Samsung has always put the best of the best components in its flagship Galaxy phones but one critical hardware is quickly becoming a liability rather than an asset. Its own branded Exynos silicon, in spite and despite all the marketing, has had trouble catching up with its Qualcomm equivalents in recent iterations. That disparity made headlines when the Galaxy S20 launched earlier this year and Samsung seems fated to make the same mistake with the Galaxy Note 20 with one minor difference. It will use a supposedly improved version of the Exynos 990 instead.
Samsung has always tried to match Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 series chips considering it ships two variants of its flagship phones. The Exynos 990 is supposed to be the Snapdragon 865’s peer, but that turned out not to be the case. When Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 865+, it was expected that Samsung would follow suit. Again, that wasn’t the case either.
Instead, it might talk about a new and improved Exynos 990, not an Exynos 992 and not even an Exynos 990+. Whether it has actually made such improvements will surely be scrutinized when the Galaxy Note 20 does launch. Given benchmarks and tests and reviews earlier this year between the Exynos 990 and Snapdragon 865, that seems almost unlikely.
Users that will be stuck with an Exynos 990 model might not be satisfied with whatever spiel Samsung makes and neither will shareholders and Korean consumers. Samsung’s decision to use a Snapdragon instead of an Exynos for Korean Galaxy S20 units took its own semiconductor business by surprise and caused no small amount of corporate drama on top of consumer backlash. Korean Galaxy Note 20 units will likewise use a Snapdragon 865+.
Other than the choice of processor, though, the Galaxy Note 20 is shaping up to be a strong contender for the 2020 smartphone race. That is if you have saved enough to afford a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Otherwise, you might be stuck with what is practically a Galaxy Note 20 Lite with more compromises than just an Exynos 990.