Which is the best Snapdragon processor

The currently fastest smartphone processors at a glance

Marcel is the founder of Allround-PC.com and works as an editor for 1 & 1 magazine.
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Many new premium smartphones have already appeared in the first half of 2020. While the manufacturers always want to outdo themselves with better cameras and displays, there are also advances in the built-in processors. It is well known that processors are largely responsible for the speed of a device.

Premium chips are currently quite similar

In the case of smartphones, however, this component does not only consist of the central processing unit, but also of many other modules that are installed on a chip. One therefore speaks of a system-on-a-chip (SoC). A smartphone SoC contains, among other things, the graphics unit, the image signal processor, radio modules and more.


Current upper-class SoCs are Apple's A13 Bionic, Huawei's HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G, Samsung's Exynos 990 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865. These chips are manufactured using the 7 nanometer process. With the exception of the Exynos 990, production takes place at the Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer TSMC. All SoCs are based on the ARM microarchitecture and the majority even use the Cortex computing cores designed by ARM. In this respect, the chips mentioned are similar, but we will summarize the main differences below.

Apple currently still without 5G support

iPhone 11 series: A13 Bionic Chip

The A13 Bionic works in the iPhone 11 series and offers six computing cores specially developed by Apple. Two of them clock with a maximum of 2.66 gigahertz (GHz) and the rest with up to 1.73 GHz. There is no 5G modem with this Apple chip, this is only to be introduced in the A14 Bionic with the iPhone 12 series.


Huawei P40 series: Kirin 990 5G

Huawei introduced the Kirin 990 5G in September 2019 and first introduced it in the Mate 30 series. The Huawei P40 and P40 Pro also have this SoC. This processor offers eight computing cores. They are divided into what is known as a 2 + 2 + 4 cluster. Accordingly, two cores clock with up to 2.86 GHz, two more with 2.36 GHz and the other four with 1.95 GHz. A 5G modem is also integrated on the SoC, but it does not support the mmWave frequency range.


Samsung Galaxy S20 series: Exynos 990

The Exynos 990, originally announced in October 2019, powers Samsung's Galaxy S20, S20 + and S20 Ultra and also has eight cores. The two fastest clocks with a maximum of 2.73 GHz, but these are M5 cores from Samsung. There are also two Cortex cores with up to 2.5 GHz and four more with a maximum of 2.0 GHz. A 5G modem is part of the Exynos 990, but it is connected as a separate chip.

Snapdragon 865 currently fastest

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865 is the latest of the mentioned SoCs. The US company unveiled the chip in Hawaii in December 2019. Since then it can be found in several top smartphones. For example, it works in the Xiaomi Mi 10 series or the OnePlus 8 series, but manufacturers such as Oppo and Realme also use it. In the USA, even the Galaxy S20 series is equipped with the Snapdragon 865.


Xiaomi MI 10: Snapdragon 865

The eight-core processor partly uses newer Cortex cores compared to Huawei and Samsung. Two cores clock with up to 2.84 GHz, two more with 2.42 GHz and four energy-saving cores with a maximum of 1.8 GHz. As with Samsung, a 5G modem is connected externally.


Oppo X2 Pro: Snapdragon 865

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865 is currently the fastest SoC on the market in benchmarks, closely followed by Apple's A13 Bionic. The Exynos 990 and Kirin 990 5G follow at a slight distance. However, the speed differences only come to light in benchmarks. Noticeable differences in operation will most likely not be noticed by users because they are too minor.


Devices with the next SoC generation are expected in the further course of the year. The beginning is expected to be the Exynos 992 in the Galaxy Note 20. After that, the iPhone 12 series will appear with the Apple A14 Bionic, which is already produced using the more efficient 5-nanometer process. By spring 2021 at the latest, the next upper-class processor for smartphones should be launched by each of the manufacturers mentioned.