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This exclusive Snapdragon chip supercharges the Galaxy S23 in 4 big ways

The Samsung Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus, and Galaxy S23 Ultra all use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor — but it’s not just any Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It’s the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy, and it’s a little different from the chip found in other, non-Samsung smartphones.

No, it’s not just a marketing gimmick for Samsung. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside a Galaxy S23 is different from than one that’ll be used in other Android phones throughout 2023. Here are four of the most important ways the processor changed, and what it means for the Galaxy S23.

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Power — lots and lots of power

Joe Maring holding a black Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy is the fastest Snapdragon processor ever made, according to the company. The CPU has a maximum peak clock speed of 3.36GHz, up from the 3.2GHz peak it claims for the regular version of the chip.

In an interview with Digital Trends ahead of the Galaxy S23’s launch, Samsung U.K. and Ireland’s vice president of product management, Nick Porter, talked about the difference this makes over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in the Galaxy S22:

“The upgraded performance driven by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy over the S22 is just incredible. We’re talking over 50% improved performance, over 40% increased CPU performance, and over 30% increased CPU performance when compared to the S22. So that means everything you do on the phone is going to be snappier, more responsive, more power efficient than ever before on the entire Galaxy S23 series.”

Samsung and Qualcomm’s efforts to maximize performance from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for the Galaxy S23 series goes beyond even that of Asus and Qualcomm, when the pair incorporated so-called “binned” versions of Snapdragon chips into ROG Phone gaming devices.

Made to be a gaming beast

Close-up shot of the selfie camera on the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s Adreno GPU has also been upgraded for improved performance and efficiency. Like other versions of the chip, it can display hardware-accelerated ray tracing effects, it supports the latest Vulkan APIs, plus it integrates an improved version of the Snapdragon Game Post Processing Accelerator.

Porter was very confident about the Galaxy S23 series’ potential as a winning gaming phone, and it’s not just the GPU improvements that are set to do this, it’s also the chip’s greater efficiency and a new cooling chamber in the Ultra:

“This is our first premium smartphone developed with mobile gaming at the forefront,” he said. “We’ve got a 2.7x larger vapor chamber in the S23 series, and the 5,000mAh battery is going to perform 20% longer than any of the batteries we’ve had in a Galaxy device. That means that when you’re running really challenging games, which are pushing the phones to the limit, we can run them at the highest resolution, at the fastest frame rate, for the longest time.”

Plenty of camera upgrades

A close-up shot of the cameras on the Samsung Galaxy S23.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 200-megapixel camera, along with the 50MP main cameras on the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, have all benefitted from Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy’s tight integration with the hardware.

This includes Snapdragon Sight, Qualcomm’s behind-the-scenes software solution for cameras, and the first use of the Snapdragon Cognitive ISP in a smartphone. These enhancements will improve lowlight and night photography, reduce noise in photos, and provide dramatically improved 30x and 100x zoom photos.

AI, connectivity, and security

The Samsung Galaxy S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra all next to each other.
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

Speed, camera, and gaming performance are always going to capture the headlines —  but there’s plenty more inside the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy that promises to make the S23 series a fast, usable, and reliable everyday phone. It has dual AI processors as part of the Qualcomm Sensing Hub, which helps isolate and remove background noise and echo during calls. The Qualcomm Fast Connect system works to provide fast Wi-Fi speeds, low latency, and better Bluetooth connections. Finally, under the display is Qualcomm’s acoustic 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 fingerprint scanner. There’s still no headphone jack, though.

We’ve already been impressed by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside the Iqoo 11, and early impressions of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, along with the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, are even more positive. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy may sound like marketing speak, but there really are meaningful alterations inside that are exclusive to the Galaxy S23 series — and they go beyond simply providing a slightly higher clock speed.

You can pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S23 now.

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