At its Unpacked event last week, Samsung made some bold promises regarding the performance of its Galaxy S23 series phones. The company made quite some ballyhoo about the slightly faster trim of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen chip that is exclusive to these phones, touting a 41% gain in graphics performance.
Samsung proclaimed that “the most significant improvement is the optimized GPU which is approximately 41% faster,” adding that “the GPU architecture has been enhanced for performance and efficiency.” However, the more significant claim was about the reworked vapor chamber cooling system, which is fitted inside all three phones and “is now larger than before.”
Leaker Ice Universe also shared schematics of the bigger vapor chamber architecture fitted inside the Galaxy S23 trio, which replaces the thermal system at the heart of the Galaxy S22. Above is the official illustration — purportedly depicting the vanilla S23 or its Plus trim — on the Unpacked stage.
Why go big?
Now, a larger vapor chamber system is needed inside the
Here’s how Samsung imagines the difference created by
Faster CPU cores, a beefier GPU, and an added ray-tracing module would mean more heat is generated inside that glass and metal chassis. The best way to handle that extra heat would be to offer more vertical space under the hood in order to keep things from getting toasty. That didn’t happen.
If you compare the dimensions of the
The company is hyping its latest flagships with claims of offering “the most powerful gaming experience yet.” And thanks to the larger vapor chamber cooling system, all that gaming potential will supposedly be realized without making the phone breathe fire out of its vents.
In fact, the launch event’s host promised “a PC-like gaming experience.” Now, I don’t personally agree with that analogy, but an efficient vapor chamber cooling system does make a tangible difference, especially during demanding tasks like playing high-end games or recording 4K videos.
Samsung has done a really good job with its vapor chamber cooling solutions in the past, even though the company has always been modest about the gaming chops of its camera-centric flagships. I extensively tested the
I am expecting nothing less from the Galaxy S23 Ultra this year. However, I am more excited for the smaller
Of course, it’s challenging to keep the smaller model running as cool as its Ultra sibling under the same kind of load, but it would be interesting to see if Samsung’s engineers have truly managed to accomplish the unthinkable.
Samsung’s atoning for the sins of its past
When I tested the
But there was another performance-related scandal that soon exploded into a full-fledged lawsuit in Samsung’s home market. Last year, it was discovered that Samsung was intentionally slowing down its Galaxy S22 flagships without proper disclosure.
At the heart of the issue was its Game Optimization Service — an in-house app that discreetly ran in the background to optimize the phone’s performance and battery life, while also keeping the rising internal temperature in check. Some synthetic tests found that the
Samsung eventually accepted that its phone did engage in throttling for thousands of apps, all in the name of regulating the temperature and ensuring consistent performance. The company soon added a performance mode to its Game Booster app, which allowed users to tap into the processor’s full potential.
It would be interesting to see how the larger vapor chamber cooling system is going to keep things chill without compromising on the raw performance. The Digital Trends team has already started testing the
We will be putting Samsung’s claims to the test with extensive gaming tests and assess whether the enhanced vapor chamber cooling system actually yields any generation-over-generation gains. Stay tuned for the review coming soon. Meanwhile, check out this excellent explainer of how a vapor chamber cooling system works inside a phone, complete with tons of nerdy stats.
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