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The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra officially launches today, but many pre-orders were sent out early, including mine.

The new Samsung Galaxy S21 series features the Exynos 2100 which has the potential to put Samsung back on track with their Exynos chipsets following a few years of poor performance vs its Qualcomm counterpart.

So, will UK buyers finally stop complaining about their Exynos equipped Samsung phones or will we still be left lusting after the US Qualcomm variant?

Samsung Exynos 2100 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 vs Exynos 990 Specification

SoCExynos 990Exynos 2100Snapdragon 888
CPU2x Exynos M5 @ 2.73GHz1x ARM Cortex X1 @ 2.9GHz1x ARM Cortex-X1 @ 2.84 GHz
2x ARM Cortex A76 @ 2.50GHz4x ARM Cortex A55 @ 2.2GHz3x ARM Cortex-A78 @ 2.42 GHz
4x ARM Cortex A55 @ 2.00GHz4x ARM Cortex-A55 @ 1.8 GHz4x ARM Cortex-A55 @ 1.8 GHz
GPUARM Mali-G77MP11ARM Mali-G78MP14Qualcomm Adreno 660
+35% perf vs SD865
5nm (5LPE)
5nm (5LPE)

Samsung Exynos 2100 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Benchmarks

I have reused many of my tables for these benchmarks, so you have a few devices to compare.

I have not personally used:

  • Huawei Mate 40 Pro
  • Asus ROG Phone 3
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G

I have taken the official score from the website of the respective benchmark. The three phones provide a good comparison of what’s improved with the Exynos 2100 and how it competes with the other flagship chipsets we will see in 2021.

Samsung Exynos 2100 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 vs Exynos 990 Antutu Benchmarks Compared

TotalCPUGPUMEMUXTemp IncreaseBattery Decrease
Honor Magic5 Pro109285720487854019220169514609284
Honor Magic4 Pro93846419716944063114826015240410.75
OPPO Find X5 Pro8426601664084352091114661295777.55
OPPO Find X3 Pro777229192437300378137073147341

I have mixed feelings towards the results; they are not exactly mind-blowing. If anything, I am not sure why it has scored some of the results.

The total score puts the Samsung Exynos 2100 in the last place for the 5nm chipsets used on phones in 2021, which is disappointing.

The odd part is that the CPU result is below both Huawei and Xiaomi Mi 11, but based on its specification it should have at least performed better than the Kirin 9000, and the frequencies used on the CPU indicate it should have performed better than the Qualcomm.

On the bright side, you have a 15% improvement in performance vs the last years Exynos 990 and the temperature increase and battery drain are lower than the Snapdragon 888.

Samsung Exynos 2100 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 vs Exynos 990 Geekbench Benchmarks Compared

Geekbench 5ChipsetSingle CoreMulti Core
Honor Magic5 ProSnapdragon 8 Gen 214814932
Honor Magic4 ProSnapdragon 8 Gen 112203569
Xiaomi Mi 11Snapdragon 88811393693
OnePlus 9 ProSnapdragon 88811093487
Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraExynos 210010793381
Google Pixel 6Google Tensor10422957
XiaomiDimensity 8200-Ultra10053744
OPPO Find X5 ProSnapdragon 8 Gen 19763484
Asus ROG Phone 3
Snapdragon 865+9753357
Realme GT Neo 3Dimensity 81009663672
OPPO Find X3 ProSnapdragon 8889283357
Realme X50 ProSnapdragon 8659103205
Infinix Note 30 VIPDimensity 80508543047
Redmi K30 UltraDimensity 1000+7822890
Samsung Galaxy S20Exynos 9907722590

Geekbench results offer a similarly underwhelming experience. The Samsung Exynos 2100 falls short of the SD888, but at least beats the Kirin 9000.

Compared to the Kirin, that’s just a 5.7% difference for the single core, and 3.2% for multi core. The SD888 then sits 5.5% and 9.2% ahead of the Exynos.

The move from the Exynos 990 to 2100 offers impressive gains of 40% and 30%.  

Samsung Exynos 2100 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 3DMark Benchmarks Compared

ChipsetSling Shot Extreme OpenGLSling Shot Extreme VulcanWild Life
OnePlus 9 ProSnapdragon 888Maxed OutMaxed Out5775
Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraExynos 2100773664675741
Xiaomi Mi 11Snapdragon 888827481825663
Huawei Mate 40 ProKirin 9000916884015976
Asus ROG Phone 3Snapdragon 865+764570024127
Realme X50 ProSnapdragon 8653791
Black Shark 3Snapdragon 86572156606
Redmi K30 UltraDimensity 1000+66146143
OnePlus 7TSnapdragon 855+62785504
Black SharkSnapdragon 85557915030

Again, the Exynos 2100 lags behind, barely being ahead of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ used on the Asus ROG Phone 3.

It is hardly a bad score, but the SD888 sits out in front by 7% and 26% for the two Sling Shot tests. The Kirin dominates this result thanks to its ridiculous 24-core GPU.

The Wild Life result paints a slightly rosier picture, placing the Exynos 2100 ahead of the SD888, but there is a serious problem with this result which I will cover in the later section where I have run the Wild Life stress test.

Samsung Exynos 2100 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 PCMark Benchmarks Compared

Performance ScoreWork 3.0 Battery
Honor Magic5 Pro1431013h 38 mins
Honor Magic4 Pro1467010h 32 mins
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Exynos 2100
1363812h 46min
Pixel 8 Pro
1209112 hours 56 mins
OPPO Find X3 Pro119329 hours
Pixel 7 Pro
Tensor G2
1155011h 39min
Pixel 6
114439h 45min

Finally, the Exynos 2100 gets a win, though in one of the most inconsistent benchmarks I use. A win is a win though, and the Samsung scores 34% higher than the Xiaomi Mi 11.

I have only had the phone a day, so not had a chance to run the Work 2.0 Battery test, I plan to do this overnight, so will update the result this weekend.

Samsung Exynos 2100 Antutu & Wild Life Stress test thermals & battery drain

The Xiaomi Mi 11 launched with reports of problems with overheating and significant battery drain which led me to do a dedicated post comparing the SD888 and SD865 thermals and battery life.

The Antutu results for the Samsung Exynos 2100 are not quite as bad. Temperatures increase a lot more than the older SD865, but it’s lower than the SD888.

What is very concerning is the Wild Life Stress test. I thought the Xiaomi Mi 11 performed poorly offering a stability of 90.9% with its score dropping from 5550 to 5045.

However, the Samsung suffers from severe throttling with a stability score of 64.8% and the result dropping from 5710 to 3701. This is only a 20 minute test, so for anyone gaming for prologued periods could, in theory, see a significant drop in performance.

This throttling then takes the results down to lower than the Realme X50 Pro scores for each one of its loops. That phone score almost perfectly consistent results.

The temperature didn’t increase quite as much as the Xiaomi going from 24°C to 42°C (Xiaomi went up to 46°C) and the battery only dropped 11% vs 15%, but the Samsung has a larger 5000mAh battery.

I have testing using the phone running all three resolutions and both 60Hz and 120Hz with no significant difference in results.

For the Xiaomi, I theorised that they could fix a lot of the issues by dialling back the performance a little to reduce overheating and battery drain. With this, I am not sure how much a firmware tweak could fix things.

Samsung Exynos 2100 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Storage Benchmarks

ChipsetSeq Read MB/sSeq Write MB/sRd ReadRd Write
Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraExynos 21001478.921028280
71855 IOPS
61191 IOPS
Xiaomi Mi 11Snapdragon 8881567727248
63581 IOPS
72777 IOPS
Huawei Mate 40 ProKirin 90002037.441321.01324.97277.65
Asus ROG Phone 3
Snapdragon 865+1710.23771.91274.33280.64
Realme X50 ProSnapdragon 8651770763250
64168 IOPS
59206 IOPS
P40 ProKirin 9901807392221
56768 IOPS
66295 IOPS
Redmi K30 UltraDimensity 1000+1562714246
55393 IOPS
53850 IOPS

I won’t dwell on the storage benchmarks much. They are good, most of the phones offer comparable results with each one offer better aspects in certain areas.

Samsung Exynos 2100 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Wi-fi Benchmarks

Lastly, the Wi-Fi performance, I have not tested this extensively, but last year the Qualcomm SD865 had Wi-Fi 6, but it could only use 80Mhz giving you a maximum theoretical speed of 1200Mbps.

The  Kirin 980, used on the Huawei P40 Pro also had Wi-Fi 6 but could make the most of 160Mhz, giving a theoretical speed of 2400Mbps.

The new SD888 not only makes use of 160Mhz but features Wi-Fi 6E and the 6Ghz band. I don’t have a router to test Wi-Fi 6E, nor am I 100% sure if Xiaomi implemented it, but the phone can connect at 2400Mbps, but the throughput is lower than last years Huawei P40 Pro.

As for the Exynos 2100, I once again have poor results, but I think these should be easily fixed and could be an issue with my network.

Connecting to a Wi-Fi 6 access point at 80Mhz, the phone has no problem with establishing a link of 1200Mbps, though the actual throughput was on the lower end of what I would expect at 660Mbps.

Connecting to the Netgear RAX120 on 160Mhz, the phone initially reports 2.2Gbps but then drops down to 216Mbps. The SSID is 5Ghz only so it is not accidentally switching to 2.4Ghz. The Huawei P40 Pro and Xiaomi Mi 11 both have no problems connecting at over 1200Mbps with the Huawei achieving 1245Mbps on a LAN speed test.

Most people won’t be affected by these Wi-Fi benchmarks, but I cover a lot of Wi-Fi gear on Mighty Gadget so it is important to me.


With a shift to an all Arm design combined with matching fabrication processes, the Samsung Exynos 2100  was set up to offer comparable if not superior performance than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888.

During my first set of benchmarks, for many of the results, this is not the case, at all.

Of course, this is two different phones from two different brands, so the results may not be 100% accurate, the physical design of the phone and the firmware will all play a part in the performance.

I hope both phones improve with firmware tweaks; the Xiaomi certainly needs to reign in its performance to improve the battery and temperatures.

Overall, it is early days in my testing; things may improve. I am not too concerned about the slightly lower benchmarks vs Qualcomm, I doubt I could ever tell the difference in real-life usage. However, the battery life and throttling issues remain a significant concern, and something that needs testing over a longer period.

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