Know your S7 and S7 Edge processors: SD 820 versus Exynos 8890

As Samsung announced, its S7 and S7 Edge will come with two different types of processors: Snapdragon 820 and Exynos 8890. The processor the consumer gets is region-specific – We here in the UAE will get the Exynos variant along with most of Europe, while the US and China markets will the Qualcomm’s latest 820.

So what are the differences? Which one is better?

The new Snapdragon 820 is considered to be vastly improved over its 810 predecessor that ran into several heating issues. The 820 is a quad-core processor made up of Qualcomm’s Kyro cores – two low-performance cores and two high-performance ones. The GPU used is Adreno 530. On the other hand, Samsung uses its custom processor – Exynos 8890 – which is an octa-core made up of four Cortex-A53 cores and four Samsung-made Exynos M1 cores. The GPU used here is Mali T880MP12.


Samsung claims there will be a negligible difference in performance between the two processors and overall S7 models will offer 30 per cent faster CPU performance and 64 per cent faster GPU performance than the S6. But early reviews and benchmarks by Forbes show that there is a disparity in performance, especially in the GPU department. The SD820 performs up to 32 per cent better than the Mali. This for gamers is a serious difference and with more and more games becoming graphically intensive, the Exynos doesn’t seem as future-proof as the Snapdragon.

Quick Charge 3.0

Speed is not the only difference; the SD820 supports Quick Charge 3.0, which charges your battery from 0 per cent to 80 per cent in over 30 minutes. The Exynos supports only Quick Charge 2.0 and Samsung has disabled Quick Charge 3.0 on its Snapdragon variants to keep their models consistent.


The Snapdragon 820 also supports more LTE bands and is more versatile because it is one of the first chips to support LTE-U, which results in faster data transfer speeds. Also the 820 supports WiGig wireless technology, which is around three times faster than normal Wi-Fi data transfers.


One reason Samsung opted for two processors could be that the Exynos is cheaper to produce and secondly it wants to push its own processor to the fore. We will have to wait and see if Samsung will have its own Chipgate issues, especially if one processor outperforms the other by a substantial margin.