Samsung Galaxy S7 Snapdragon vs. Exynos: What’s the Difference?

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is one of the most powerful smartphones out in the market today. With a large 3000 mAh battery, you can enjoy up to 22 hours of talk time and up to 62 hours of music. It also comes with a generous 4GB RAM allocation and top of the line processors to handle multitasking.

But here’s the thing: Samsung has announced that there will be two versions of this phone. While the variants are practically identical, the processors are different. The US version handsets will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor while the Samsung-made Exynos processor will be used for the European and Asian markets. Both can still run the phone at the advertised speeds.

But the question remains: why is this so?

The Economics of Smartphone Production

There are a number of reasons. First of them is cost. Jim McGregor, Tirias Research analyst, stated that the Exynos chip is cheaper for Samsung to integrate in its handsets. On the other hand, the Snapdragon is more expensive because it’s a premium processing unit.

Another reason is that the chips are tied to the local cellular technology and spectrum use in various countries. The Qualcomm is tuned for carrier aggregation in the U.S. This means the data transfer speeds could receive a big boost by aggregating bandwidth from multiple bands and service providers. This technology is helpful for dual-SIM handsets with connectivity to networks such as Verizon and AT&T.

Samsung’s own Exynos chip also supports carrier aggregation like its counterpart, but this is optimized to work on specific networks. Its main strength lies in being tuned for GSM and LTE networks deployed in European and Asian countries like the Philippines.

Performance Matters

Now let’s take a look at the performance hardware-wise.

There have been a few processor speed tests conducted online, mainly to test how the two processors could load apps and switch between them. Initial results showed that the Snapdragon had the advantage in single-core CPU tests and GPU benchmarks, while the Exynos took the lead in multi-core tests.

Further testing on the other hand showed that the Exynos Galaxy S7 variant managed to keep all the loaded apps open in the background. This made for easier and faster switching between all the running apps. In contrast, the Snapdragon version of the smartphone reloaded the apps from scratch, which takes slightly more time when compared with the Exynos-based Galaxy S7. It should also be noted that both the phones were identical in terms of RAM and other specs.

The Verdict

Processing speed and internet connection strength are two important factors that determine a smartphone’s usefulness. Performance-wise, it’s true that the Exynos version of the Galaxy S7 performed faster. That being said, the Snapdragon variant wasn’t too far behind in the speed test.

Also, keep in mind that the phones were made to work with each region’s local networks. This accommodation covers both normal phone signals and mobile data for optimal connection speeds when using internet-based apps. In hindsight, it’s probably a good thing that these phones have localized processors built into them. What we should take from this is that both variants of these phones are still top-of-the-line, and they have been conveniently made to work better in the region you’re in.