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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  • oranos - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    More fake tests. Exynos version on screen time close to an hour more than snapdragon. Keep running these sponsored "tests"
  • tuxRoller - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    Umm, ok.
    AT is rolling in that sweet, um, Qualcomm?, money.
    The tests were pretty even, and I don't recall having seen any one else run these spec tests against both chipsets while using the same phone form factor.
    Is it super important that exynos stomp snapdragon?
  • oranos - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    im not going to bother explaining simpleton things to you. if you have no perspective on marketing im not here to lecture you.
  • tuxRoller - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - link

    Marketing? All the Qualcomm ads?
    Obviously you have evidence that their tests were faked.
  • Meteor2 - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Why do you always call the Moto Z Play the 'Moto Z Play Droid'?
  • Matt Humrick - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Because our review unit is the Verizon Droid version
  • Meteor2 - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    Presumably you know that people outside the US read Anandtech too? I have little idea what the 'Verizon Droid version' is, and I imagine nor do most readers. Verizon is a cellular network in the US, right? Is their version of the Z Play different somehow?
  • Matt Humrick - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    The hardware is the same, but the Droid edition comes with Verizon's bloatware. I do not know if there are any other differences. I did not have the unlocked version to test, so I kept the Droid label to be safe. Based on past experience, it's very common for phones from different regions/carriers to come with different hardware and software configurations that affect performance.
  • samer1970 - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    Samsung fails because they decided to make the back of the phone glass. which is slippery and a fingerprint magnet.

    This is the only reason I dont like Samsung phones today , and it seems they still insist on using Glass on the back of the phone that is a fingerprint magnet and will be destroyed if fall on the ground.

    unlike plastic cover or Metal ones.
  • UtilityMax - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    Wait a sec. You use a smartphone without a protective case? Please. Do you think it's some kind of a fashion accessory? Put a case on it.

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