Final Words

Any discussion about the Galaxy S8’s performance begins with its two SoCs, which have some things in common, but a lot more differentiating the two. At a low level, both are built on the same Samsung 10nm LPE process. But past that, what the chip designers at Qualcomm and Samsung LSI built with that process are at times very different.

In terms of processing elements, the Snapdragon 835 uses four semi-custom Cortex-A73 CPU cores for its big cluster, while the Exynos 8895 employs four of Samsung’s custom M2 cores. Our lower-level tests show almost no overall difference in integer IPC between the two CPU cores, with each microarchitecture showing a small advantage in a few, very specific workloads. The M2 in the E8895 delivers better overall floating-point IPC, but on the whole there is not a big difference in CPU performance between the S835 and E8895, thanks to their similar IPCs and clockspeeds.

Focusing solely on the hardware’s capabilities ignores a vital piece of the puzzle, however. Software plays an important role too, particularly the parameters that control a phone’s CPU scheduling and DVFS systems. OEMs fine tune these parameters to find the right balance between performance, power consumption, and thermal limits. It’s only when running system-level tests such as PCMark, which runs more realistic workloads that use standard Android API calls, where these effects become evident and where we see a noticeable difference in performance between the two S8 models. The S835 S8 performs almost 30% better than the E8895 model overall in PCMark, with a 49% advantage in the Writing test where thread migration between the little and big clusters plays a prominent role. The storage performance of our E8895 S8 sample, which came with Samsung UFS 2.1 NAND, was significantly better than our S835 S8’s Toshiba UFS 2.0 NAND, however.

When it comes to running apps, the E8895 S8’s performance is comparable to last year’s flagships, while the S835 S8 is among the fastest currently available. There’s another aspect of performance, though, that’s more difficult to measure: user interface responsiveness and fluidity. This is an area where Galaxy phones have struggled in the past. I only had access to the E8895 S8 for a brief period (all of which was used for testing and collecting data), and I did not have the S835 model at the same time for a side-by-side comparison, so I’ll reserve my subjective opinion about UI performance to the S835 model. Overall I found it to be very fluid. Not quite as smooth as Google’s Pixel, but noticeably better than the Galaxy S7 (S820), which never felt as fast as some of its peers. The S835 S8’s performance perfectly mirrors the smooth and fluid design of its chassis.

Both models deliver excellent graphics performance, although the E8895 model and its 20-core Mali-G71 GPU is a little faster in most workloads. The flipside is that the S835 model’s Adreno 540 offers much better efficiency, prolonging battery life by an extra hour in our GFXBench Manhattan ES 3.1 battery test.

Peak performance is good for bragging rights, but what really matters when playing the most demanding games is sustained performance. Interestingly, both S8 models deliver the same steady-state performance after throttling GPU frequency to stay within their thermal limits. While neither SoC can maintain peak frequency for very long, sustained performance is still excellent, which is important if you want to use the S8 with Samsung's Gear VR system.

Battery life has also improved significantly from the S7 to the S8, even though there’s been no change in battery capacity. This comes thanks in large part to Samsung's 10nm LPE process, which has allowed chip designers to rebalance their designs to curtail power consumption while still offering a modest performance increase. Overall Samsung has definitely improved overall efficiency for this generation, however the S835 model has a clear advantage over the E8895 S8. This is particularly obvious when looking at GPU power consumption.

If you’re upgrading from a previous Android or Galaxy phone, especially one that predates the S7, the Galaxy S8’s performance and battery life will not disappoint, no matter which SoC is used. Between these two, however, across all of the tests I've run, the S835 model is certainly the better of the two in terms of those metrics.

Battery Life & Thermal Stability
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • D3v - Thursday, August 3, 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.
  • Dosi - Friday, August 11, 2017 - link

    so you never tried to swipe? from left to right or right to left? (it is a very handy feature i missing from android or WP) don't even mention the ForceTouch/3DTouch or whatever you call it...
    and the wireless charge...that's a feature i never used it with my SGS4 or L1520 or N6, why?
    slow, and you have to place into exact place (or it worked that way by that time) and i wanted to use lifted up used for 10 minutes took 5 percent off, put it back charged 2% used again for 10 minutes 5% off trying to revive a person 100 times who's gonna die anyway, and again it was back then 3-4 years ago (still works that way with my N6), while i'm on cable, i can use my phone and yet charging. Until the phones have Wireless Electricity charging option ( works like WiFi) i don't care about WirelessCharging. I still can use my phone for 2 days( bowth N6 and i6s+) without charging as an it, with my samsung s7 or s6 had 1 day battery life with same usage...
    and who says it's feature phone(not you), just simply give an android phone to a Blind person...
    NOT-A-FREAKIN-FEATURE phone, come in more handy for persons who has disability
    yea bit bulky(and after 5 years getting software update), but in this year igonna change
    samsung's Edge version phones mostly not working when holding like normal phone as grabbing on both sides, because has bad side rejection, tried mate, had s6-7 i had problems with these. First thing was for me to disable anything related to "edges".
    and don't tell me to hold a phone with 2-3 finder on the bottom while "standing" try it for 2-3 hours...
    I tried the all the sides, each one of them has their Pros/Cons for, constantly using stock Android and iOS(non-jailbroken)/macOS device and Windows(PC/Phone) as well (working in IT).
    So i know the sides, understand most of the person's view, but not accept if somebody has problem with sightseeing...if you are not 100% used the systems, you were just a guest.
    There is no Good without Bad...
  • 12552 - Sunday, January 7, 2018 - link

    Ever try spwiping from the edge of the screen
  • Smartphoneuser - Monday, September 25, 2017 - link

    Can't stand fanboy sheep
  • Galid - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    ''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.''

    Really funny comment, ''AT THE MOMENT'', more like since the very first freaking iPhone... Is there any phone designed by apple that didn't dominate at least 50% of the benchmarks for nearly a year after it's release? I remember seeing new phones rolling out comparing against 1 year old iPhones and loosing in some benchmarks... Most of the complaints they had was for the design that stayed the same for a while but never for performance EVER.

    Android owner for the last 4 years, Nexus 4 died, galaxy s6 died nexus 6p died and now on a galaxy s7. I'm a performance freak, what am I doing with MY LIFE?
  • milan982 - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link

    You are the only one who claims that Snapdragon 835 is faster than Exynos 8895. LOL
  • Cbo2plus2 - Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - link

    you are so very wrong - where do you get your information from? apple is by far the largest tech company in the world with Samsung coming in a distant 2nd. its closer to apple being 1.5x what Samsung is - you need to do your own research instead of regurgitating fun facts you hear at a party. SMH
  • Cbo2plus2 - Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - link
  • djc208 - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Really?! Troll much. There are so many reasons you can't really compare iOS and Android on anything other than a generic level it's not even worth discussing.
  • siamms - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    YOU SIR know what you're talking about;-)

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now