Samsung Galaxy Note8 Review: Performance Test: Exynos & Snapdragon

By 10:52 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments


Samsung Galaxy Note8 performance test: Exynos & Snapdragon

Samsung played things pretty safe regarding hardware. You could also argue that timing simply worked out this way. But, whichever way you slit it, the Note8 is based on the same duo of current top-discontinue chips, like the S8 - the Exynos 8895 and the elegant Qualcomm Snapdragon 835.

Before we acquire into any actual numbers and analysis, it is worth noting that both of these are efficient 10nm silicone, powerful enough to drive a flagship experience, with small to no compromises. That said, you can expect both variants of the Note8 to chew through power-user tasks as intended.


Still, Samsung's official stance on all matters regarding performance variances remain unchanged. Namely, the Korean giant wants you to believe there are not. Besides not being feasible from a purely objective technical standpoint, we know for a fact that that is not the case with the US and non-US S8 units.

Both chips have a total of eight cores - a pretty standard setup. elegant Qualcomm has its custom Kryo 280 cores working at 2.35 GHz. These do have a bit more wiggle room in terms of maximum frequency (2.45 GHz, as rated by Qualcomm), but this is what Samsung decided to go for. As for the Exynos 8895, it has four of redesigned M1 "Mongoose" V2 custom cores, clocked at 2.3 Giga Hertz (GHz) and a less power-intensive cluster of four Cortex-A53 units, at 1.7 GHz.

There are some differences in the graphics department as well: an Adreno 540 on the Snapdragon 835 and a Mali-G71 MP20 on the Exynos 8895.

As far as some other fascinating comparisons go, we lined up some of the company's older flagships, like the S7 edge and the Note5. We also included the Note7, regardless of its demise. So, we can acquire a pretty fine concept of performance variances throughout the years on both the Snapdragon and Exynos fronts.

We also have a selection of current flagships from other manufacturers, most running on the Snapdragon 835 chip. This makes for a fine potential optimization comparison. Naturally, we threw in Huawei's Kirin 960 chip in the mix, as well as the older Snapdragon 821. The LG G6 and Google Pixel XL are still selling quite well with it on board.

Kicking things off with some pure Central Processing Units (CPU) performance numbers and GeekBench 4 in particular, we find the Exynos-powered Note8 out-inch its S8 siblings by only a few points in multi-core. The incompatibility is a bit more noticeable between the Snapdragon 835 inside the phablet and the S8+. This does indicate that the Korean giant is clearly working hard to minimize the performance delta between the two chips.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

    6784

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+

    6754

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    6656

  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force

    6629

  • OnePlus 5

    6604

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)

    6590

  • Nokia 8

    6568

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

    6541

  • HTC U11

    6393

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    6301

  • LG V30 (non-final)

    6151

  • LG G6

    4175

Single-core runs on GeekBench 4.1 paints a very identical picture. Even looking as far down as the Snapdragon 821 inside the LG G6, performance variances just aren't all that significant.

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    1991

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

    1987

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+

    1986

  • OnePlus 5

    1932

  • Nokia 8

    1925

  • HTC U11

    1919

  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force

    1915

  • LG V30 (non-final)

    1904

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)

    1862

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

    1840

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    1832

  • LG G6

    1767

On to more compound benchmarks and Baseimprint Operating System (OS) II 2.0. We can clearly see a lot of Snapdragon inclination here as well. The US Note8 does appear to create up quite a few points here, but do bear in mind that this is a really recent benchimprint platform, no longer equipped to properly handle recent types of loads. In modern Android terms, the Exynos 8895 does objectively handle loads better and more efficiently.

Baseimprint Operating System (OS) 2.0

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus

    3796

  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force

    3609

  • OnePlus 5

    3601

  • Nokia 8

    3503

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)

    3424

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    3376

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

    3333

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    3319

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+

    3298

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

    2986

  • HTC U11

    2970

  • Huawei P10 Plus

    2940

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Exynos)

    2676

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)

    2670

  • Huawei Mate 9

    2637

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Snapdragon)

    2432

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)

    2352

  • Google Pixel XL

    2281

  • LG G6

    2126

  • Samsung Galaxy Note5

    1880

AnTuTu 6 seems to favor the Snapdragon variant as well. However, we are excited to see that the differences are really small, meaning we can safely rule out any major substitutions in the flash storage department either. Both units we tested have 64GB chips, which appear to be equally snappy.

AnTuTu 6

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 5

    180331

  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force

    178674

  • HTC U11

    177343

  • Nokia 8

    175872

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)

    175153

  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus

    174987

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    174435

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+

    174070

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

    172425

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    168133

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

    144462

  • LG G6

    143639

  • Google Pixel XL

    141186

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Exynos)

    134660

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)

    132849

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Snapdragon)

    130111

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)

    129629

  • Huawei P10 Plus

    126252

  • Huawei Mate 9

    122826

  • Samsung Galaxy Note5

    81615

The Mali-G71 MP20 and Adreno 540, driving graphics inside the Exynos 8895 and Snapdragon 835, respectively have always had their differences. Back when the S8 was unveiled and went through our review procedure, we discovered a rather significant drop in performance in the Adreno 540. We never quite put our finger on the cautilize back then, but we did naturally expect the situation with the Note8 to be identical.

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)

    63

  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force

    61

  • HTC U11

    60

  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus

    60

  • OnePlus 5

    60

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    57

  • Nokia 8

    57

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

    51

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    50

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+

    50

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Snapdragon)

    49

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

    49

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)

    49

  • Google Pixel XL

    47

  • LG G6

    41

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Exynos)

    40

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)

    38

  • Huawei Mate 9

    30

  • Huawei P10 Plus

    28

  • Samsung Galaxy Note5

    21

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus

    56

  • OnePlus 5

    56

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

    48

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

    42

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+

    40

  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force

    40

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)

    37

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    36

  • HTC U11

    35

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    34

  • Nokia 8

    33

  • Google Pixel XL

    30

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Snapdragon)

    29

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)

    29

  • Huawei Mate 9

    28

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Exynos)

    27

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)

    27

  • LG G6

    24

  • Huawei P10 Plus

    19

  • Samsung Galaxy Note5

    15

However, recent numbers create it clear that something has changed gigantic time. In most OpenGL 3.0 and 3.1 loads, the Mali-G71 MP20 seems to do better at pushing pixels on screen. However, the Adreno 540 consistently showed higher frame rates off-classy screen - pretty inconsistent with what we observed on the S8 pair.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)

    43

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

    42

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+

    42

  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force

    42

  • HTC U11

    41

  • OnePlus 5

    41

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    39

  • Nokia 8

    39

  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus

    39

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

    39

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    36

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Snapdragon)

    32

  • Google Pixel XL

    32

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)

    32

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)

    29

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Exynos)

    28

  • LG G6

    26

  • Huawei Mate 9

    22

  • Huawei P10 Plus

    19

  • Samsung Galaxy Note5

    15

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus

    42

  • OnePlus 5

    40

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

    40

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

    23

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    23

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+

    23

  • Huawei Mate 9

    23

  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force

    22

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)

    20

  • HTC U11

    19

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    18

  • Nokia 8

    18

  • Google Pixel XL

    17

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Snapdragon)

    16

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)

    16

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Exynos)

    15

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)

    15

  • LG G6

    12

  • Huawei P10 Plus

    12

  • Samsung Galaxy Note5

    6.7

GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Nokia 8

    32

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)

    25

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

    25

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    25

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+

    25

  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force

    25

  • HTC U11

    24

  • OnePlus 5

    24

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

    24

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    23

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Snapdragon)

    20

  • Google Pixel XL

    19

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)

    18

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Exynos)

    16

  • LG G6

    16

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)

    16

  • Huawei Mate 9

    13

  • Huawei P10 Plus

    12

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

    25

  • OnePlus 5

    24

  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force

    15

  • Huawei Mate 9

    14

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)

    13

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

    13

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    13

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+

    13

  • HTC U11

    13

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    12

  • Nokia 8

    12

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Snapdragon)

    11

  • Google Pixel XL

    11

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)

    10

  • Huawei P10 Plus

    9

  • LG G6

    8.5

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)

    8.3

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Exynos)

    8

Differences start to shrink more and more with more demanding GPU loads, two things remain consistent - the Mali-G71 MP20 seems to perform predictably in the S8, S8+ and Note8, while the Adreno 540 in the Note8 does noticeably better than the on inside the S8 pair.

Baseimprint X

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+

    43862

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    42370

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

    40890

  • OnePlus 5

    38844

  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force

    38615

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

    38583

  • HTC U11

    38399

  • Nokia 8

    37593

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)

    37211

  • Huawei Mate 9

    36519

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    34951

  • LG V30 (non-final)

    33719

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Snapdragon)

    33520

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Exynos)

    32648

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)

    32609

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)

    32160

  • Google Pixel XL

    30861

  • Huawei P10 Plus

    30602

  • LG G6

    30507

  • Samsung Galaxy Note5

    26281

Digging a bit deeper, we think we finally reached the route of the problem. According to official specs, the Adreno 540 should have a maximum clock frequency of 710 MHz. The one inside our US Note8 unit does indeed, match that speed. However, our S8+ Snapdragon unit is capped 40 Mhz lower at 670 Mhz.

Baseimprint ES 3.1 / Metal

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus

    1517

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

    1268

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    1189

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+

    1111

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 (SD 835)

    875

  • Motorola Moto Z2 Force

    867

  • Nokia 8

    855

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

    853

  • HTC U11

    836

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    817

  • OnePlus 5

    796

  • Huawei Mate 9

    794

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Exynos)

    727

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (E8890, Nougat)

    680

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 (Snapdragon)

    629

  • Google Pixel XL

    626

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (S820)

    624

  • LG G6

    541

  • Samsung Galaxy Note5

    316

To be frank, the incompatibility in GPU clock speed is a recent discovery for us, but it concerns the Snapdragon 835 models of the S8 and S8+ rather than the Note8.

The key takeaway here is that the GPU performance variance between the two Note8 chipset variants is now smaller than ever.

All things considered, the only problem we really had with the Note8, while using it as a gaming platform had to do with ergonomics, rather than performance. In its quest to abolish bezels, Samsung has left a pretty limited area for you to rest your fingers on when holding the phone horizontally. To mitigate this, the Operating System (OS) offers a special edge touch rejection while in game. It works pretty well and only leaves the user with the task to overcome any residual tendency to shy away from gripping the screen.

Granted, the less curvy panel on the Note8 and slightly more grippy sides do create for better horizontal handling overall. Well, at least a bit.


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