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Samsung’s Exynos-powered mid-range phones don’t seem to be as optimized as those with Snapdragon chips

Opinion
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Last updated: April 18th, 2017 at 20:56 UTC+01:00

Over the last few weeks, I’ve used two of Samsung’s mid-range phones as my primary device. The Galaxy A7 (2017) came first, followed by the recently launched Galaxy C7 Pro. In terms of overall specs, both are packed with features that we wouldn’t have expected on Samsung devices in the same price range only a year or so ago. But after using the two phones back to back, I’ve come to realize that Samsung’s in-house Exynos chips might not be as optimized as equivalent Snapdragon chips from Qualcomm.

The Galaxy A7 (2017) and Galaxy C7 Pro are powered by the Exynos 7880 and Snapdragon 626, respectively. The names might be different, but the two chips are similar in their underpinnings. Both are made on the 14 nm process and have eight Cortex-A53 cores. The only major difference is the GPU, and the Snapdragon 626 is also clocked at a higher 2.2 GHz while the Exynos 7880 runs at 1.9 GHz. Okay, so the lesser clock speed on the Exynos (and one less gig of RAM) might explain why the A7 (2017) isn’t as fast as the C7 Pro, but it doesn’t explain why the A7 (2017) has major performance hiccups in day-to-day usage for a device that costs 400 Euro.

The A7 (2017), or at least my unit, seems to be unable to cope with simple tasks such as switching between apps and even moving back from an app to the home screen without a few stutters and hangups, and I got tired enough of the performance issues that I decided to move back to my S7 edge within a week. Then came the C7 Pro, which I’ve been using for a week or so at this point, and the performance on this thing is worlds apart from what I saw on the A7.

There are next to no stutters or freezes on the C7 Pro, and it feels like a much more optimized device despite carrying a similar price tag. Again, I know the Snapdragon 626 is clocked higher and the C7 Pro has 4 GB of RAM while the A7 has 3GB, but I don’t think those numbers should matter all that much in this day and age. To me, it feels like Samsung didn’t optimize the Exynos 7880 enough, and maybe it was because the company was hoping that features like water resistance would make people ignore the fact that the most basic aspect of the phone lacks in user experience?

The A7 is certainly a mid-range great phone, and it’s not exactly bad when it comes to software performance, either. It’s just that for the money you pay for it, you might not find its performance satisfactory, especially if you go from using the A7 (2017) to using the C7 Pro like I did. I had thought that the Exynos 7880’s focus on efficiency was the reason the A7 doesn’t perform that great, but the C7 Pro tells me the problem might lie in how well Samsung has optimized the chip, either generally or particularly for the A7 (2017). That’s something the company needs to change, and soon, given how its flagship Exynos chips have been doing so well.

Have you noticed performance issues on your Galaxy A7 (2017)? Are you satisfied with its performance, or do you not care because of all the useful features (like the strong battery life and water resistant design) offered by the phone?

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