Who makes the best SoC: Intel vs Qualcomm vs Samsung

by: Gary SimsDecember 24, 2015
3K

At the heart of every smartphone and tablet there is a processor known as a System-on-a-Chip (SoC). It contains the CPU, the GPU and various other bits and pieces including a memory controller, cache memory, a DSP and a cellular modem. Not all SoCs are equal, the CPUs differ significantly, as do the GPUs. Some include more auxiliary parts, including various co-processors, while others are more “minimal.”

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There are lots of Android SoC manufacturers in the world, however in terms of market share Qualcomm and Samsung are the kings. The world’s largest chip maker is of course Intel, however it hasn’t had much success in the mobile space. The main reason is that the dominant system architecture for mobile is ARM. Companies like Qualcomm and Samsung make SoCs based on the ARM architecture, an architecture that is designed primarily for low energy consumption. In fact, every CPU core or GPU system made by ARM is designed to fit within a very tight “thermal budget.” The ARM architecture isn’t just limited to Android, it is also the system architecture at the heart of the iPhone, as well as other mobile handsets like Microsoft’s range of Windows Phones and handsets from Blackberry.

So from Android to iOS, from Windows Phone to Blackberry OS, ARM is the leading system architecture. Things are different when it comes to desktop PCs and laptops. In these sectors the Intel x86 (and x86-64) architecture is the de facto standard and Intel is the leading chip maker. Intel has been trying for several years to cross the divide from desktops to smartphones and it has notched up the occasional win along the way, for example the ASUS Zenfone 2 uses an Intel chip and not one based on ARM.

I recently did a comparison of the leading SoCs from Qualcomm, Samsung, MediaTek and Huawei, all ARM based chips, but in that lineup I didn’t include Intel. It seems that there is some interest to see how Intel compares with the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung, so here is my comparison of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, the Samsung Exynos 7420 and the Intel Atom Z3580.

Specifications

 Snapdragon 810Exynos 7420Atom Z3580
Cores884
CPU4x Cortex-A57 + 4x Cortex-A534x Cortex-A57 +
4x Cortex-A53
4x Silvermont x86
CPU clockA57 - 2.0GHz
A53 - 1.5GHz
A57 - 2.1GHz
A53 - 1.5GHz
2.33 GHz
ArchARMv8-A (32 / 64-bit)ARMv8-A (32 / 64-bit)Intel X86-64
GPUAdreno 430 @ 630MHzARM Mali-T760 MP8 @ 772 MhzPowerVR G6430 @ 533Mhz
MemoryLPDDR4 1600MHz 64-bit1552MHz LPDDR4LPDDR3 1600 MHz
Process20nm14nm FinFET22nm

Core Count

cores-on-a-cpuThe two ARM based SoCs in our lineup are octa-core processors using a technology from ARM called big.LITTLE. The idea behind big.LITTLE is that not all the cores are equal. You generally find a cluster of Cortex-A57 cores and a cluster of Cortex-A53 cores. The A57 is a high performance core, while the A53 has greater energy efficiency.

With big.LITTLE that point is less of an issue since the extra four cores are designed to add power efficiency, not higher performance.

When tasks are run on the LITTLE cores they use less power, they drain the battery less, however they may run a little slower. When tasks are run on the big cores, they finish sooner but they use more battery to do so. This is known as Heterogeneous Multi-Processing or HMP.

Intel doesn’t have a HMP solution, instead its philosophy is to use four equal cores with a mix of performance and power efficiency. As a result the Atom Z3580 has a quad core CPU.

Today’s core count is however going to change. The next generation of CPU from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 820, will go back to using four cores, with a core design cooked up by Qualcomm’s engineers rather than using the core designs from ARM. At the other end, MediaTek will be releasing a SoC with 10 CPU cores, the Helio X20.

GPUs

Another vital part of a SoC is its Graphical Processor or GPU. There are three major designers of mobile GPUs: ARM, Qualcomm and Imagination. ARM’s range of GPUs are known as Mali and includes the Mali-T760, as found in the Exynos 7420. Qualcomm’s GPUs are branded under the Adreno name with the Snapdragon 810 using an Adreno 430. The third player in the GPU space is Imagination with its PowerVR range. Imagination has had the most success on mobile with Apple, as every iPhone since the 3GS has used a PowerVR GPU. However, Imagination has also had some success with Intel as the Atom Z3580 uses the PowerVR G6430.

It is difficult to make a comparison between these GPUs just from the specifications. They all support OpenGL ES 3.1, they all support RenderScript, and they all boast high gigaFLOP numbers. The real test comes when running actual 3D games.

Atom Z3580

Intel_Atom_inside-1280pxThere aren’t that many smartphones which use Intel processors, however one smartphone that made a splash this year was the Asus Zenfone 2. At its core is the Intel Atom Z3580. Built using a 22nm fabrication process, the Z3580 has four cores and includes Imagination’s PowerVR G6430 GPU. It is based on Intel’s Silvermont microarchitecture, which was announced by Intel in on May 6, 2013.  Silvermont was the basis of four different SoC families of which Merrifield and Moorefield were aimed at smartphones.

The microarchitecture was announced in 2013, the Arom Z3580 was launched during Q2 2014 and the Asus Zenfone 2 was released during March 2015. This shows how slow the microprocessor industry can be, however it also shows how Intel prioritizes its products as many Silvermont processors, for other sectors like the desktop, were released in 2013.

Snapdragon 810

snapdragon-810-webpage

The Snapdragon 810 is Qualcomm’s current flagship 64-bit processor. It has eight cores in total, four Cortex-A57 cores and four Cortex-A53 cores. As I mentioned above, this is a HMP SoC using ARM’s big.LITTLE technology. The more power efficient Cortex-A53 cores are used for easier tasks and the Cortex-A57 cores are activated when some heavy lifting is required. Bundled with the CPU is the Adreno 430 GPU, the Hexagon V56 DSP, and an integrated X10 LTE modem.

The history of the Snapdragon 810 has been rocky at best. Samsung didn’t pick it for the Galaxy S6 range, nor for the Note 5, instead opting for its home-grown Exynos 7420. The chip has also been dogged with stories of overheating and CPU throttling. Qualcomm tried to fix the chip’s perceived image by releasing a new stepping known as V2.1, however, with the 4K video overheating issues of phones like the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact, the Snapdragon 810 is still seen negatively by some consumers.

Having said that, my testing of the Snapdragon 810 has shown it to be a fast and reliable SoC for the most part, and it has been picked-up by several top smartphone makers including Huawei for the Nexus 6P, OnePlus for the OnePlus 2, and Motorola for the Moto X Force.

Exynos 7420

Exynos 7 Octa

This is one of the most popular smartphone processors at the moment, mainly because it is the processor used by Samsung for its current range of high-end devices including the Samsung Galaxy S6, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge +, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. Like the Snapdragon 810 it uses four Cortex-A53 cores and four Cortex-A57 cores. But rather than the Adreno 430, we find an ARM Mali-T760 MP8.

The Mali-T760 has 8 shader cores while boasting a 400% increase in energy efficiency over the ARM Mali-T604. One of the tricks in the Mali-T760’s architecture is the use of bandwidth reduction techniques, which minimizes the amount of data shifted around and hence reduces the amount of power used by the GPU. Such techniques include ARM Frame Buffer Compression (AFBC), which compresses the data as it is passed from one part of the SoC to another; and Smart Composition, which only renders the parts of the frame which have changed.

Thanks to the smaller 14nm FinFET manufacturing process, Samsung has been able to up its clock speeds by 200MHz on the CPU side and by 72MHz on the GPU side, when compared to the Exynos 5433. It is also Samsung’s first SoC with LPDDR4 memory support, which runs in a 32-bit dual-channel configuration with a clock speed of 1552MHz. Peak bandwidth reaches 25.6 GB/s.

The Phones

Intel-vs-Qualcomm-vs-Samsung-SoCs-the-phones

For these tests, I got hold of different phones using these three SoCs. The phones are:

One thing to note is that the Zenfone 2 has several different performance modes. When I first ran a benchmark I got a notification tell me that I should switch to “Performance mode” for the best results, which I did. Consequently all the benchmarks are run with the phone at its highest performance settings. However what is a bit more sinister is that the notification came when the app was started, but before any tests were run. This means that the phone didn’t detect the benchmark because the OS saw high levels of CPU usage, but rather because it recognized the app that was running, in other words it has a built-in database of benchmarks and high performance games that need lots of CPU power. If Asus only goes as far as to send a notification then that is not so bad, but who knows what skulduggery is going on in the back ground once the system knows a benchmark is running!

It is also worth noting that the screen resolution plays a big factor for benchmarks that include GPU tests. Pushing around those pixels on a phone with a Full HD display is less taxing for the CPU and GPU than on a phone with a 2K display.

Performance tests

Getting performance tests right is hard for several reasons. First, replicating the exact same conditions for each test run is difficult as even variations in temperature can alter test results. Second, benchmarks tend to be artificial and don’t reflect real world usages. Therefore when testing it is good to use benchmarks like AnTuTu and Geekbench. But it is also important to simulate real world scenarios like launching a game while monitoring the performance. To further augment these tests I have written a couple of apps. The first one tests the SoCs processing power by calculating a large number of SHA1 hashes, performing a large bubble sort, shuffling a large table and then calculating the first 10 million primes. The second app uses a 2D physics engine to simulate water being poured into a container and measuring the number of droplets that can be processed in 90 seconds. At 60 frames per second the maximum score is 5400.

AnTuTu

Although AnTuTu is one of the “standard” benchmarks for Android that tests both CPU performance and GPU performance, it is important to understand that the test loads used are completely artificial and don’t reflect real life scenarios. However, as long as we take that into consideration then the numbers can be useful to get a general “feel” of how the SoC performs.

I performed two tests with AnTuTu. First, I just ran the test on the device from a fresh boot, then I ran the 3D demo game Epic Citadel for 30 minutes (in the hope of heating up the phones a bit) and then I re-ran the benchmark. The results are below:

Intel-vs-Qualcomm-vs-Samsung-SoCs-AnTuTu

As you can see the Samsung Exynos 7420 is the fastest followed by the Snapdragon 810. Those two results were expected as they come from my comparison of the Snapdragon 810, the Exynos 7420, the MediaTek Helio X10, and the Kirin 935. However the question remained, where would the Intel Atom Z3580 fit? Well as you can see it came in last with a score of under 50,000 while the other two managed over 60,000 peaking near 70,000. Compared to other leading SoCs, only the MediaTek Helio X10 and the Snapdragon 801 perform worse on AnTuTu.

As I said, AnTuTu is an artificial benchmark (as is Geekbench etc), however it does give us a good feel of how the SoC performs. In fact throughout all of the other tests we will see the same story, first Samsung, then Qualcomm and then Intel.

Geekbench

I also performed two tests with Geekbench. First I just ran the test with the device cool, then I ran the 3D demo game Epic Citadel for 30 minutes for the AnTuTu test (see above). Straight after re-running AnTuTu, I then re-ran Geekbench. Here are the results, one graph for the single-core tests and one for the multi-core:

Intel-vs-Qualcomm-vs-Samsung-SoCs-Geekbench-singlecore

The single-core tests show the speed of an individual core, regardless of how many cores there are on the SoC. Here we can see that the individual core performance of the Atom Z3580 is quite poor. It seems to be on-par with a Cortex-A53 or with the 32-bit core of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801. However one point in the Atom’s favor is that the results are basically unchanged when the device is running hot.

Intel-vs-Qualcomm-vs-Samsung-SoCs-Geekbench-multicore

Since the multi-core test uses all the cores simultaneously, then the Atom Z3580 will under-perform in this scenario as it only has four cores, compared to the eight cores of the other two. There is a lot of debate about how many cores are optimum for performance and power, however with big.LITTLE that point is less of an issue since the extra four cores are designed to add power efficiency, not higher performance.

Interestingly we can see that the Atom actually performs better under this test when warmer! I mentioned previously that the Zenfone 2 had several different performance modes. I set the phone back to its “normal” mode and re-ran Geekbench to see what the difference in performance would be, the result was quite surprising:

Intel-vs-Qualcomm-vs-Samsung-SoCs-Geekbench3-Zenfone2-perf-modes

Clearly the performance mode tweaks the SoC to run faster, however that will also drain the battery faster.

CPU Prime Benchmark

As with the previous two benchmarks, I ran CPU Prime Benchmark twice. The first run was performed when the device was cool and had no other apps running. Then I set each phone to record Full HD video (not 4K) for 10 minutes. After that I re-ran the benchmark. The results are surprising:

Intel-vs-Qualcomm-vs-Samsung-SoCs-cpu-prime-benchmark

In first place again we find the Exynos 7420, followed by the Snapdragon 810 and then the Atom Z3580. Both the Snapdragon 810 and the Intel chip run slower after 10 minutes of video recording, however the Samsung SoC maintains its performance level.

Real world

For something approaching real world usage I picked two tests. The first is how long does it take to startup the Need For Speed No Limits game, and secondly how well do the phones handle the Kraken Javascript benchmark. Kraken was created by Mozilla and measures the speed of several different test cases extracted from real-world applications and libraries. In each case, I used the same version of Chrome downloaded from the Play Store. But first, the Need for Speed startup times:

Intel-vs-Qualcomm-vs-Samsung-SoCs-needforspeed

The caveat is of course that starting a game is not just about the CPU, also the speed of the internal storage plays a major role.

As for Kraken:

Intel-vs-Qualcomm-vs-Samsung-SoCs-kraken

Again, the Kralen tests confirms the relative performance of these three SoCs.

Hashes, bubble sorts, tables and primes

This is the first of my custom benchmarks that tests the CPU without using the GPU. It is a four stage process that first calculates 100 SHA1 hashes on 4K of data, then it performs a large bubble sort on an array of 9000 items. Thirdly, it shuffles a large table one million times, and lastly it calculates the first 10 million primes. The total time needed to do all those things is displayed at the end of the test run. The results are below:

Intel-vs-Qualcomm-vs-Samsung-SoCs-Hashes_bubble_sorts_tables_and_primes

This is the one test that the Exynos 7420 didn’t win, it was beaten by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. However the real surprise was the lackluster performance of the Intel Atom SoC… Benchmarks are one thing, but this is how fast Javascript runs in your browser and browsing is one of the main activities we all do on our phones.

Water simulation

The other custom benchmark uses a 2D physics engine to simulate water being poured into a container. The idea here is that while the GPU will be used slightly for the 2D graphics, most of the work will be done by the CPU. The complexity of so many droplets of water will exercise the CPU. One drop of water is added every frame and the app is designed to run at 60 frames per second. The benchmark measures how many droplets are actually processed and how many are missed. The maximum score is 5400, a number which the Exynos 7420 almost hits, but not quite. The full results follow:

Intel-vs-Qualcomm-vs-Samsung-SoCs-water-sim

So the Exynos 7420 almost manages the maximum, with a result just 41 short of the theoretical best. This is doubly impressive when you consider the screen resolution of the Note 5. The Snapdragon 810 comes in second having dropped some 178 frames, but disappointingly the Intel Atom comes in a very poor last place having dropped almost 400 frames.

Battery life

Performance is one SoC characteristic, however its power efficiency is another. There is a rough rule of thumb, you can always increase the performance by using more power. This is especially true in mobile, however using more energy depletes the battery and nobody wants a battery life measured in minutes.

To test the battery life of the three phones I performed two tests. First I ran Epic Citadel on each device for 30 minutes and measured the drop in battery level. With that number I extrapolated the theoretical number of minutes you could run Epic Citadel on a full charge. For the second test I used a small app which I wrote that brings up a series of web pages with a small pause between each page and so mimicking browsing the web. This was run for an hour and the web surfing time extrapolated from the battery level change. Here are the results:

Intel-vs-Qualcomm-vs-Samsung-SoCs-battery-tests

The Z5 Compact and the Note 5 perform roughly the same, both are capable of playing 3D games for 5 hours or surfing the web for 10 hours. The Zenfone fairs slightly worse managing just over 4 hours of 3D gaming or 7.5 hours of browsing.

Understanding these numbers is a little complicated. First of all, each phone has a different screen size and screen resolution. Pushing around more pixels takes more battery power and bigger screens draw more current. Secondly, each phone has a different battery size. The Note 5 has a 3000 mAh battery, as does the Zenfone 2. The Z5 Compact has a smaller battery than the other two, at 2700 mAh.

Dividing the battery size by the browsing time gives us a ratio of mAh per minute of web surfing:

Intel-vs-Qualcomm-vs-Samsung-SoCs-battery-ratios

The Z5 Compact has the smallest screen (4.6 inches) and it also has the lowest resolution (720p). Combined with the big.LITTLE Snapdragon 810 then it offers the best battery life. Next is the Note 5 which has a huge 5.7 inch screen with a massive 1440 x 2560 resolution. However even with such a large high resolution screen it manages a battery surfing ratio of 5. The Zenfone 2 has the worst ratio. The Zenfone 2 has a 5.5 inch, Full HD display and the same battery capacity as the Note 5, yet its battery surfing ratio is 6.51. How much of that is due to the Intel Atom processor?

Wrap-up

Intel’s biggest problem is that it is trying to use the same microarchitecture that it uses on the desktop and squeeze it into a mobile SoC. Creating high performance, power efficient processors is a complex business and ARM has specialized in this field. Every ARM processor is designed specifically for power efficiency while delivering the maximum performance. Intel’s focus is the desktop and servers, places where big ventilation fans are the norm and power usage isn’t as critical as on mobile. Until Intel starts to take mobile seriously it will always come in second, just as demonstrated by the Atom Z3580.

Read on:

  • Osakwe tochukwu

    Why test it with z5 compact for the snapdragon version…wheres the z5 premium.

  • Robin Goyal

    I’m typing here from my phone which is Asus zenfone 2 and I must say that I disagreed with you because this is such a beast. Throw any game on my phone and it works like freaking charm. I’m on unofficial cm13 and it beats some snapdragon 810 phone. No wonder, it’s some cons too but side you’re delusional.

    • cun1806

      intel chips aren’t very efficient, stop fanboying over it. It’s a fact, not a delusion

    • foxsprout

      “works” is just a norm. It should work. Why wouldn’t it work for you?

    • C Lo

      Zenfone 2 owner and have CM12. What Robin says is correct. I have owned a Note 5 and now a Zenfone 2 and the ZF2 is very snappy and I have yet to see any lag.

  • TyH

    Qualcomm makes the best heater

  • Mateusz M

    I only missed one thing more stressed out. A price tags of the devices you are comparing. Here, where I live brand new Z5 Compact and Note 5 cost 1,7x and 2,8x as much as Zenfone respectively. Which is comparing nuts to dollars. I understand the fact that you took all the best from these companies and in some sense that’s good, but at the same time it’s bad.

  • Roby

    Intel has an interesting future in mobile tho due to Windows 10 and Continuum.

  • Vuyo Ncube

    Isn’t Geekbench that well optimised for x86-64 (not saying the Atom should win if that was the case)?

  • deltatux

    Wow, this article was flawed from the start. The Intel Atom Z3580 was never positioned to compete against the flagship processors of 2015. It was meant as a budget processor that really competed against the Snapdragon 615 of this year and Snapdragon 801/805 of 2014. Of course the Intel one would look bad because you’re not doing an apple to apple comparison.

    Intel chose not to launch a phone-specific high end SoC this year and instead focusing on high end tablets (with the X7-8700) and the super low end phone/tablet SoC with SoFIA (X3-C3200). It would have been better to pit the X7-8700 against the Snapdragon 810 and the Exynos 7420 instead.

    • So you agree that Intel don’t have a high-end phone-specific SoC… Now the question you need to ask yourself is why?

      • jirokanz

        Because it is unnecessary?

        • mobilemann

          nah, it will come to close to their lowest end x86 chips, and they want more division. It scares the shit out of them that apple’s getting what they are getting out of the a9x.

    • Jenna Love

      Someones an intel fanboy

  • Chris Barrett

    “Until Intel starts to take mobile seriously it will always come in second, just as demonstrated by the Atom Z3580.” You mean third right?

    • Ruben Hurtado

      Second to ARM architecture.

    • What Ruben said.

  • Guest

    Dunno what Antutu your using man I get around 56K on my ZenFone 2

    • James Benedict Matthews

      Your 56K is with the new version of Antutu I guess. Previous version gave high 40s for Z3580 and low 40s for Z3560. My 720p Z3560 version scored 43K on the old test and 51K on the new test.

    • Karly Johnston

      The old 5.7.1 most likely. My Mi4c scored 53k on that one and 70k on the new version 6.

  • Diego

    We all know intel atom is shit.
    Thats why intel is putting core M on the next chip.
    You are comparing a chip from 2014 to a chip from 2015?
    Ok I’m letting it pass.

  • SamsaraGuru

    Thank you for the thorougness of your article Gary. Too bad Samsung has opted for using their chip in sealed, non-battery removable phones. It would be nice to own one, but alas never to be will it be.

    • Joe Schmoe

      At first I agreed with your sentiment, but when I think about it, I’d say Apple is to blame for that trend.

      • SamsaraGuru

        You are correct re Apple’s sealed phone paradigm pushing the market towards that standard.

        Apple and a lack of concern and interest on the part of most people to have a removable battery caused Samsung to abandon this feature.

        Fashion over practicality won the day – let’s hear it for stupidity too. Lithium batteries have a life expectancy of somewhere around 500 plus charges and hold less and less charge as time goes by, ultimately meaning a phone will die in a year or two.

        Now, I realize given the frivolous, spendthrift nature of most people and them having without thinking about it embraced upgrading as divinely ordained, that this change it once a year paradigm is almost never questioned. Nothing new that, stupid does as stupid is.

        Perhaps if one is a billionaire where $700.00 is like seven cents is to the average person one might be that cavalier and lacking in circumspection, but I am not a billionaire and even if I was wouldn’t be so profligate.

        Phones today at the top of the heap performance wise will easily survive 3 or more years without needing to be replaced, thus amortizing the initial outlay with attendant albeit hidden but nonetheless real financial benefits.

        I, for one, turned my back long ago on the “If it is new I must have it because it’s sexy like me and I want everyone to notice it and me” BS that is used by highly paid but bereft of any moral rectitude Fifth Avenue ad men or women whose job it is to manipulate people to buy even when no need exists.

        Apple is like the ad folks – bereft of any moral rectitude, thus its sealed from the first one iPhone. Samsung simply, ultimately observed that flash in the pan and pretty, rather than long lasting truly functional cases sell better – and wisely, but sadly, for those like myself, who will NOT buy a sealed phone took the path of least resistance but, by doing so, made it so I won’t buy another Samsung phone.

        Not something I suspect that will keep them up nights!

        • Joe Schmoe

          I’m with you on that. The last phone I had with a replaceable battery (which I needed to replace twice) was the original Atrix.

          Do you recommend any battery-replaceable phones on the market right now?

          • SamsaraGuru

            I have had my eye on the LG V10 which if you search around for one with a dual sim (a feature I like the idea of) WITH a warranty you can find for about $450.00 to $489.00 new or refurbished for $299.00 see links below – no sense in making you go looking!

            Apparently, LG is going to come out with the next iteration the V20 in September – so now I have to wait!

            I read about some people saying there are boot issues with the LG phones; but then you also read exactly the opposite.

            I like the size; it has a great camera; high quality audio and a nice big screen, which is what I am insisting upon this time along with a removable battery. It also has a micro SD slot that is good I think for up to 128 Gig. It has everything I am looking for.

            Here are the best prices and sources for it unlocked that I have thus found. If you find any better ones please let me know.

            New LG V10 H962 64GB 5 7 inch Dual Sim LTE Factory Unlocked with 1 Year Warranty | eBay

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            also,
            Refurbished LG V10 H901 – 64GB – Space Black (T-Mobile) 5.7″ 4G LTE Android Smartphone by LG
            In Stock 10 Available

            USD$294.00 Free Shipping

            https://www.pricefalls.com/product/lg-v10-h901-64gb-space-black-t-mobile-android-smartphone/85913890

  • Mohammad Hussain

    WOW JUST WOW BY SONY. Now don’t start a comparison war. what I mean to say is that after having the SD810 and just 2gigs of RAM in such a small body it manages to run so well but you could have taken another phone right??

  • Marty

    From a user-experience point of view, the latest Exynos is the most powerful, but the Qualcomm chips have alway provided the highest overall quality of operation. The Exynos system is powerful, but suffers from operational annoyances like lag and stutter. The Qualcomm systems aren’t the most powerful, but don’t exhibit the jerky lag and stutter of the others making the overall user experience more satisfying.

    • fappingsohard

      powerful…but lag and stutter? lol

      • Marty

        I take it you equate power with smooth and stutter-free, pleasant operation?

      • Christopher Sridhar

        That’s thanks to the touchwiz skin on samsung phones.. although samsung have optimized touchwiz a lot, it could still do with a few more improvements.

        • Phillip

          Touch wiz is not a issues with the newer gs6 edge plus and note 5 anyone that says different don’t own the phone

          • Sweet Note

            If only that was the case, depends from each users device aswell. I use mine in battery saving and its nearly unusable, with lagg animations across the board, and sadly mine is already scratched in back :/ and has a loosen button, but hey thats not what im trying to say in regard of its performance, but it just gives me more reasons to get a new phone. Waiting for next years LG flagship to trade it in for one, or an Iphone 7 depending on what they do aha. Im pretty disapointed aswell with the memory, i only have 1,1 Gigabytes of Ram available at all time even in full power usage. I had such high expectations for this phone :(, (S6 Edge + 64Gb International Version).

          • Phillip

            Wow must say I know a lot of folks with the note 5 and yours is the only one I’ve ever heard with all those issue on one phone …..I’m thinking your doing a Lil Sammy hating here I’m afraid to say . No phone is perfect but really now . Mines has been a beast since day one . And further more if I had the issue you claim you had ld sent that phone back it’s under warranty

          • Sweet Note

            I got a replacement plan, takes 2 months to activate on the other hand. Pretty awful since it requires the device to be over 80% damaged, but its still better than warranty. I had a past experience with a note 4, it went 5 times under warranty and took 6 months for me to trade for another phone, this edge + i have now. And it only happened, because i contacted the retailers enterprise lawiers directly, on how bad the service was and that a costumer shouldnt be treated like a low dog since we payed for the device and well. So i gave a new shot at Samsung devices, ignoring that troublesome retailer and warranty service, because i wanted another Note device. Didnt come to Europe so i was forced to get the Edge + (Closest thing to a note i guess, without the ilusive S-pen). :/ Yeah pretty bad time ive been having. I purchased a OPX for my father and i must say its pretty impressive how a tiny priced phone packs such speed and build quality. Really only the camera and connectivity arent on par in that phone, but otherwise pretty good. Also, how much ram you got available on yours? The S6 and S6 Edge had issues with only 200 Mb of Ram free, i got 1,1 gigs free, so you got about 2 or something?

          • Phillip

            Well you issue is not the normal .had the regular gs6 and the gs6 edge plus is twice the phone that’s why I got it I’ve had all the notes before and the newer version is by far more the beast.sorry you had issue with yours cause iF you read must n5 forums most love the phone guess you got th one bad apple

          • Marty

            Agreed. I have Touchwiz devices with Qualcomm and Exynos SoCs and only the Exynos-equipped devices lag and stutter.

    • Phillip

      Not sure what phone your talking about cause the note 5 and gs6 edge plus are a beast as this test proves . Your minds set is stuck on old gs3 gs5 I own the gs6 edge plus not a hit of lag

      • Marty

        I have a GS3 and it has never exhibited the lag and stutter of my GS6. But my GS3 has a Qualcomm SoC. It’s always smooth and stutter-free.

        • Phillip

          Hum .I still own both a 3 and a gs4 still good running phones and I had the gs6 trust me it’s faster only reason I upgraded to the gs6 edge plus was for the battery and more ram which fixed every thing . I think for the most part it just send like the hip thing to say that all Samsung lag not the n5 are gs6 edge plus

          • Marty

            I never said the GS6 wasn’t faster. But being faster doesn’t mean smoother and lag-free. When I tested store units of the GS6 and HTC One M9, I found the M9 to be faster opening apps and such. The GS6 wasn’t slow, it just wasn’t as fast as the M9. I didn’t notice any lag or stutter in the store unit. And I didn’t readily notice any lag or stutter in my own GS6 immediately. It took a little while for the lag and stutter to become obvious. Mainly when I needed to take a picture really quick, it would hesitate opening the camera for a bit and sometimes cause me to lose the moment I was wanting to capture.

            I notice lag and stutter all the time now. It isn’t buttery smooth like my M8 or other Qualcomm-equipped devices. So say what you want about my personal experience. I refuse to back down from what I actually experience with Exynos-equipped devices. They stink worse than dog shit. Deal with it.

  • James Benedict Matthews

    Interesting and thorough comparison. It is valid, I suppose, to compare the best SoC each chip maker offers. However, the relative price of the chips and devices needs to be taken into consideration. You are really comparing apples and pears here, as intel doesn’t make an expensive chipset for high-end devices. The Note 5 or Z5 cost two or three times what a Zenfone does. The Atom Z3560 and Z3580 should realistically and more fairly be compared up against the likes of Snapdragon 410, 615 or 801, which can be found in similaly priced devices. If you do that comparison I think you’ll see that intel has done a good job in the section it has chosen to compete in.

    • Joe Schmoe

      Great point!

  • sachouba

    Thanks for this comparison, it’s great.

  • Dan

    I was kind of hoping they would have had the nVidida Tegra line in here too since they are comparing SoC’s and not phones. I am very curious how the X1 or K1 compare to these processors. Too bad Intel didn’t do better, I am an intel fan at heart.

  • king pach

    Nvida makes the best SoC hands down just look at the Tegra X1

    • Karly Johnston

      It would kill a phone battery in a couple hours so not hardly.

  • Android Developer

    well seeing that the zenfone 2 actually is quite fast, I assume the others are even faster, according to the tests…

  • TheOracle

    I used to take benchmarks as gospel and they do have their uses but the overall optimization of the software is what makes for how good a phone is.. The Zenfone 2 is smooth, fast and has zero stutter or lag. Period. For $299 I’d rather buy two than one of the so called “premium” phones.

  • Shane Phillips

    Intel’s desktop processors are amazing, but their mobile efforts are underwhelming to say the least.

  • HotelQuebec

    ARM and Samsung are both winners in 2015. 2016 will be very interesting with ARM A72 that will allow them to get further ahead of Intel.

  • Andrew Tan

    Samsung Exynos is best for year 2015. 😊

    • tiger

      That belongs to Apple dude.

  • himanshu

    But my Nexus 6p scores around 92k antutu on stock . has same sd810 processor ????????

  • Reuben

    I also have a Zenfone 2 and I love it. Battery life is fine, performance is great for sub-$300 phone. Please update the article and take into account pricing as other people have said. This is a great comparison, but people reading it should know about pricing, and price/performance, the Intel SOC is great. I’d like to see what Intel can do with a more expensive, high-end, perhaps 14nm chip.

  • Matthew John Kurke

    Someone can correct me, but I don’t think having 8 cores can be a benefit in the multi core tests as this author claims. My understanding of big.LITTLE is that only 4 of the cores are ever running at one time.

    • No, all 8 cores are used. Originally when the first big.LITTLE devices were released that was indeed the case, but not now.

  • Victor N.

    If Intel did high-end SoC’s, they would probably be the best in the world!

    • tiger

      It takes more than just saying it…if Intel COULD, then they would have done it already…mobile chips are very different than desktop.

      • Victor N.

        It took Samsung 4 years to develop the Exynos processor at a point that is better than Qualcomm’s. Do you think Intel can’t do it ?

        I think there is a lack of interest for some reason.

        • tiger

          Do you think that it is easy? See Nvidia attempts.

          It is very hard to stay ahead of the curve. A lot of investment and time. It is hard to compete in both mobile and desktop and be on top on both.

          Apple invested a whole lot to be where they are at now in CPU design. Qualcomm fell behind because they became arrogant. Samsung is inching ahead of Qualcomm only because Qualcomm fell behind. Samsung CPU designs are still one year behind Apple’s.

          • mobilemann

            wow you don’t find truth here often.

        • Andreas Larsson

          No it didn’t, the exynos in the galaxy s2 was better then the same generation qualcomm so ut didn’t even need 4 years

  • The-Sailor-Man

    Using Note 5 for the real world compare test is not fair.
    Note supports and runs much more tasks than the other phones.

  • Shoolawa

    Good and informative article on one side, a clear proof of bias and idiocy on the other.
    So you used an Xperia Z phone as a representative of the 810soc.
    a bunch of mediocre Chinese rip offs, nexuses and God knows what, got higher final grades, verdicts, why didn’t you use them?

    Haven’t your reviews claimed that the new Z is a laggy, good for nothing expensive ugly POS?
    Glad you actually contradicted yourself by doing this test.
    The war on Sony continues, a few people buy it (me being one) and realizing how awesome it is.

  • Daggett Beaver

    You wrote a bubble sort benchmark for Android phones in Javascript? Holy Ignoramuses, Batman.

    • Me, no, I did no such thing. Why do you think I did???

  • It’s obvious that Samsung outperforms the competition. In a multithreading environment more cores equal better performance. On paper Samsung and Qualcomm have very similar architecture the question is what is actually giving Samsung the performance edge?

    • Daggett Beaver

      One thing: 14 nm. It doesn’t heat up as much/fast, so it doesn’t get throttled as much/fast.

  • tiger

    Where is Apple A9?

  • 1213 1213

    Interesting to see that Sony dealt with throttling to the extent it’s less than exynos.

  • Rohit Raja

    I hope Intel will up their game soon. I love my ASUS ZF2 though….brilliant performance although not flagship material….