A couple of weeks ago, we got our first leaked benchmarks of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus. Now the vanilla Galaxy S21 has also appeared on Geekbench with similar results, as you would expect for two handsets anticipated to use the same core Snapdragon 888 chipset.
The phone, sporting the model number SM-G991U and running on the ‘Lahaina’ chipset, scores 1,075 in single-core tests, and 2,916 in multi-core. That’s slightly weaker than the scores for the S21 Plus which achieved 1,120 and 3,319 in the two tests, but just about within the general margin of error for identical chipsets tested in different circumstances (just look at the range of Samsung Galaxy S20 scores for proof).
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While these are solid figures that should provide a smooth Android experience, the bad news is that it doesn’t seem that Qualcomm’s 5nm Snapdragon 888 SoC has done enough to close the gap with the Apple A14 that powers the iPhone 12, which achieved single-core and multi-core Geekbench scores of 1,593 and 3,859, respectively.
But it’s important to note that benchmarks don’t tell the full story – especially for a new chipset like the Snapdragon 888, which was only officially unveiled three days ago. There will be plenty of optimization going on behind the scenes to make sure that the new chip performs as well as possible ahead of the S21’s rumored January release date. And even if this really is as good as it gets, some of the main improvements of the Snapdragon 888 — in photography, AI and gaming — won't be picked up by Geekbench’s test. It simply measures computational speed.
Still, it does make another subplot of the Samsung Galaxy S21’s release a little more interesting: where does this leave Exynos 2100 powered devices? In past years, Galaxy S and Note devices bought in the US have used Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, while those purchased elsewhere have had Samsung’s own Exynos equivalent. Generally speaking, while no slouch, the Exynos chips have been visibly slower when tested side by side.
This year, however, it looks like the gap may be closing a little. An earlier leaked benchmark of the Exynos 2100 showed Geekbench 5 scores of 1,040 and 3,107 – pretty close to the S21 scores revealed here.
We’ll have to see if this performance holds for both versions of the handset when they launch in early 2021. While we’re expecting usual iterative changes from the S20 to S21, the real action is set to take place with the S21 Ultra model, which is due to feature a LTPO display, two optical zoom lenses and possible S Pen support.
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Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.