Samsung Galaxy Note 20 leak reveals bad news for performance

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
(Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra should be pretty fast in the U.S., as they’re expected to ship with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus chip. But the picture doesn’t look so rosy in other parts of the world.

Leaker Ice Universe has issued a tweet signaling that Samsung will continue with the Exynos 990 processor in the Galaxy Note 20 series outside of the U.S. And fellow leaker Max Weinbach has piled on, saying that the “Exynos will be used in the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra.” 

So why is this bad news? The Exynos 990 chip, found inside the Samsung Galaxy S20,  proved to be slower in side-by-side benchmark testing versus the previous Snapdragon 865 processor. Android Central has a good comparison that’s worth checking out. In addition, some users have complained that Samsung throttles the speed of the Exynos 990 in order to preserve battery life. 

Samsung reportedly has a new 6nm Exynos 992 chip in the works, which would be more efficient, but it doesn’t look like this processor is going to make it in the Galaxy Note 20 or Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. 

Meanwhile, the iPhone 12 is expected to feature a blazing new 5nm A14 Bionic chip that will likely pace Apple to having the fastest phone around. In fact, early benchmarks suggest the A14 Bionic could deliver MacBook Pro-like power. And you’ll be able to get this processor no matter where you buy the iPhone 12.

Some have called on Samsung to use Snapdragon processors across the board for its flagships, but the company’s trend of using Qualcomm in the U.S. and its own processor in overseas markets doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. 

The Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra have plenty of other new features to be excited about, from 120Hz LTPO displays and improved camera systems to new features for the S Pen. The new Note 20 phones should also offer larger batteries and possibly even lower prices than their predecessors.

But it you’re looking for sheer speed and you’re not in the U.S., the Galaxy Note 20 may disappoint. 

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.