Processors are the most important component of any device. Smartphones are no exception. Currently, Qualcomm has a monopoly in the market. Almost all top brands launch their flagships packed with Snapdragon processors. But you understand any smartphone maker with ambitions should design its own chips not to rely on any manufacturer. This is the main reason why Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi have started making their own SoCs. In this sense, Xiaomi has to work too much, but the rest companies always come in with high-end chips ready to compete with Qualcomm’s products.
Earlier this year Qualcomm announced its top-end chip, Snapdragon 835. The latter uses the 10nm FinFET process technology that Samsung adopted last October. Immediately after that announcement, the net began buzzing about top brand smartphones to come with this chip onboard. The Samsung Galaxy S8 was the first handset unveiled with it. The Sony Xperia XZ Premium, Xiaomi Mi 6, Nubia Z17, OnePlus 5 and a few other handsets were unleashed a bit later.
As for Qualcomm competitors, Huawei and Samsung had designed their own chips in face of the Kirin 960 and Exynos 8835, respectively. They appeared on a few devices such as Samsung Galaxy S8, Huawei Mate 9/Pro, Honor V9, P10/Plus, and Honor 9. So to compare those three chips we decided to take the following three smartphones – Nubia Z17 with a Snapdragon 835, Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus with an Exynos 8895, and Huawei Honor V9 with a Kirin 960.
As we can see from the comparison table, the Snapdragon and Exynos 8895 use 10nm process technology, while the Kirin 960 uses only 16nm process technology. Hopefully, this won’t affect the performance too much.
CPU Performance Test: Snapdragon 835 vs Exynos 8895 vs Kirin 960
As we can see from the AnTuTu results, the Nubia Z17 sporting SND835 showcases the best result of 174.154 points. The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus with its Exynos 8895 scores 160.210, while the Honor V9 shows 144.684.
The same picture is when testing the phones via GeekBench. However, we have to notice the Nubia Z17 is the first only in a single-core test. Thanks to different architecture Samsung’s representative outruns its competitor in multi-core test. Kirin 960 is too close to it, by the way.
Well, what this means for a regular user. When we operate on our smartphones, most of the time it runs on a single core. Say, when we launch an app. But if you want to play a heavy 3D game, the phone begins running on a multi-core mode. In this sense, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Huawei Honor V9 are more acceptable.
Now let’s compare these three phones in order to understand how they behave on a daily use. Obviously, we can operate only on one app at a certain moment. But we interact with our handsets differently. So let’s see what results those devices will show at a PCMark test.
As the benchmark results show, the Snapdragon 835 stands out with its daily use performance.
GPU Performance Test: Snapdragon 835 vs Exynos 8895 vs Kirin 960
As we know, modern SoCs consist of different components such as CPU, GPU, modem and so on. This means it’s not enough to come with a well-structured core architecture. They should also sport good graphics cards, modems, and other features.
In this sense, the 3DMark test results show the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip has no competitors. It provides the way better GPU performance than the rest two models.
To understand how smooth the GPU works, we tested those devices via GFXBench. The results show the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus and Nubia Z17 provide a gameplay with over 40fps, while the Huawei Honor V9 has real problems with this test.
Game Test: Snapdragon 835 vs Exynos 8895 vs Kirin 960
In order to understand whether any of these devices will have problems when playing on actually heavy games, we choose NBA 2K17 and Real Racing 3. When playing the first game all three phones run the game at the full-frame set. As for the benchmark results, the Huawei Honor V9 showcases 61fps, while the next two devices show 60fps.
When it comes to the Real Racing 3, all three phones run at about 50fps. But the Nubia Z17 runs at the highest frames of 53.
When playing heavy games all smartphones get warmer. These handsets are no exception. But let’s see how they behave in this case.
After playing a game for 20 minutes the Huawei Honor V9 warmed up to 34.1 degrees, the S8+ to 36.8 degrees, and the Nubia Z17 to 33.2 degrees.
Thus they are almost identical in this sense, but the best result is shown by the Snapdragon 835 chip.
Read: Xiaomi Mi 6 Review
Connectivity: Snapdragon 835 vs Exynos 8895 vs Kirin 960
We have already seen how a Snapdragon 835-powered smartphone beats a Kirin 960-packed handset in a speed test. But we have decided to come in with more comprehensive test.
Actually, the Exynos 8895 is the first chip in the globe to integrate a gigabit LTE modem which supports 5CA (Carrier Aggregation) for downlink. Thus it comes with a technology increasing the system transmission bandwidth. As a result, you get downlink speeds of up to 1Gbps with 5CA and uplink speeds of up to 150Mbps with 2CA.
The Snapdragon 835 is not the first in this area, but it is the most powerful chip because it also supports a 2×2 11ac Wi-Fi technology.
The Final Words
These are the most powerful chips in the market. Many will accuse me not including the MediaTek X30 in the list. But the latter doesn’t appear on any flagship. This is the main reason why it is out of the game. Anyway, Qualcomm’s and Samsung’s chips provide better performance thanks to a separate architecture, technical accumulation, and faster process technology. In this sense, Huawei has much to do to reach their level. But on the other hand, the Huawei Kirin 960 is capable of competing with these giants with its head held high.