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The Exynos 990-powered Samsung Galaxy S20 series is not a good choice for smartphone gamers

Shambolic. (Source: Chong Liu)
Shambolic. (Source: Chong Liu)
When shelling out up to the equivalent of US$1600 for a new phone, one would expect it to be the class-leading in performance, or at least better than last year's releases. Not the Galaxy S20, though, as a new test has shown the Exynos Galaxy S20+ getting absolutely destroyed by a Snapdragon 855-powered S10+ at gaming.

A few days ago, we published a report on the poor efficiency of the Exynos 990 SoC on the Samsung Galaxy S20 phones, with the new SoC posting a worse performance to power ration on SPECint than even last year's Snapdragon 855. Well, it would appear that such a disadvantage also carries over nicely to real-world usage, especially in gaming.

In a video shared by @lch920619x, the source of the initial efficiency report, the Exynos 990-powered Samsung Galaxy S20+ can be seen struggling at gaming when compared to the Snapdragon 855-powered Galaxy S10+ from last year.

With both phones set to 1080p @ 60 Hz and launching NBA 2K20 at max graphic setting, the gaming performance disparity is easily noticeable, as the Galaxy S10+ with the Snapdragon 855 holds a steady 60fps, with a few intermittent drops down to 59fps. The Exynos 990-powered S20+ is an entirely different case, though, struggling at around 43fps in regular gameplay and only hitting 60fps during cutscenes.

After 15 minutes of gameplay, the Galaxy S20 had become noticeably hot to the touch, with noticeable thermal throttling dropping framerates to a miserable 30fps average. The S10+ also throttled but not anywhere near as much, as the game still ran at about 50fps. By the end, the Snapdragon 855-powered Galaxy S10+ had averaged a framerate of 54fps, while the Galaxy S20+ was far behind at 39fps. Framerate fluctuation was also roughly 25% lower on the S10+.

Doing the same test on PUBG right after brought about similar outcomes, with the S10+ managing to stay at a minimum of 55fps, while the S20+ at times dropped down to 30fps at times. After a few minutes of gaming, the S20+ was dropping as low as 20fps, while the S10+ maintained its 55fps range. A final test after letting the devices to cool off again yielded similar results: the S20+ averaged 43fps; the S10+ held on to 58fps.

It's safe to say that the Exynos 990 is, well, bad for gaming. It's nothing new, either, as owners of previous Exynos Galaxy flagships usually have similar testimonies. We wouldn't be surprised if the Snapdragon 845-powered Galaxy S9 actually manages to keep up with the Exynos S20 at gaming, and that's just shambolic of Samsung. 

Worse performance, worse efficiency, and as seen often in the past, even worse camera performance. Buyers of the Exynos models of Samsung flagships are getting shafted, and that may as well be a fact. If gaming is a priority, do yourself a favor and skip the Exynos Galaxy S20 models.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 03 > The Exynos 990-powered Samsung Galaxy S20 series is not a good choice for smartphone gamers
Ricci Rox, 2020-03-19 (Update: 2020-03-19)