Samsung Galaxy S10, processor unveiled: what we know

The South Korean manufacturer has anticipated the specifications of the processor that will be mounted by the GalaXy S10, allowing to derive valuable information about the phone

While waiting to see live the Samsung Galaxy S10, flagship smartphone that the South Korean manufacturer is expected to launch at the Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, some features of this device can already be guessed from the analysis of the Exynos 9820, the high-performance chip that will be used for all high-end Samsung smartphones of 2019.

From the analysis of the chip, however, comes not only good news for Samsung fans: some features already present in other top-of-the-line phones on the Galaxy S10 will not be there. Users, in short, will have to "settle" for the revolutionary design, which should see the appearance - first time ever in the top of the range Samsung home - of the notch, the notch in the screen in which to "contain" the front cameras and the technology necessary for facial unlocking.

No 4k display

Technically, the Exynos 9820 chip can handle a display with 4k resolution, but the previous Exynos 9810 on board the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9 could also do it. As with its predecessor, it's highly likely that even with this microprocessor Samsung won't choose to adopt 4k resolution for the screen because, at the moment, the possible benefits would be limited to virtual reality.

4K HDR video

The 4K isn't there for the display but it will be there for video, along with the 10-bit HEVC (H.265) codec and the Super Slow Motion that should be usable up to 1080p resolution, versus the current 720p. To be fair, the new chip also supports 8K resolution for video, but Samsung is unlikely to enable it except for very short videos since 8K movies take up a lot of memory space.

Many cameras, 5 sensors

The Exynos 9820 supports up to 5 photo sensors, more than its predecessor. Samsung has certainly been forced to develop this part of the processor to keep up with the competition, which has made great strides in recent months: the Huawei P30 will have four cameras and 10x optical zoom, the LG V40 has 5 cameras; The Nokia 9 should mount 5 only in the back, plus one or two in the front.

The 5 cameras on the Samsung Galaxy S10 could be three at the back and two at the front, which would mean Samsung has decided to ditch the much-criticized but always integrated iris sensor (starting with the Galaxy Note 7) on all high-end devices.

Top gaming performance

As far as performance is concerned, don't expect a big leap forward in daily tasks: current Samsung smartphones are already very optimized for basic tasks and if there will be a further improvement it won't be easy to notice with the naked eye. We're talking about 20% more performance, and 40% more energy efficiency, in single core mode. In multi-core we're talking about 15% higher performance.

The real difference will be seen in games, where the Exynos 9820 chip has an advantage over the 9820 thanks to the Mali-G76 GPU which is 40% more powerful than the old Exynos equivalent. Moreover, the new GPU is also more efficient and should consume less power.

About power consumption versus performance, Samsung's choice to adopt an 8 nanometer manufacturing process instead of the previous 10 will certainly be an advantage, but not as big as the one brought by the 7 nanometer manufacturing process adopted by direct competitors: Huawei-HiSilicon's Kirin 980 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8150.

Ultra-fast RAM, but what about RAM?

Good news regarding the memory to store your data on the Galaxy S10: the new microprocessor is compatible with the UFS 3.0 standard, up to three times faster than the old UFS 2.1. Bad news, however, regarding RAM: no compatibility with LPDDR5x, the Exynos 9820 only supports LPDDR4x memory (the same on board the Galaxy S9).

No 5G

The Exynos 9820 does not support 5G connection and it seems that Samsung will not launch a 5G device before 2020, adding this feature to the Exynos 9830. This is a choice that is not entirely open to criticism, given that this standard has not yet been adopted en masse by phone operators and the current 4G performance is more than sufficient for the normal activities of the average user.

Artificial intelligence to do everything

Exynos 9820 integrates within it an NPU: Neural Processing Unit, a neural microprocessor that has the sole purpose of managing the artificial intelligence of the smartphone. We'll probably see it in action in camera management with intelligent scene recognition that adjusts shooting parameters based on what it sees. The same chip could allow the smartphone to learn our habits to save us battery or optimize our apps based on the use we make of them. The possibilities are many, it all depends on how much Samsung will work on the software side to squeeze the most out of this section of the Exynos 9820.