The brain of Samsung’s new Galaxy S21 flagship series

The S21 series is powered by the Exynos 2100 processor, Samsung’s first 5G-integrated mobile chip. — Samsung

Electronics giant Samsung kicked off the new year with its new flagship series – the Galaxy S21.

At the heart of the trio of phones in the range – Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra – is the new Exynos 2100 processor built from the ground up using an advanced 5nm (nanometer) process.

This process lowers power consumption by up to 20% or increases overall performance by 10% compared to the previous processor that was built using the 7nm process, the company said in a statement.

The Exynos 2100 is also Samsung’s first 5G-integrated mobile processor, rated for a maximum downlink speed of up to 5.1Gbps (gigabits per second) when utilising sub-6GHz band and 7.35Gbps for mmWave, or up to 3.0Gbps for 4G networks.

The octa-core processor is made up of three clusters – a single powerful Arm Cortex-X1 core that runs at up to 2.9GHz, three high-performing Cortex-A78 cores and four power-efficient Cortex-A55 cores – claimed to deliver more than 30% extra performance than the previous processor.

The chip also has an integrated Arm Mali-G78, which supports the latest Vulkan and OpenCL APIs, improving graphic performance by more than 40% for immersive gameplay, especially for augmented/virtual reality titles.

The Exynos 2100’s image signal processor (ISP) supports camera resolutions of up to 200-megapixels, allowing it to smoothly handle the S21 Ultra’s 108-megapixel wide-angle camera.

The 108-megapixel camera uses the Samsung Isocell HM3 sensor, which is claimed to capture sharper and more vivid images in ultra-high resolution with faster autofocus and extended dynamic range.

“While a pixel is just a single dot of colour, when in millions these dots can be transformed into stunning snapshots of life,” said Duckhyun Chang, executive vice president of the sensor business at Samsung Electronics, in a statement.

“With more pixels, images are sharper, with fuller details that can maintain their integrity even when enlarged.”

To speed up autofocus, the HM3 has a number of tricks up its sleeve.

For instance, in mixed light environments, such as at the end of a tunnel, the HM3 adopts Smart ISO Pro, which simultaneously captures a frame in both high and low ISO, then merges them into a single 12-bit colour image with reduced noise.

As Smart ISO Pro does not require multiple-exposure shots to create a standard high-dynamic-range (HDR) image, it can reduce motion artifacts.

The HM3’s pixel layout is arranged in three-by-three single colour structures, making it suitable for “nine-pixel binning”.

This essentially lets it “merge nine neighbouring pixels”, allowing the 108-megapixel sensor to mimic a 12-megapixel sensor but with increased light sensitivity, ideal when taking photographs in low-light environments.

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