Samsung’s new phone is here and it’s already one of the best phones of the year. Along with a 200 megapixel main camera, 100x zoom and a giant 6.8-inch screen, the Galaxy S23 Ultra also has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that has a higher clocked cpu (3.36 GHz compared to 3.2 GHz) and a gpu that spins in 719 MHz compared to the standard chip’s 680MHz, as well as 12 gigabytes of working memory. That means it should be the fastest Android phone ever.
Test: Galaxy S23 Ultra – heavyweight with a lot of everything
But that doesn’t mean it’s the fastest phone ever. Apple’s chips have historically easily handled most of what Snapdragon has accomplished, but with a relatively small “speed bump” from the A15 to the A16, it seemed possible, even likely, that Qualcomm would finally catch up with Apple’s new iPhone.
Not quite, my dear Watson. In test results, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is thoroughly beaten by the A16 in the iPhone 14 Pro and the A15 in the iPhone 13 Pro, it can’t even keep up with the iPhone 12’s A14 in Geekbench’s single core test. The S23 does better in the tests with more cores, but despite more cores and working memory, it barely beats last year’s chip.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has an 8-core cpu while the A16 has a 6-core design. On the graphics side, Apple uses a 5-core gpu while Snapdragon has an Adreno 740 gpu. As you can see in the Wild Life benchmark above, the S23 Ultra really shines when it comes to graphics, and actually outperforms the A16 in 3D Mark’s Wild Life Extreme Unlimited test, which means mum for gamers.
It also shows how Qualcomm has prioritized graphics improvements with the Gen 2 chip. In the same test with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, it scored 2,577 points in Wild Life Extreme Unlimited, which means that the Gen 2 chip is more than 40 percent faster. Meanwhile, the A16 was a minor upgrade, being about 10 percent faster than the A15. While Apple has made great strides with the graphics processors in its Max and Ultra Mac chips, iPhone graphics have been virtually stagnant.
But when it comes to everyday performance, the S23 still trails the iPhone – a gap that’s likely to grow this year. While leaked Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 benchmarks show scores of 1,930 (single-core) and 6,236 (multi-core), both beating the A16, Apple is likely to take a huge performance leap with its 3nm A17 chip, when it launches in the iPhone 15. But S24 Ultra users will at least have a phone that beats the iPhone 13.
Translated and edited by Petter Ahrnstedt