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
+ microSD
Battery 3000 mAh (11.55 Wh)
3500 mAh (13.48 Wh)
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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  • Nullify - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    Stupid video. Opening Apps means nothing.

    The better one is where they test loading large photos and applying effects in real time or rendering 4K video. iPhone 7 absolutely DESTROYS the OnePlus 5. And it's a year old phone on an older process while the 8895/835 are on 10nm.

    Even funnier is watching you cry over on Ars when the iPhone 7 spanked every other phone in these App opening videos and you claimed the tests were flawed. Now that the OnePlus 5 opens Apps faster (marginally) suddenly these types of tests are valid? Hypocrite much?

    Please stick around Anand. There are a lot of intelligent posters here who have a very good understanding of processor design (including the excellent staff here). I can't wait to hear the responses to your comments.
  • bigboxes - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    You fanboys are really something. Gotta protect your favorite company from the naysayers at all cost!
  • Galid - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    I don't think you get it peeps, benchmarks here are sustained, opening apps is only using a small % of potential. When the apps/os starts to ask more, most of the android phones have the same problem, underclocking. Yep, it's easy to make a blazing fast processor but it's another feat to make it survive 100% load without underclocking.

    You might be able to put an 8 cylinder engine into a honda civic and use it to drive around town but push it a little bit too much and the car will suffer heavily. The frame won't support the torque.
  • Irish_adam - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    First of all your beloved iphone will also drop its clock rates after a couple of minutes because they are all passively cooled and cant sustain high clocks. Second of all i cant believe people still look at these benchmarks and think that its the hardware thats making the difference. We will probably never know who has the best processor because unless you can still android on an iphone or ios on an android phone we will never be able to determine how much an affect the related drivers and software are having on the scores. Its like running a benchmark on a mac vs a windows PC, you could have identical hardware but that doesnt mean the scores will be the same or even close.
  • Irish_adam - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

  • akdj - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link

    It’s fairly simple to play the same game on the different hardware, compare from there. Plenty of parity in apps as well ...plenty that 'tax' the SoC and will throttle faster in poorly designed hardware.
  • nikon133 - Sunday, July 30, 2017 - link

    I'm a bit surprised that so many are still so focused on raw power. Smart phones have matured so nicely that many of these performance differences are really becoming pointless for majority of users.

    My colleague - arguably power user - still drives Galaxy S6 and runs everything he requires in very agreeable manner, including Kodi media center with handful of add-ons. I expect he will shift to S8 this year, since his phone is around 2 years old... but that's really just because he can, not because he needs to.

    On the other hand, my other colleague has recently purchased new VW Tiguan, and after having fair share of problems between iPhone 7 and cars' infotainment, he has decided to move to S8. He is long term iPhone user - from iPhone 4, if memory serves - and one of company's executives, so cost is not an issue, and he has been replacing his iPhones annually. Definitely not biased towards Android, but currently very happy user of one - according to him, Android Auto is just so much better and more reliable than Apple CarPlay, in his experience (limited to Tiguan). I don't know all the details about his experience with either, but gentleman is one of our company's leading IT specialists and I would expect that problems he was experiencing with iPhone were not typical end-user nonsense.

    Which leads me to my conclusion - ultimate performance is nice to have, but only if phone doesn't sacrifice functionality. I was iPhone user, before I have switched to Windows Phone (nd still am using Lumia 950 XL as my personal phone)... but judging from experience with my work-issued Nexus 5X, Android is maturing really nicely. Even with aging hardware such as 5X is (Snap 808), phone is still smooth as with my work needs, and really reliable. First time ever I'm starting to think that my next personal phone will be Android.
  • tamalero - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    It just shows that certain tests are heavily optimized in IOS.
    Because if you see the rest of the benchmarks.. the Galaxy S8 pretty much is above the iphones in most tests.
  • Galid - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    They are not optimized, the iPhones doesn't underclock while in sustained benchmarks, every android phones do underclock.
  • Nshaikh - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    Sorry Dude but thats not true enough to fool people around, well the reality is that since laat year iOS device as in Appla has faced a problem of Sales in India besides Android is always a life saver and speaking about Samsung well in Reality my S6 Edge is way better than any of your iOS devices even the latest one does have the same clearity but lacks in switching back and even u can't shut apps off or can't install any pirate softwares without jail break means to say rooting an Android Device and making it a PC is possible but even after Jail-Break u can't make an Apple device turn into Android but an Adroid can be coverted to any platform...

    The Android powered device carries Hardware that ate Super cool to Competite the Apple iOS device.

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