Is the Galaxy S23 series better or worse than the competition?

In the logic of a smartphone manufacturer, selecting, ordering and assembling components for a new product is always

headache.This pain has nothing to do with the work of a sculptor who cuts off unnecessary parts from marble, focusing on his ideas of beauty and proportions. The same thing happens everywhere, designers bring a certain image of a finished smartphone, and then different “optimizers” get down to business, replacing reliable components with cheaper analogues. The reference point that saves both of them from unnecessary gestures is the reference (platform) from the chipset manufacturer, which limits even more severe savings. In essence, this is a motherboard with a typical set of components, with a simple and understandable logic for connecting external devices, such as a screen or speakers. Subsequently, before the mass production of a particular smartphone, it is also “optimized”, based on various parameters, where, along with the size and geometry of the future smartphone, logistics, availability on the market for purchasing screens with the necessary characteristics, etc. play their role.

In all this mess, the most stable elementfuture smartphone remains its smallest indivisible part - the chipset. As a result, the buyer of a future smartphone can be sure that, for example, the MediaTek G88 works approximately the same in all released smartphones, be it Xiaomi or Infinix. Yes, a manufacturer can save on RAM by installing a slower one, or on a cooling system, but, in general, a chipset with the same marking works equally and predictably in a smartphone of any brand. So it was before the advent of the new Samsung Galaxy S23 series, for which Qualcomm did something atypical for itself - it adapted and overclocked the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. So how does Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in Samsung Galaxy S23 series smartphones differ from the standard one? Samsung is not planning to use its Exynos chipsets in its flagship smartphone line this year, which means that when we talk about the performance of the Galaxy S23 base model, we are also talking about the S23 Plus and S23 Ultra.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy S23 series

Beyond the swanky new Samsung Dynamic displaysAMOLED 2X Infinity-O, reaching a peak brightness of 1750 nits and a frequency of up to 120 Hz, the Galaxy S23 series received an overclocked version of the chipsets called Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Nobody has yet disassembled this miracle under an electron microscope, so about the changes compared to the base model must be judged by outward appearances.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy has an increased3.2 GHz to 3.36 GHz base clock for the CPU and an increase from 680 MHz to 719 MHz for the graphics chip. In fact, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy corresponds to the as yet unannounced Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Plus (or Pro) chipset, as the slightly higher clock speed is the main difference between Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Gen 1 Plus. Another thing is important - Samsung wanted to get a faster Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 than its competitors, which means that the system software (shell, etc.) was adapted at the design stage. The results of the reliable Geekbench multi-platform test app confirm expectations, Samsung Galaxy S23 ranks first in single stream performance:

Surprisingly, in the multi-threaded Galaxy S23 testit loses a little (about 0.5-1%) to its competitors based on the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. However, this difference may also indicate that the test application is not ready for modern chipsets. The Qualcomm website is closed to Russians as part of unfair competition and political struggle, so I had to visualize why the chipset clock speed was increased, perhaps its microcode was changed and / or the Qualcomm driver for the graphics chip was rewritten, which together allowed us to show better results in chipset tests Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in the 23rd Galaxy series.


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Multiple Semantic Segmentation

We have been raising the topic of computer vision for many years,which means the identification of graphical objects (using a neural network that performs calculations at the forefront), their distances, their boundaries, colors, and so on. In other words, we are talking about digital vision, similar to human. And all indications are that the Galaxy S23 series may be the first in the world to bring this useful feature to the real-time video shooting process. Let me remind you that such processing has existed on the market for a long time, but only when photographing. The introduction of AI processing into the filming process speaks of the hypothetical beginning of the death of the "green background", which is used to create special effects. In the Snapdragon hardware world, this means using Cognitive ISP (to enable a real-time semantic segmentation algorithm to improve the frame image) and an upgraded Snapdragon Hexagon processor to speed up AI calculations. This is what Qualcomm has shared with the public. The end result should be something similar to the demo video from ArcSoft, which adapted its computer vision algorithms for the regular Snapdragon 8 Gen 2:

It is currently unclear whether the company is implementingSamsung fully functional Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in the Galaxy S23 series specifically for video shooting or for now will stop at the process of photographing. In any case, this is a clear progress, which, perhaps, will make the process of photography really instant, which everyone has been dreaming of for so many years. You can't fool the optics, but even with a conventional mobile camera, the results should be better than without the use of modern digital technologies.

Gaming Performance Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy

On the one hand, increased CPU and GPU frequencieswill definitely affect the gaming performance of the smartphone, leveling FPS and excluding microfreezes during the gameplay. On the other hand, I can’t remember a single mobile game that could load its predecessor, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (if you don’t take into account game console emulators). But, as they say, nothing lasts forever under the moon, fashionable features come to smartphones from their older brothers - specialized devices in the face of gaming computers and consoles. The most fashionable of these today is the intelligent processing of shadows, called "ray tracing" (Ray tracing).

The first true ray tracing for smartphones was shown by Oppo in 2022 in a dynamic wallpaper app running on the Dimensity 9000 inside the Find X5 Pro:

A new direction in the development of "competitiveadvantages” were immediately picked up by rivals, including Qualcomm. Here's how ray tracing works on the original Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset in Justice Mobile:

Alas, not without incidents. The older Exynos 2200 chipset used in the Galaxy S22 series shows less critical FPS dips in the popular Basemark in Vitro ray tracing test:

Does this mean that smartphone ownersSamsung Galaxy S23 series and analogues will not get superiority over the earlier ones? Not at all, because Ray Tracing technology for smartphones and tablets is in its infancy. The number of games that use this technology is limited, and the tests themselves are still in their raw state. On February 1, 2023, at the Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung showcased content developed in collaboration with Epic Games:

Of course, using Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.From this it follows that you should not pay attention to outdated chipsets, they are unlikely to receive new system software (including drivers), and the aspirations of all developers will be focused on current and newer hardware equipment. A fly in the ointment in this barrel of honey is traditional - all this is paid for by the consumer who buys not only flagships, but also the simplest phones. Against this background, one involuntarily comes up with the idea that such technologies in the final product are still available only to really well-to-do consumers, who probably don’t play very much and are unlikely to appreciate it.

Another factor in gaming performanceis energy efficiency, which directly affects the amount of game time spent by the player before the battery runs out. With the Galaxy S23 series, Samsung has introduced new performance modes in addition to the old power saving mode. While Power Saving Mode adjusts screen brightness and limits CPU speed to 70%, the new Standard and Light modes offer finer settings. According to well-known tester Golden Reviewer, who lives and works on YouTube and Twitter (and has also invested in expensive hardware), the Galaxy S23 Cortex-X3 core frequency drops from 3.36 GHz to 2.84 GHz in Light mode. Its performance also drops, following the clock speed, from 60.86 points to 55.12 in the SPECint2006 test. Interestingly, in Light mode, the power consumption of the smartphone is reduced from 4.90 W to 2.97 W, while peak performance is reduced by only 10%. For this simple reason, the consumer-gamer, who is far from the outlet, has only two options: play in Light mode or carry a powerbank with him.


Speaking of photo competitors, you can not ignorecompanies Xiaomi and Vivo, which have focused on the inch sensor in the field of photo and video shooting. In this case, the significance of the program processing of the frame to a large extent loses its meaning. When it comes to gaming performance, the Galaxy S23 series doesn't stand out from the competition. Ray tracing has not yet become a decisive factor in choosing a gaming smartphone, and in heavy games like the Genshin Impact Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, as well as the flagship MediaTek 9000+ series, they show confident 55+ with extremely rare drawdowns up to 40 frames per second.


The Samsung Galaxy S23 series came out very recently and inthe course of the updates will surely present us with new surprises, both positive and negative. But the overclocked Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which is installed in the entire Galaxy S23 line (and practically destroys the memory of Exynos chipsets), is a clear advantage over the company's previous smartphones, not only in performance, but also in reputation, given this among gamers.

We, friends, have to discussthe next question is: do Samsung flagships stand out from the competition at the current time? Alas, there are no obvious advantages, these are well-balanced flagships, without obvious flaws, but also without the wow effect. The situation may be corrected by updates, but we cannot know for sure. The overclocking dances are most likely of a marketing nature, because in practical life there is no reason to switch the Light mode to Standard, everything works at the level of other flagships anyway. Write your opinion if you see fit.