Snapdragon 821 vs Exynos 8890 vs MediaTek Helio X25 vs Kirin 960

As it is the end of the year we are going to be looking at the best mobile CPU that we have seen. This is going to be a showdown between the Snapdragon 821, Exynos 8890, MediaTek Helio X25 and Kirin 960. As of right now, these are the competitor products from Qualcomm, Samsung, MediaTek and Huawei respectively.

Core Count

This year octa-core processors were all the hype and they brought a lot of power to mobile devices in terms of multitasking. The Snapdragon 821 has 4 cores while the Exynos 8890 has 8 cores same as the Kirin 960. The MediaTek Helio X25, on the other hand, is on top with 10 cores.


When it comes to mobile GPUs there are 3 major players in the market; ARM, Qualcomm and Imagination. ARM GPUs are branded as Mali and can be found in the Exynos 8890 and Kirin 960. Qualcomm GPUs are branded as Adreno and can be found in the Snapdragon 821 and the 820. Imagination has its PowerVR range but this year no SoC had this GPU. It is hard to compare these GPUs based on specifications, the real test is running 3D games.

Snapdragon 821

Snapdragon 821

This is the top of the line 64-bit CPU from Qualcomm. In essence, this is a revision of the Snapdragon 820. This is more efficient and saved upt0 5% power, it is also up to 10% faster. When it comes to functions and capabilities both of these CPUs are on par with one another.

Exynos 8890

Snapdragon 821

This CPU can be found in Samsung’s flagship smartphones. Exynos 8890 is a 64-bit octa-core CPU. The clock speeds for this CPU are 2.3 and 2.6 GHz. It also features an ARM Mali-T880 MP12 GPU to provide graphics horsepower. The four Cortex A53 cores are the power efficient cores, the four Samsung cores provide the grunt needed for intense applications.

MediaTek Helio X25

Snapdragon 821

The X25 has the most cores out of the lot. Here we are looking at a 10 core mobile CPU. There are two core clusters, the high-end CPU cluster and the low power cluster. The low power cluster comes into play when the user is not doing anything stressful. the high-end cluster comes into play when multitasking or gaming. According to the company:

“Much like adding gears to vehicles, dividing the cores into three clusters provides a more efficient allocation of tasks for optimum performance and extended battery life,”

The GPU here is the Mali-T880 clocked at 850MHz. This is also what you get in Samsung devices but with a different implementation.

Kirin 960

Snapdragon 821

This CPU from Huawei features 8 cores. The new Mali-G71 GPU is used for better, faster performance so that the CPU can handle multitasking as well as gaming applications without breaking a sweat. The GPU offers 20% power saving and 40% better performance as compared to previous versions.


We have learned to far that the mobile CPUs of 2016 are much better than what we saw in 2015. It is possible that we will be getting something even better next year. The move to 14nm has helped CPU makers to get more out fo CPUs without affecting battery performance. While the X25 does manage to perform well it is no match for the rest of the lot in general. When it comes to raw performance the Kirin 960 is the best of the lot. If you want to check out benchmarks and statistics you can do so here.