Last week Samsung introduced the latest handsets in the Galaxy Note series. The Galaxy Note has always been a special phone for me after I was initially part of a small team that promoted the very first Galaxy Note in Berlin at the IFA. Unfortunately, whilst the Note brings a fantastic screen, S-Pen functionality and a new premium bronze finish, European users are getting somewhat of a rough deal.
For several years now, Samsung has used different processors depending on the region the phone is sold in. America, China and most recently Korea all receive the latest Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm. Europe receives Samsung’s own in house Exynos processor. It has now become a common trend that the Exynos processors are inferior to their Qualcomm counterparts, despite Samsung advising they are equal and the cost being the same.
Previously, power users could choose to import a Snapdragon model, however, this is now more difficult since the introduction of 5G and various region locks. The S20 series clearly demonstrated the difference between the Snapdragon 865 and the Exynos 990, the Qualcomm variant has around 1-2 hours extra battery life, better performance and even better camera quality. The Exynos version also struggles during intense gaming sessions due to the processor throttling at higher temperatures.
The Note 20 series had been rumoured to come with an improved Exynos 992 processor, however, Samsung has released two variants. One with the same Exynos 990 that featured in the S20 European series and a Snapdragon 865+ variant. Note, this is an improvement on the original 865 which means the gap in performance maybe even bigger with the new Note series. Samsung has advised that the processor has received further optimisation, however, based on previous generations I am not holding my breath.
Despite my above concerns, general users may not notice any difference and the phone will still perform well in day to day tasks. However, I will most likely not be buying a Note this time round. The Note 20 Ultra retails for £1179, considering the knowledge I have regarding the Exynos version this makes it a very difficult purchase. Samsung is actually giving European users 256GB base storage this year compared to the base 128GB in the Snapdragon variant. Is this Samsung’s attempt at making up for the performance gap? It is also worth noting, Samsung’s Fold series all use Snapdragon processors. If Samsung truly believes in their Exynos processors, why isn’t it included in the Fold?
Although the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is likely to retail for nearly £2000 GBP, this is a much better purchase for me this year and I will be watching with excitement on September 1st!