Samsung is bringing 5G to affordable, midrange phones with its latest Exynos processor.
The South Korean electronics giant announced its first 5G-integrated mobile processor, the Exynos 980. It’ll sport multi-mode capabilities — in other words, the chip will support 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G standards.
The processor will use an 8nm FinFET process and will have a hexa-core design with two high-performance Cortex-A77 cores and four Cortex-A55 efficiency cores. Further, it’ll have a Mali-G76 MP5 GPU.
The main differentiator here with the 980 compared to other 5G-capable chips like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 is that it has the 5G modem on the SoC. That means it’ll take up less space in the smartphone and it should reduce power consumption. MediaTek’s upcoming Helio 5G chipset with the M70 modem is the only other integrated chip in the same league as the 980.
Because the Exynos 980 sports a hexa-core structure and mid-tier GPU setup, it’ll likely be used in mid-range phones. However, while it isn’t as powerful as the octa-core Exynos 9820 used in Samsung flagships like the Galaxy S10 line (although not in Canada), the 980 is no slouch. It’ll be able to deliver 1Gbps download speeds on 4G LTE and up to 2.55Gbps on sub-6GHzz 5G spectrum — in other words, optimal conditions. Samsung also says the 980 supports dual 4G-5G connectivity, which can deliver speeds of up to 3.55Gbps.
However, for all that speed, the 980 lacks support for mmWave 5G spectrum, which is used by U.S. operators like Verizon and T-Mobile. In Canada at the time of writing, there are no broadly available 5G networks.
NPU, image processing and more
Further, the 980 includes a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) that promises up to 2.7 times better than its predecessor. It can handle on-device AI tasks more efficiently. It’ll also add application enhancements like secure user authentication, content filtering, mixed reality, intelligent camera tech and more.
The 980 also supports up to 108MP resolution images and up to five individual sensors on a device. It’s multi-format codec support encoding and decoding of 4K UHD video at 120fps. Comparatively, the Exynos 9820 and 9825 in the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 supports encoding and decoding of 8K video at 30fps.
Finally, the processor supports HDR 10+ with dynamic mapping. In other words, any supported video you watch will be fine-tuned on a scene-by-scene basis to produce better picture quality than regular HDR.
Samsung will put the Exynos 980 into mass production by the of the year, so the first phones sporting the processor will likely show up in 2020.
You can learn more about the new Exynos 980 on Samsung’s website.