No eight-core chip for UK Galaxy S4 smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S4You know the eight-core Exynos 5 Octa processor? The one everyone has been thinking is sitting inside the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone? Well, it’s not going to be fitted to the UK version, despite almost all reports – including ours – and several press releases saying it would.

Instead of the Exynos 5 Octa, the UK Galaxy S4 will get a 1.9GHz quad-core processor, which is expected to be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600. On the surface this sounds like quite a step down, but in reality it probably won’t make all that much difference. The reason is, although the Exynos chip has eight-cores, it uses a system called big.LITTLE, where only four cores are ever used at once. It’s a process designed to provide lots of power when needed, but save energy by using a smaller processor for easier tasks.

Of course, we won’t know the true impact of the processor switch until both are tested alongside each other, and that won’t come until after release. So why has Samsung made this alteration? It hasn’t said, but it seems to be to do with 4G connectivity.

While confirming the quad-core chip, Samsung also confirmed the Galaxy S4 would be a 4G phone in the UK. We can take this to mean it’ll be compatible with all networks – not just EE – ready for them to come online later this year. This could explain the necessity for the Qualcomm chip, as it has wider 4G LTE compatibility than Samsung’s Exynos chip.

So, there’s a reason for everything, but will the lack of an eight-core chip affect your decision to buy the Galaxy S4?

About Andrew Boxall

Andy's fascination with mobile tech began in the 90s, at a time when SMS messages were considered cutting edge, but it would be at least a decade before he would put finger-to-keyboard as a freelance tech writer. In the interim he wrote about travel, formulated strong opinions about films and drove a series of audacious cars
  • st0815

    I like this device a lot, I may end up buying it this year. However the potential for power-saving with the Octa is very interesting. I think I’ll wait until the Octa is out and proper tests have been made.