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The Samsung Galaxy S23 series is finally here, and one of the most exciting aspects of the series is that it will pack Qualcomm chipsets in all versions of the phone across the world. However, there's a twist; it's not just a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, it's a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy. It doesn't mean a lot, but we've been able to piece together most of the picture from the spec sheets Samsung shared with us.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy has an increased primary clock speed from 3.2GHz to 3.36GHz and an increased GPU clock speed from 680MHz to 719MHz. In essence, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy is what a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2 probably would have looked like. While last year's Plus variant was an exception in how much of a step-up it was above its predecessor, by and large, the "Plus" improvements are minute this time around. Typically, a small clock increment is par for the course, and that's exactly what the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy is.

For reference, the main difference between the Snapdragon 888 versus the Snapdragon 888+ was essentially that the Plus variant had a 155MHz higher clock speed. There were other small improvements, but by and large, the 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy is basically just a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2.

Will the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy be noticeably faster?

Green Samsung phone next t a bowl of lemons

Realistically, no. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy shouldn't be noticeably faster, though it may score slightly higher in benchmarks.

With such a small increase in peak performance, Samsung will likely be limiting the chipset's performance. Smartphones try their hardest not to hit the highest clock speeds possible because the power consumption as you ramp up the frequency is exponential. Higher frequency means even greater power consumption, which means OEMs are always trying to find the balance between performance and battery life.

It's unlikely that there's anything special about these chipsets besides being binned higher. They are likely the highest-performing Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipsets, but they've just been packaged up and rebranded as Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy since they can be stable while maintaining a higher clock speed than the rest of the pack.

Semantic Segmentation and DSP improvements

Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy also has a couple of other changes, though how tangible those will be remains to be seen. For starters, it's apparently the world’s first smartphone to use Snapdragon’s Cognitive ISP to enable real-time Semantic Segmentation to enhance images. Semantic Segmentation is where a deep learning model tries to identify objects in an image to understand what's happening, which may aid in processing.

On top of that, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy apparently has an upgraded Snapdragon Hexagon processor for better AI performance.

What happens to the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2?

This is where things get complicated, as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy is basically just what the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2 would probably have been. Qualcomm always releases a Plus variant (and has done for years), but I can see one of three things happening.

  1. Qualcomm skips the 8+ Gen 2 entirely
  2. The 8+ Gen 2 gets released, and it's similar to the 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
  3. The 8+ Gen 2 is even better than the 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy

I'm not sure which way the company will go, but the release of this particular chipset means that it's in a weird spot with a mid-cycle refresh that usually comes out in the middle of the year. We'll have to wait and see what Qualcomm does.

If you're considering pre-ordering a Samsung Galaxy S23 device, be sure to check out some of the best pre-order deals and best cases that you can already pick up.