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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  • philehidiot - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    A subjective comparison of the two would be good if you can manage it although I appreciate Anandtech is struggling for smartphone reviewers and getting the two models for long enough could be an issue. From my POV my S8 E8895 is pretty slick but you notice the bloatware and it really isn't as smooth as it ought to be. I feel a lot of it is down to poor optimisation of the bloatware which is forced upon you. What I do rather like is the dialer (whilst slow) does look up the number and alert you to "suspected spam" so you can choose to answer the phone as the Savoy Grill or, my personal favourite, the interrogation chamber at Guantanamo Bay.

    Disabling Bixby on this thing is a must as it's just annoying, intrusive and slows everything down. As well as being useless. I took a picture of a chocolate bar, used "Bixby Vision" to try and search for similar things (dunno why you'd want to do this) and it showed me a bag of chocolate dicks. Erm... okay.... thanks, Samsung.
  • coder111 - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    What about AOSP or LineageOS support? I know most people don't care, but I do. Is it more likely that Exynos S8 will get decent support, or Snapdragon one? Because that's the major selling point for me. Until there's LineageOS for Samsung S8, I'll prefer OnePlus5.
  • Notmyusualid - Sunday, July 30, 2017 - link

    No LineageOS just yet, I've just checked. Loaded Batman ROM instead, seems OK. I changed the ROM, as the phone kept updating, re-enabling bloatware, and making the 'buttons' default to disappear each time, for each app. Also, to my annoyance, I could not uninstall Facebook.

    But the biggest thing I've not seen mentioned is the fact that the E8895 is a dual-sim phone, which the Snapdragon is not.

    My S8 Plus, I noted, was 3rd fastest on the planet in Antutu benchmarks, and cost 31,050 THB, from the Samsung store. Now that the ROM is changed, I'm happy.
  • jrapoport - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    so, you say "lets see how hardware and software work together"... yet you don't try the "samsung app" on a "samsung phone"... I wonder how the chrome-based benchmarks would come out on the samsung browser instead of using chrome?

    I know that would make it harder to actually compare apples-to-apples (ha!), but since benchmarks are really already borderline useless, might at least try to make a fairer useless comparison, right?

    safari on iPhone, vs chrome on pixel vs samsung browser on samsung phone... I'm guessing they might have some further optimizations going on there?
  • Infy2 - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    AT apparently no longer provides full featured phone reviews. At this time of the year we have previously seen reviews of Samsung, LG and HTC flagships.
  • jospoortvliet - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    I prefer these unique in-dept dives in hardware over generic reviews you can find on any other site... Great read, as always, though I'd love to see even more about he power usage.

    Also, when the SOC's are so closely matched by low level benches but the PCMark test shows such a huge difference (note only that one, not the browser benchmarks or games) it might be worthwhile to consider the PCMark test might not be entirely objective. Any other way to manually test some of its scenario's like writing etc to verify it isn't (accidentally, I'm sure) slanted towards the Snapdragon?

    Of course it is a reality that there's probably more software optimized for the ubiquitous snapdragon than for the SAMSUNG SOC but with a difference THIS big I think it is warranted to look a bit deeper, ask the vendor perhaps if they have a clue at what might be wrong etcetera.
  • Lau_Tech - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Let's see if this new approach endures with the new iphone
  • Badelhas - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    The only thing missing is the HTC U11 to that comparison
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    6.2 inches of screen! That's huge. My first Android tablet had a 7 inch screen. Yeah, there's a lot less bezel around it, but there's a point where a phone becomes too impractical to carry and use and I feel in the name of specs and selling points, we've long since passed that with flagship devices. I'd love to see flagship specs in maybe a 4 to 4.5 inch device. I have nowhere to carry something that big. I guess if it was my only computing device maybe there'd be an excuse for it, but wireless docking and charging would be a must and I'd still prefer a mix of a laptop for big computing tasks and a small phone for computing/communications while on the road.
  • goatfajitas - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    I hear you, but it isnt that big. It's very close to the iPhone 6+ and 7+ in size even though they have a 5.5 inch screen... That and the 5.8 inch model is even smaller, closer to 5.2 inch models from the past 3-4 years. Anyhow, there are options, but what suits you.

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