Samsung expects its new Galaxy S8 smartphone to become its best-selling handset of all time. Combined lifetime sales of its next-generation Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are expected to top last year’s Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, which currently combine to hold that title for Samsung. While the company hasn’t shared any specific targets, rumors suggest Samsung is aiming to sell about 60 million units, which is certainly nothing to scoff at. In fact, thousands of people reading this post right now probably plan to buy a Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ themselves. Most of those people are likely situated in the United States though, so there’s something they should know: There are two different versions of Samsung’s hot new flagship smartphones, and the ones you buy won’t be as powerful as the versions available elsewhere.
As Samsung has done in previous years with its flagship smartphones, the company uses two different processors depending on region. In the US, Qualcomm’s new 10nm Snapdragon 835 is running the show. Elsewhere, Samsung’s 10nm Exynos 8895 SoC powers the S8 and S8+. The two chipsets are comparable, but not identical.
Samsung notes in its Galaxy S8 specs that the Snapdragon 835 consists of a 2.3GHz quad-core for heavy lifting that is coupled with a power-efficient 1.7GHz quad that powers typical tasks. Meanwhile, the Exynos 8895 in the global versions of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ features a 2.35GHz quad and a 1.9GHz quad. As a number of tests have shown, these two chipsets do not deliver the same performance when they’re pushed to their limits.
Using the popular AnTuTu benchmark test to measure performance, the Snapdragon 835-powered US version of the Galaxy S8 generally scores in the 162,000-165,000 range. For the Exynos 8895-powered global model, however, we’ve seen AnTuTu scores as high as a whopping 205,000 points. That’s plenty good enough to top the previous market leader, Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, which tops out around 185,000.
You read that correctly, and it’s really going to hurt Android fanboys in the US. The Galaxy S8 actually is powerful enough to crush the iPhone 7 Plus, at least, as measured by AnTuTu. But the version sold in the US will fall short of matching the iPhone’s impressive performance.
We spent some time with the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, and we shared our early impressions in a hands-on Galaxy S8 preview. To most people, benchmark scores are meaningless, and we can confirm that the US version of the Galaxy S8 felt lightning fast while we were testing it. This just means that hardcore Android fans who thought they were going to have bragging rights over Apple fans are in for a bit of disappointment.