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The fastest smartphone processors available today compared

AndroidPIT kirin 990
© nextpit

The smartphone processor market is essentially divided between Huawei, Samsung, and Qualcomm. Qualcomm is a supplier to most smartphone manufacturers, while Samsung and Huawei also manufacture their own chipsets. We have compared the single-chip systems to show you the main differences.

Processors for smartphones always come as a single system on a chip (SoC). This means that several processor types are lasered into one piece of silicon, which significantly influences the working speed of the smartphone. The clock rate and the number of cores of the central CPU computing unit do not say anything about how fast the smartphone works in certain tasks.

An SoC consists of a CPU, graphics processor (GPU), LTE modem, multimedia processor, security, signal processor, an AI accelerator, and often units for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This feature diversity makes it difficult to speak of the fastest smartphone processor, overall.

Top Android smartphones will have one of the following chips in the second half of 2019:

Flagship smartphone chipsets in 2019/2020

Manufacturer Qualcomm Samsung Huawei
Chipset Snapdragon 855 Plus Exynos 9825 HiSilicon Kirin 990
Launch date September 2019 August 2019 November 2019
CPU Cryo 485 Octa-Core 2 x Mongoose + 2 x ARM Cortex-A75 + 4 x ARM Cortex-A55 4 x ARM Cortex-A76, 4 x -A55
CPU-FREQ (MAX.) 2.96 GHz 2.73 GHz 2.86 GHz
GPU Adreno 640 Mali G76 MP12 Mali G76
AI processor Hexagon 690 NPU dual NPU
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad/ay/ax, 10 Gbps 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Qualcomm X24 Modem: Cat. 20, 2 Gbit/s
optional: X50 modem for 5G reception

Cat. 20 8CA, 2 Gbit/s Cat. 21, 1.6 Gbit/s, 5G variant available
Production Process 7 nm 7 nm 7 nm
Extras Spectra 380 ISP, LPDDR4x LPDDR4x Dual ISP, LPDDR4X

Almost all smartphone chips rely on the ARM architecture for their CPU. ARM delivers CPU classes of different strengths, which can be found in several variations in smartphone SoCs. The trick is in the composition and timing of the chips.

The situation is similar with the graphics processors. Qualcomm uses the Adreno to develop its own accelerators. Samsung and Huawei, on the other hand, use the Mali units from ARM. All are addressed by Android via OpenGL in different versions. The latest models also rely on volcano support. This makes the chips largely interchangeable from the point of view of game developers and their gaming performance is comparable in benchmarks.

AndroidPIT qualcomm snapdragon 835 benchmark event 144717
Qualcomm proudly presents its Adreno series in San Diego / © NextPit

You can feel a difference between fast and slow GPUs in Android when you start a new game with a really old smartphone. Unlike the Windows computer, the games (mostly) do not jerk. Instead, they present fewer details.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus

The Snapdragon 855 Plus was launched in July 2019 and now runs in some smartphones. The result is a slightly overclocked version of the Snapdragon 855. The processor is based on Qualcomm's cryo cores, eight of which clock at up to 2.96 GHz.

AndroidPIT asus rog phone ii full front
The Asus ROG Phone II was the first smartphone with Snapdragon 855 Plus / © NextPit

Unlike Huawei, Qualcomm still does not use a dedicated AI processor in its chipsets. The Hexagon DSP performs AI-specific tasks, but also serves as an efficient sensor hub in the background. The Snapdragon 855 Plus also features the X50 5G modem, which makes the Qualcomm chip ready for the next generation of mobile phones.

Samsung Exynos 9825

Samsung's in-house Exynos 9825 celebrated its premiere in the Galaxy Note 10 and features a total of eight cores that are said to offer 20 percent more power than its predecessor. The revised GPU is expected to bring even more performance gains.

androidpit samsung galaxy note 10 plus 27
The Samsung Note 10 Plus was the first to have the new Exynos processor / © NextPit

While the predecessor was still manufactured in the 8-nanometer process, Samsung is building the new processor in the 7-nanometer process.

Huawei/HiSilicon Kirin 990

Huawei presented the Kirin 990 at the IFA 2019, premiering it in the Mate 30 Pro, which is not yet on the market in all of Europe. Huawei offers the Kirin 990 in two versions, one with a 4G modem and one with a 5G modem. Huawei has also refurbished the NPU. In the 4G version, there is a small and a large core.

AndroidPIT huawei mate 30 pro front top
The Kirin 990 is in the Huawei Mate 30 Pro / © NextPit

The situation is different with Kirin 990 5G. Here Huawei switches to the Da Vinci architecture and uses a small AI core and two large ones. This should significantly speed up the corresponding calculations. Huawei loves comparisons with the competition. Of course, the Kirin 990 should be faster than the competition from Qualcomm or Apple.

Conclusion: the fastest mobile processor

The top chipsets in 2019 focus on different points. Qualcomm delivers innovations mainly in video and the modem and continues to use the Hexagon ISP for AI and other tasks. Samsung, on the other hand, specializes in the photo and video sector and has changed the production size. Huawei also relies on its local AI functions and supplies a variant with a built-in 5G modem.

To speed up your current smartphone, follow these tips:

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Eric Ferrari-Herrmann

Eric Ferrari-Herrmann
Senior Editor

Eric has been with AndroidPIT since 2014. He’s writing articles and reviews for the German website. Topics are mostly privacy and new technology but there's also the occasional piece on environmental sustainability.

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  • 1
    NEIL Mar 12, 2019 Link to comment

    ARM CORTEX HAS BEEN declined a Stage Position...all chips copy design from it.Cortex A7 a real King.

  • 1
    Abhishek Feb 8, 2019 Link to comment

    You should have included MediaTek as well. MediaTek is giving a tough competition to these brands with high quality and inexpensive processors...

  • 16
    Deactivated Account May 21, 2018 Link to comment

    hate to say it... apple wins this one by a long shot.

    • TriciaRay 5
      TriciaRay Jun 18, 2020 Link to comment

      that's true

  • Rusty H. 33
    Rusty H. May 18, 2018 Link to comment

    The "fastest" doesn't really matter to me any more. Benchmarks, big whoop. Most apps run on 5.x and most people don't run complex 3D apps. Chrome, email, text, photos, streaming. Processor speed doesn't make a phone to me any more.


  • Dean L. 34
    Dean L. Sep 24, 2017 Link to comment

    An interesting read but I would have thought that more processors would have been included. Such as some of the top chips from Mediatek, their x25 or x27 since those claim to be equivalent to Qualcomm snapdragon chip's.


  • Albin Foro 30
    Albin Foro Sep 21, 2017 Link to comment

    As an Android bottom feeder with no use for and other things to buy than the best processor, my experiences with ARM and Intel have been quite good, but Mediatek on a recent tablet is a deal breaker. This mag would do some of us a service by benchmarking and comparing the processors available on sub U$150 devices.

    SorinDean L.

  • 21
    Peter Harwood Aug 9, 2017 Link to comment

    All can say is the xzpremium is the fastest


  • Charlotte Clarke 2
    Charlotte Clarke Jun 20, 2017 Link to comment

    The table in the article lists a percentage under each listed option. The percentage is labelled as the Android pit index. Since you haven't bothered to explain what this metric refers to within the article, nor how it is calculated, it's entirely unhelpful.

    Peter HarwoodSascha Zimmer

    • Bastian Siewers 66
      Bastian Siewers Jun 21, 2017 Link to comment

      Hi Charlotte, I am a little confused. Right below the chart it says where the numbers are coming from?


      • Charlotte Clarke 2
        Charlotte Clarke Jul 10, 2017 Link to comment

        Thanks for commenting - I can see it on my laptop! Was browsing on my phone on a train before and I must have commented before the page fully loaded.

      • 1
        Xyriut Nov 6, 2018 Link to comment

        Looks like Charlotte, Sascha, and Peter are the clueless amongst the group.

  • Kostas Theodossiou 1
    Kostas Theodossiou Feb 14, 2017 Link to comment

    what about one plus 3t we all know that opls 3t is a lot faster than S7edge although I always buy samsung galaxy S series I've to admit that with almost have the money I can buy onpls3t which is in the top of benchmarks...S7edge is like 20th or even pixel XL is also faster than S7edge, but it costs too much...onpls 3t is even better than Google Pixel XL less than have money price

  • Satender Singh 1
    Satender Singh Feb 8, 2017 Link to comment

    Moto M has Helio processor. Now you can test and review it. MTK Helio P15 64-bit Processor

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