Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy outage: What’s different?

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy exclusively powers the Galaxy S23 series, but how is it different from the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2?

The Samsung Galaxy S23 series is finally here, and one of the most exciting things about the series is that it will feature Qualcomm chipsets in all versions of the phone across the world. However, there is a twist; it’s not just a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, it’s a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy. That doesn’t mean much, but we were able to piece together most of the images from the spec sheets Samsung shared with us.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy has increased main clock speed from 3.2 GHz to 3.36 GHz and increased GPU clock speed from 680 MHz to 719 MHz. Essentially, 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 that it was superior to its predecessor, overall , the “Plus” improvements are minimal 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 and the Snapdragon 888+ was basically that the Plus variant had a 155MHz higher clock speed. There were other small improvements, but overall the Galaxy 8 Gen 2 is basically just a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2.

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

Green Samsung phone next to a bowl of lemons

Realistically, no. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy shouldn’t be noticeably faster, although it might score slightly higher in the benchmarks.

With such a small increase in peak performance, Samsung will likely limit chipset performance. Smartphones do their best not to achieve the highest clock speeds possible because the power consumption as you increase 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.

There is unlikely to be anything special about these chipsets besides being grouped above. These are probably the most capable Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipsets, but they’ve just been packaged and rebranded as Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy because they can be stable while maintaining a higher clock speed than the rest of the pack.

Semantic segmentation and DSP improvements

Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy has a few other changes as well, but it remains to be seen how tangible these will be. 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 going on, which can aid in processing.

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

What happens to the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2?

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

  1. Qualcomm Skips Gen 2 8+ Completely
  2. The 8+ Gen 2 is coming out, 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 don’t know which direction the company will go in, but the release of this particular chipset means it’s in a weird place 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.

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