First Galaxy S20 benchmarks just leaked — and they don't look good

Galaxy S20 Plus
(Image credit: Future)

Performance numbers reportedly showing off the Galaxy S20's performance have popped up on benchmarking site Geekbench, and they don't paint a very impressive picture. But there's no need to panic about Samsung's upcoming phone just yet.

This new Geekbench post shows off a device labeled as the SM-G981U, which GSMArena identifies as the smallest of the trio of S20 models Samsung reportedly has in the works. The device is powered by a Qualcomm system-on-chip — most likely the Snapdragon 865 — and running Android 10. That device posted a single-core result of 561 and a multicore score of 2,358 on Geekbench 5.1, which measures overall performance.

Those numbers are... not great. Samsung's Galaxy Note 10, powered by last year's Snapdragon 855 chipset, produced single-core and multicore scores of 746 and 2,640, respectively, when we tested that phone for our Galaxy Note 10 review. The OnePlus 7 Pro also outperformed this newer device with respective scores of 744 and 2,802.

More significantly, the alleged Galaxy S20 numbers appearing on Geekbench are nowhere near what we saw when we tested a Snapdragon 865-powered reference device in December. In those tests, the Snapdragon 865 device produced an average multicore score of 3,463 — in the ballpark of Apple's pace-setting A13 Bionic processor, which tallied a score of 3,517 when we tested the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Snapdragon 865 device produced a single-core score of 934 in our testing, far ahead of the numbers just posted to Geekbench.

That's fueling speculation on tech blogs that the Galaxy S20 model appearing in these new Geekbench results is a pre-production model that's yet to be optimized to take full advantage of the Snapdragon chipset powering the device. Phone makers do all sorts of optimizations — some emphasizing performance, some tweaking efficiency for longer battery life — which explains why phones with the same system-on-chip can produce different benchmark results.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Adding fuel to this speculation are some results that appeared on Geekbench earlier this week, for another rumored variant of the Galaxy S20. This phone, reportedly a Galaxy S20 Plus, posted single- and multicore scores of 923 and 3,2617, respectively. Those numbers are a lot closer to what we saw during our Snapdragon 865 benchmarking and probably a more reasonable expectation for what the Galaxy S20 will deliver when it's unveiled at a Feb. 11 press event held by Samsung.

The latest Geekbench numbers do provide one interesting tidbit of info about Samsung's upcoming phones. The model producing the lackluster results apparently features 12GB of RAM. That would confirm leaked Galaxy S20 specs from earlier this week suggesting that Samsung is increasing the amount of memory on the Galaxy S20 phones.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.