Exynos 7904 vs Snapdragon 636
Not all systems-on-a-chip (SoC) enter the market with the goal to be the most powerful.
It can sometimes be easy to forget that there are mid-range models as well. Smartphones, which constantly get stronger, are a great example of this. Most mid-range Android phones, as well as some flagships, use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, with Huawei’s Kirin and Samsung’s Exynos models being notable exceptions.
In late January 2019, Samsung announced a mid-range processor called the Exynos 7904. It is aimed at the Indian market and seems to be one of the Snapdragon 636’s competitors. The Snapdragon 636 is a very well-known mid-range SoC, but can it compare to the much more recent Exynos?
At first glance, these two models are quite similar. They both have eight cores, use the classic 64-bit architecture, and happen to be made using the 14-nm manufacturing process.
Their modem speeds are also the same. Both SoCs have download and upload speed limits of 600Mbps and 150Mbps, respectively.
However, despite these similarities, there is more than meets the eye.
Samsung’s model only has two high-performance cores, which means the remaining six are meant for more basic tasks. The high-performance ARM Cortex-A73 cores are also clocked at 1.8 GHz, while the ARM Cortex-A53 cores are clocked at a somewhat disappointing 1.6 GHz. This does mean, however, that the Exynos is way easier on the phone’s battery than the 636.
The Snapdragon 636 is the clear winner with its Kryo CPU, which has four high-performance and four high-efficiency semi-custom ARM-based cores. Its high-efficiency cores are based on the ARM Cortex-A53 architecture, while the high-performance cores are based on the ARM Cortex-A53 architecture. All of the eight cores are clocked at 1.8 GHz.
On the GPU front, the Exynos 7904 has Mali-G71 MP2, an aging 16-nm architecture-based processor. Its clock frequency of 770 MHz should warrant decent gaming performance despite its old age (it was released in 2016).
The Snapdragon 636 has an Adreno 509. It’s a 14-nm GPU with a clock speed of somewhere around 720 MHz.
Making a comparison is really hard here because the two GPUs are very close performance-wise. The Adreno 509 is the winner of some 3DMark tests and its more recent release date is surely an advantage, but it did end up with lower AnTuTu GPU and some other 3DMark test scores. It’s close to the point where the GPU is not the deciding factor. Instead, it comes down to who’s made a better SoC as a whole.
The SD 636 supports a maximum aspect ratio of 18:9 and FHD+ (Full HD+) display resolutions of up to 2160×1080 pixels. Playing Full HD videos at up to 120 fps (frames per second) and 4K, Ultra HD videos at 30 fps is no problem for this Snapdragon model.
The Exynos 7904 manages to top this by having a display that can support an admirable FHD+ resolution of 2400×1080 and an aspect ratio of 20:9. This Exynos model has the same video playback capabilities as the SD model, but it does come out as a winner, showing once again that displays are Samsung’s strong suit.
Qualcomm’s SoC has a maximum supported resolution of 24 megapixels (MP). The maximum supported dual lens resolution is 16 MP for both lenses.
Samsung’s SoC completely trumps this with an opportunity to support both front and back camera resolutions of up to 32 MP. It also has a maximum supported dual lens resolution of 16 MP, but unlike the SD 636, the Exynos 7904 even has triple camera support, with the third camera serving as an ultra-wide angle lens.
Samsung also has its own charging technology called Adaptive Fast Charging. However, this technology, which is supported by the Exynos chip, is based on an obsolete Quick Charge 2.0 technology.
Qualcomm did a great job here, as their Quick Charge 4.0 technology is the latest and best on the market. They claim that, in minutes, you should be able to charge up your phone enough to last for hours. Unsurprisingly, this is the charging technology which the Snapdragon chip supports.
It is worth noting that, besides the Snapdragon 636 being used frequently, you most likely need to buy a certified Quick Charge 4.0 adapter separately to get to experience its full power.
RAM and Storage
Both SoCs support LPDDR4X RAM (Low-Power Double Data Rate Random Access Memory). However, the Snapdragon is victorious again thanks to its UFS (Universal Flash Storage) support. It also supports LPDDR4 and a maximum RAM of 8 gigabytes.
The Exynos only offers a slower, eMMC (embedded MicroMemoryCard) storage. It’s meant for cheaper electronic devices, which kicks this Exynos model out of the Galaxy A-series. This means that you won’t be seeing the Exynos 7904 among upper-class, mid-range phone models.
Comparing the Upsides
The Exynos does have some tricks of its own, as it has better camera support, the option of having three lenses, as well as a larger supported screen resolution and aspect ratio.
However, Qualcomm’s SoC proves to be too much the Samsung’s newcomer, as it has a much more powerful CPU, a superior charging technology, more RAM support, and faster storage support, all of which makes it much more powerful than the competition.
Which of the two chipsets are you planning to go for? Do you find having a better camera important enough to actually go for the Exynos? Share your thoughts in the comments below.