A crazy rumor emerged from Korea in May, claiming that Samsung would skip the release of the high-end Exynos processor in 2023 and 2024. That’s exactly the claim, as it means that the Samsung Galaxy S23 and S24 will exclusively use Qualcomm Snapdragon silicon.
Veteran analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has since partially echoed that claim, confirming that the Galaxy S23 is likely to use only the power of the Snapdragon. This would be a huge turn of events for Samsung, which has used the dual-sourcing approach of its flagship Galaxy S for years. But there are several reasons why this is a good thing.
Reason 1: One Galaxy flagship rules them all
Robert Treggs / Android Authority
Perhaps the most important argument in favor of the Snapdragon-only Galaxy S23 series is that it will give consumers one version, no matter where they bought the device.
Users in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa have traditionally received the Exynos variant – although only Europe got the Exynos Galaxy S22 this year. This was a huge drop in the years when Exynos chipsets were of lower quality, meaning consumers in these regions were getting a less powerful phone at a similar, if not higher, price.
Galaxy flagships powered by Exynos typically lag behind the Snapdragon variants in terms of horsepower and developer support.
Even when the Exynos variant was similar in terms of absolute power, Samsung’s chipset still lags behind in other areas, such as gaming support. We saw a clear example of this when Diablo Immortal was released, as it happened in the game Serious problems with Exynos modelsOstensibly due to a lack of developer support. This isn’t necessarily Samsung’s fault, but Qualcomm Silicon is usually a priority for many developers. Such issues are rare and are quickly fixed if they occur on a Snapdragon chip.
We’ve also seen slight differences between the Exynos and Snapdragon versions when it comes to photo and video quality. DXOMark Reports suggest that the Exynos Galaxy S22 Ultra has been outdone by the Snapdragon variant in most scenarios, video quality, and low-light telephoto quality.
So, just switching to Snapdragon silicon for the Galaxy S23 series means users in traditional Exynos territories will finally get the same phone for their money. And there doesn’t seem to be a better time to make that decision than now.
Reason 2: This could be a one-sided war in 2023
There is reason to suspect that the confrontation of Qualcomm and Exynos in 2023 will lead to a massive defeat for Silicon Samsung.
However, Qualcomm is returning to Taiwan’s TSMC to manufacture the latest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 – the mid-year update from the standard first-generation Snapdragon 8. But with a 30% increase in efficiency compared to the first generation standard 8 and a ~10% increase in CPU and GPU speed. The efficiency claim is particularly impressive because the company doesn’t usually emphasize it with mid-year chips. These gains mostly materialize in the real world as well, with ROG Phone 6 Pro delivering better benchmark results than Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phones most of the time.
All this indicates that TSMC offers superior manufacturing capabilities compared to the Samsung foundry. Moreover, various rumors point to this Qualcomm sticks with TSMC for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which will put it ahead for another year.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo echoed the same sentiments a few days ago, claim That Samsung may not adopt the Exynos 2300 for the Galaxy S23 because it can’t compete with the next generation Snapdragon SoC. He confirmed that the Exynos chips will be made on Samsung’s 4nm process, while the Snapdragon chips will be made on the TSMC 4nm process.
But could this just be a case of Qualcomm making better chipsets, rather than proving one manufacturer is superior to another? Well, we have another clue.
It’s widely accepted that the Galaxy S20 series was a low point for the Exynos line, with the Snapdragon 865 handily beating the Exynos 990 in benchmarks (particularly the GPU tests). It’s strange – or not – that Qualcomm’s chipset was made by TSMC at the time, while the Exynos 990 was made by Samsung.
This isn’t necessarily a smoke gun, but it looks like Samsung’s Exynos line could be in for a similar huge defeat if we get both Exynos phones and Snapdragon Galaxy S23 next year.
Reason 3: You don’t have to worry about feature parity
Robert Treggs / Android Authority
By going with the Snapdragon-only Galaxy S23 range, Samsung won’t have to worry about feature parity. We’ve seen it happen many times over the years when Samsung has to give up a great feature being offered in one variant because the other variant doesn’t support the same capability.
One notable example was the official Galaxy S8 series 4K/60fps recording loss Because Snapdragon 835 lacks it. Similarly, the Galaxy S10 series missed out on 8K recording despite its Exynos 990 support, because the Snapdragon 865 didn’t offer it. The Galaxy S22 series also appears to be missing 8K HDR functionality because the Exynos 2200 does not support it.
Samsung wouldn’t need to worry about feature parity if there was only one version to begin with. This also opens the door for the Galaxy maker to take full advantage of Snapdragon capabilities, such as 8K HDR recording.
Why skipping Exynos might be a cause for concern
Despite the many potential gains of the Galaxy S23 series only from the Snapdragon, there are still some potential downsides to such a move.
Perhaps the most pressing concern is the continuing shortage of global chips. The worst seems to be over for now, but the decision to use a single chipset means Samsung won’t have any flexibility if Qualcomm or TSMC run into production issues. Worst case scenario? Samsung may not be able to bring the Galaxy S23 series to some markets or these regions may receive limited stock.
Another potential concern for a Snapdragon-only future is that Samsung may see price pressure from Qualcomm. The Snapdragon maker could theoretically charge top dollar for these chips, putting pressure on Samsung to maintain its profit margins by increasing the cost of the Galaxy S23 range.
More Samsung coverage: Here’s why Exynos vs. Snapdragon is such a big deal
There’s also the possibility that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 could be a huge disappointment, leaving fans without an alternative model if they still want to stick with the Galaxy S23 range. Then again, smartphone makers tend to get their hands on chips early on, which gives them plenty of wiggle room to switch to an alternative processor if necessary. A clear precedent for this was the Galaxy S6 range: rumors swirled before that was launched Samsung dropped the Snapdragon 810 For Exynos 7420 due to overheating issues with Snapdragon silicon.
The Galaxy S23 series from Snapdragon can only prevent Samsung from implementing some advanced hardware features if the Snapdragon chip does not support them. We’ve already talked about Exynos chips that sometimes support some video quality options before their equivalent Snapdragon SoC offered them. But we’ve also seen Exynos silicon support features like AV1 decoding and hardware-based ray tracing before Snapdragon processors. Fortunately, the first appears to be the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 lock.
The benefits are likely to outweigh the negatives
Robert Treggs / Android Authority
Despite these concerns about the Galaxy S23’s Snapdragon-only range, it’s clear that there are many potential upsides for the situation.
First, consumers in Europe can finally get a phone with the same performance as models in other regions. This could also mean the same support for gaming and camera quality across all variants, as well as the same feature set without artificially falling back on a single variant.
Either way, it certainly looks like 2023 could be a very interesting year for Samsung smartphone fans. But there is hope that the rumors are true and that Samsung is already working on something great in 2025.