Leak shows next-gen Galaxy S21 isn’t even as fast as last year’s iPhone 11

Galaxy S21 Specs

  • Leaked benchmark scores for the Galaxy S21 indicate the smartphone will feature the new Snapdragon 888 processor that Qualcomm just unveiled.

  • The benchmark leak says the Galaxy S21 will not outperform the 2019 iPhone 11 phones, let alone the iPhone 12.

  • Samsung is widely expected to launch the Galaxy S21 series in early 2021, about a month earlier than expected.

Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 888 platform earlier this week, which will power many Android flagships next year that will compete directly with the iPhone 12 series. The US chipmaker said the CPU will be 25% faster and 25% more efficient than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, while the GPU will deliver 35% performance gains and a 20% drop in energy consumption. Qualcomm also mentioned several smartphone vendors that will use the Snapdragon 888 in the future, including LG, Motorola, and OnePlus. Notably absent from the list were Samsung, prompting speculation that Samsung might not use the 888 platform for some of its upcoming Galaxy S21 versions. Every Galaxy S version comes in Qualcomm and Exynos options.

A new benchmark leak indicates that the Galaxy S21 will run on the 888 next year. But the early scores also tell us that performance won’t match the iPhone 11, let alone the iPhone 12.

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The A14 Bionic inside the iPhone 12 series outperforms all 2020 Android phones in benchmarks and real-life speed tests. As seen in the following image, the iPhone 11 also scores much higher in Geekbench 5 than any of this year’s flagships, including Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy S20 handsets.

iPhone 12 Pro Speed Test
Geekbench 5 benchmark tests show the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are significantly faster than all 2020 Android phones. Image source: Tom's Guide

A Twitter user found an early Geekbench 5 test for the Galaxy S21, which lists single-core and multi-core scores of 1075 and 2916, respectively. The listing says the Galaxy S21 will pack 8GB of RAM and run Android 11. The Galaxy S21 Ultra will probably have more memory than the base model, but the processor specs will not be any different, whether it’s the Snapdragon 888 or the new Exynos chip.

The single-core performance is significantly below the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11, while the multi-core score is even lower than the Note 20 and S20. As with other phones, benchmark scores will not tell the entire story. Not to mention that we’re looking at early results for a device that’s not available commercially. The retail units will be further optimized and could perform better in benchmark and speed tests. And they’ll certainly be quite fast in real-life use.

On the other hand, the Galaxy S21 is expected to launch in early January, more than a month earlier than expected. If those rumors are accurate, Samsung must be in the final stages of development, and manufacturing must already be underway. The Galaxy S21 specs can’t possibly change too much at this point. The phone should reach stores by the end of January, according to the same rumors. We should see more benchmark test leaks for the S21 soon, including the Exynos version.

Real-life speed tests have shown that the iPhone 12 is faster than the Snapdragon 865 versions powering this year’s top Android phones. Apple also bumped the RAM on the Pro versions to 6GB, which is more than enough to make up for the only real advantage these Android handsets have in regular use speed tests. Also, iOS is optimized for running on Apple’s chips, as Apple controls everything in the process. Android handset makers have no control over Android or Qualcomm’s chips.

The Snapdragon 888 will be better in every way than its predecessor. The platform is faster, more energy-efficient, and will offer significant upgrades in the AI and camera departments. But the 888 won’t be the chip that will finally allow Qualcomm to threaten Apple’s dominance in the industry when it comes to silicon.