We were a bit disappointed when we found out that the Galaxy Nexus wasn’t going to use the Exynos 4210 processor despite the fact that Samsung was going to be manufacturing the device. Instead, Google opted to use the Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 processor in their latest flagship phone. So the big question a lot of people have been asking is: Which one is better?
When you look at the spec sheet of a phone that uses the Exynos processor, like the Samsung Galaxy S2, and compare it to the Galaxy Nexus, you won’t notice much of a difference. Both processors are clocked at 1.2 GHz and are using the ARM Cortex A9 architecture. But when you take a closer look, there are some major differences. Here are two of the more important ones:
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): One of the biggest drawbacks of the TI OMAP 4460 processor is that it comes with the PowerVR SGX540 GPU. For those of you that don’t know, that’s the same GPU used in last year’s Nexus S. We find this to be really disappointing, even though the GPU has been overclocked to 384 MHz (up from 200 MHz). The Exynos on the other hand comes with the newer and more powerful Mali-400 GPU which is second only to the iPhone 4S’ Power VR SGX543MP2.
Clock Speed: It may seem a bit strange that we are saying one of the biggest differences between these two processors is clock speed when they’re both at 1.2 GHz. But in this case, we’re not talking about out of the box clock speed, we’re talking about potential clock speed.
The Exynos 4210’s clock speed was meant to be at 1.2 GHz. The TI OMAP 4460, on the other hand, was actually meant to run at a clock speed of 1.5 GHz. In other words, the 4460 is under clocked to 1.2 GHz (to save battery life). This means that, with some modifications, the OMAP 4 processor will be able to run at 1.5 GHz without a hiccup (other than less battery life of course).
So which processor wins in the end? Each of these processors has its own set of pros and cons, but ultimately we think the TI OMAP 4460 is the better option for your next smartphone. Why? It’s certainly not because the 4460 is a clear winner hardware wise (in fact we think it’s the other way around), but it’s because the software side of things in Android Ice Cream Sandwich have been and will continue to be optimized for it.