Samsung Exynos 1080 promises premium features for mid-range phones

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Qualcomm may have the lion's share of the mobile AP market but it's hardly the only one. Huawei's HiSilicon is probably out for now because of US bans but MediaTek is making up for lost time by flooding the market with countless chips. Samsung isn't taking this sitting down either, even if rumors about its semiconductor business are less than encouraging. In fact, it has just announced the new Exynos 1080 5G which, at least on paper, could give mid-range phones high-end features without going all out on the costs.

There is that now common 5G factor, to no one's surprise, though even here the Exynos 1080 seems to take a different spin than most. In addition to the usual sub-6GHz bands, the integrated modem even supports the less common mmWave spectrum. 5G, however, is just the tip of the iceberg and most users might be more interested in the rest of the package's features.

The Exynos 1080 sports 8 cores arranged in a tri-cluster grouping. A single Cortex-A78 is clocked at the top 2.8GHz speed while three other Cortex-A78 cores follow closely behind at 2.6GHz. The rest is made up of four 2GHz Cortex-A55 cores to handle lighter tasks. Along with the 5nm EUV FinFET process and a proprietary power-saving solution, Samsung advertises the Exynos 1080 to be its most power-efficient chip yet.

The processor also supports other premium features, like fast display refresh rates at 90Hz for WQHD+ screens and 144Hz for FHD+. It can even support LPDRR5 RAM, which is still rare for mid-tier devices. All in all, the Exynos 1080 gives Samsung's own Exynos 990 on the Galaxy Note 20 a run for its money, which opens possibilities for the company's future Galaxy A series phones.

That said, the real test of the Exynos 1080's mettle is whether it can stand up against Qualcomm's equivalent Snapdragon 765G and later chips, a comparison that doesn't always end in Samsung's favor. The Exynos 1080 is set to debut in a Vivo phone next year so it will be a rather long waiting time to see meaningful benchmarks.