the process node. We can't really blame them for this if they couldn't get the required TSMC volume, but it also means we're nowhere near in closing the gap with Apple's SoCs."

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