Chip comparison: Samsung’s new Exynos 7870 chip vs Snapdragon 617

Samsung’s new Exynos 7 Octa 7870 chip may look like the future of low-cost mobile computing, but a look at what it is capable of and its specifications may suggest that more work might need to be done for the chip to be ready for its much exalted new status. 

Exynos 7 Octa 7870 is Samsung’s second 14nm chip after the Exynos 7420 and is capable of record levels of power efficiency at the same performance levels.

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To see if Samsung has indeed achieved a breakthrough with the new chip, we decided to compare the new Exynos 7 Octa 7870 chip with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 617 which powers another capable mid-range phone, the HTC One A9.

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SpecificationExynos 7870Snapdragon 617
DisplayFull HD 1080pFull HD 1080p
Cameras16MP front and rear21MP
 8MP front and rear (dual mode)Dual Image Sensor (ISP)
Download speed300 Mbps300 Mbps
Upload speedNot known100 Mbps
Battery efficiency30% better than 28nm chipsQuickCharge 3.0
CPU8x 1.6GHz Cortex-A53 cores8x ARM® Cortex™ A53
GPUNot knownAdreno 405
Video playback60 fps HD60 fps HD

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In terms of upload and download speeds, Exynos 7870 achieves download speeds of up to 300 Mbps which is what Snapdragon 617 lets you do. The Exynos chip’s eight 1.6GHz Cortex-A53 cores and LTE Modem also allows for FDD-TDD Joint Carrier Aggregation.

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As per Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 617 chip also allows for 2x20 MHz carrier aggregation which lets you enjoy the maximum internet speeds by merging a number of LTE carriers. The 20 MHz band is the highest at which a carrier can aggregate with other carriers, which means users of both chips will be getting a good deal here.

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While Samsung claims that Exynos 7870 is 30 per cent more battery efficient than other 28nm chips with the same performance levels, Snapdragon 617 comes with QuickCharge 3.0 solution which lets you charge your phone four times faster than other conventional charging methods. For you it’s about choosing between one that sips lesser battery power and the other which charges your phone rapidly.

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If you prefer your low-cost phones with great cameras, Snapdragon clinches the contest with support for resolutions of up to 21MP. On the other hand, Exynos 7870 offers support for up to 16MP for both rear and front cameras which makes it ideal for selfie-addicts.

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As far as high resolution smartphone displays are concerned, both chips offer similar support for Full HD 1080 x 1920p displays which means either can be suitable for you unless you plan to go for a phone with a Super AMOLED, Quad HD or 4K display. 

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Even though Exynos 7870 isn't meant to compete with Snapdragon 810 or 820 super-processors, it doesn't really outrun Snapdragon processors that are made for mid-range phones. However, the real test of processors rest on their performance on the road and with Samsung beginning to install Exynos 7870 chips on its mid-range phones from Q1 itself, we'll get to test its real-time performance sooner than we imagined.


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