Just yesterday, Samsung introduced the tenth generation of Note smartphones. As usual in the flagship Samsung smartphones, several versions are expected, differing in hardware both in the amount of constant and RAM, and in the versions of chipsets (processors). My colleagues will tell you how the Note 10 turned out in terms of design, perception, and consumer qualities.
Today I wanted to talk about the versions of Samsung smartphones for the markets of different countries, namely about the different chipsets used in these same smartphones. If we talk about flagship devices of the S and Note lines, then there are usually two options – this is the version based on the Exynos processor for the main markets, including the European and Russian, as well as the version based on the Snapdragon processor, which is used by the company for the American market and a number of others.
It's hard to say why this is happening, but the main version that comes to mind is the use of processors from an American manufacturer for the American market. From this point of view, the choice of Qualcomm processor seems logical – American for Americans.
But it's hardly a matter of wanting to please the patriotism of the American consumer. Most likely, it is a matter of patents, agreements or even the requirements of American operators, and maybe the US government.
Be that as it may, we have what we have and choose from what we have.
As with any product, different processors have their own pros and cons, and not always cons are just cons, and pros are definitely pros, it all depends on your needs.
Let's try to figure out which processor to choose from the point of view of an ordinary buyer.
It's worth starting with the fact that it is almost impossible to buy an officially sold Samsung smartphone of the S or Note lines in Russia, which has a Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm on board, which means that if you need Snapdragon and if you are a fan of this particular manufacturer, then the main source of purchase such a smartphone is foreign online stores (auctions) or unofficial (gray) channels. If you need a smartphone based on a proprietary Samsung processor, then no problem – go to any official store and buy the model you are interested in.
Now more about the advantages and disadvantages of both options.
Alas, as often happens, getting everything and immediately will not work, you will have to sacrifice something, but on Russian thematic forums the most popular position is that Exynos is not a cake, but Qualcomm is what you need.
But you should not immediately rely on this opinion, since the trouble is that this opinion is expressed mainly by those who bought a device based on this processor and, when buying, knew why and why he was making such a choice. If we logically estimate the percentage of users of devices with Qualcomm processors and the number of those with Exynos processors, it turns out that the share of the former in Russia is vanishingly small. But this is the lyrics. Let's, in fact, compare.
Exynos-based devices have a more advanced application manager and algorithms for controlling the activity of these very applications. On average, under the same usage scenario, an Exynos-based device 'lives' 5-10% longer than its Snapdragon-based counterpart. We are, of course, talking about devices of one line and one generation. This becomes especially noticeable when you are in the zone of poor network reception.
For this parameter, the devices on Exynos are again ahead. They run cooler than Snapdragon ones. This is especially noticeable in resource-intensive applications and tasks such as games, navigation, video processing, etc. Moreover, the heating directly differs significantly, and in a situation where the Exynos is hot, the Snapdragon will be 'generally boiling water'.
However, there is one caveat, according to which there is parity between different versions – both versions are very hot in the sun. I don’t know what it’s connected with, but my Samsung smartphones heat up faster than anyone else when they are in direct sunlight. Both Exynos and Snapdragon are very quickly becoming 'boiling water'. Perhaps the point is in the design and the dense arrangement of elements inside, but the fact remains.
Obviously, a device designed for a specific market will be better localized for that particular market. This is not true for all manufacturers, as some vendors do not make different versions in terms of localizations. In this case, the version on Exynos has full localization on board for the Russian market, but the version on Snapdragon is only partial, and then through special settings. To get a fully localized Snapdragon device, you will have to either master the tricks of the firmware and software modifications, or use crutches in the form of special themes and freezing applications.
It is good that among Samsung fans on Snapdragon there are many craftsmen who have created detailed instructions that can be found on the specialized forums.
A peculiar advantage of the 'Samsung on snap' can be considered the absence of pre-installed garbage from one Russian search engine, which cannot be removed by conventional methods, since it is registered as a system application.
So, Exynos-based versions in the vast majority of cases receive more recent firmware versions and take longer to update than their Snapdragon counterparts. This is due to the fact that most of the versions on Snapdragon are carrier-based, which means that the responsibility for updating the software falls on the shoulders of the operator for whose networks the device was released. And it just so happened that these same operators are in no hurry to release current versions of the software. Are the latest software developments important? Need the most current version Android? Your choice is the Exynos-based version.
This is where the Snapdragon version comes into its own and features more virtual parrots than the Exynos version. But with one caveat – a tangible advantage will be in games. In everyday use, the differences are unlikely to be felt.
But in games, yes, thanks to the more advanced graphics accelerator used in this version, Samsung on Snapdragon shows its best side, and it's really noticeable.
Signal reception quality
According to this parameter, the version on Snapdragon is ahead. What does not take away from the Snapdragon is the signal reception quality. A phone with an American processor clings to the network where its Korean counterpart despairs and either displays a crossed-out antenna icon or jumps a generation below. This is especially noticeable in LTE networks.
The price to pay for this is increased energy consumption. Moreover, the worse the signal, the more power the Snapdragon requires. Therefore, while paying attention to this parameter, do not forget at what cost this is achieved, and correctly prioritize.
Number of SIM-cards
Everything is simple here. Exynos is a hybrid slot, 2 SIM / 1 SIM + MicroSD. Snapdragon version – only 1SIM + MicroSD and no second SIM. Therefore, if you need to use two numbers, your choice is the Exynos version.
This feature is due to the fact that the United States, for which the bulk of Snapdragon-based smartphones are produced, is a market where operators dictate their rules. These same operators are very fond of binding the user with contracts and do not like it when the user has the opportunity to use different SIM cards in one phone for different types of communication, for example, one for the Internet and the other for voice calls. Therefore, most of the devices there are sold with a lock for a specific operator.
From the difference above, it is clear that American Samsung smartphones based on the Snapdragon processor are often 'locked' on the network of the operator from which they were purchased, and it is sometimes physically impossible or unprofitable to remove this limitation.
In this regard, everything is much simpler with Exynos – devices based on a Korean processor are rarely tied to a specific network.
But if, according to a number of requirements for a smartphone, the presence of a Snapdragon processor is mandatory, I advise you to look towards devices from the CDMA operator Verizon, which work without additional tweaks in the networks of Russian operators due to the fact that Verizon does not block the GSM part of the smartphone modem.
If you can't find the version from Verizon, then look towards the ATT version marked 'Clean ESN' and 'No Contract'. In this case, even if you receive a device that requires a network unlock code, you can get it by simply filling out the form on the ATT website. In response to this request, the unlock code must be received in the interval from 5 minutes to 24 hours. After entering this code from the point of view of the network, there will be no restrictions, since the ATT version supports all Russian frequencies of all four communication generations.
The Exynos and Snapdragon versions differ not only in the processor. It often happens that in versions with a different processor, Samsung uses different camera modules. These are either Sony modules or Samsung's own ISOCELL sensor modules. Moreover, the latter are most often installed in devices based on the Qualcomm processor.
Their final shooting result is slightly different. Subjectively, ISOCELL cameras have a slightly better light sensitivity and therefore make less 'noise' in low light conditions, but more often they make mistakes with the white balance shifted to the green part of the spectrum (green). However, the differences are most often at the level of errors, so you should not pay attention to this.
But what you should pay attention to if the camera in your smartphone is very important for you, it is that you can easily find a ported version of Google camera for the Snapdragon processor, the installation of which will allow you to expand the capabilities of your smartphone's camera and acquire such proprietary gadgets from Google like HDR +, Augmented Reality, Google Lens, Photo Spheres, and even the unique Night Sight Mode!
This possibility should not be written off, since at the moment for Samsung based on Exynos there is no version of Google-camera with Night Sight operating mode.
It so happened that in the flagships of Samsung based on the Exynos processor, FM radio disappeared a long time ago. However, if the presence of this atavism is important for you for some reason, then look towards the Samsung version on Snapdragon. There is no FM radio out of the box in these devices either, but there is hardware support for it, which means that by downloading the FM Radio application from Samsung, you will get a completely working familiar FM radio on your device.
A trifle, but nice and sometimes very convenient, for example, in nature, where the Internet does not catch, which means that the streaming services that have become familiar are not available.
Secondary market liquidity
A controversial parameter, but it just so happened that the Snapdragon-based versions are better bought by people who consider themselves 'in the subject', and the Exynos versions are bought by everyone else. From personal experience, I can say that the Snapdragon versions sell better on topic forums, while on public free classified sites it is easier to sell a device that is familiar to the mainstream consumer. Therefore, for this parameter, there is parity.
The question of which version to choose is not as simple as it seems at first glance. If you do not want to fool yourself by searching for information and dancing with a tambourine over the phone, then feel free to take the version on Exynos. If you need something that the Exynos version cannot provide, then your choice is Snapdragon and some manipulations. In any case, it is important that your choice is exactly what you need, and does not disappoint. Therefore, carefully weigh the pros and cons. As for me, due to the need to have two active numbers at hand, I made my choice in favor of Exynos. If it were not for this nuance, the Snapdragon-based version would become the main one for me.