Snapdragon power confirmed? Everything you actually need to know
Diehard Android fans may know that the current Samsung Galaxy S22 series is now past the halfway point of its reign as the company’s flagship. The next headline model from the mighty South Korean mobile manufacturer is almost certain to be the Galaxy S23. As was the case this year, we’d expect it come in (at least) three models: the S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra. Here’s everything we know so far, including all the latest Galaxy S23 specs, release date and price rumours.
Despite it still being early doors for the Galaxy S23 – to cut to the chase, it likely won’t launch until early 2023 – there’s plenty of excitement surrounding the upcoming handset. Some info looks pretty legit, other stories seem more tenuous, but interest around Samsung’s next premium offering increased recently with a flurry of gossip surrounding its use of a Snapdragon chipset.
Read on as we explain more and bring everything Samsung Galaxy S23 related together in one handy place.
If there’s one thing we can say with a small degree of certainty, it’s that the Galaxy S23 release window will fall in early-2023. More specifically, we’d predict the Galaxy S23 release date would be in February 2023.
Take a look at the last five Galaxy flagship release dates and you’ll see why.
Barring an anomaly in 2021 when the world was at peak Covid, Samsung has consistently released its new Galaxy S series in February each year. If we look even further back, there are a couple of March appearances as well, but no radical divergence from the pattern. The smart money is definitely on Q1 2023.
When it comes to the Galaxy S23 price, there are a lot of variables – namely if you’re after the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus, or Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Based on the S22 series, you’re looking at at least £769 for the base model and £1,149 or more if you want the super-sized, super-ritzy Ultra version. This is obviously only strictly relevant to this year’s phones, but similar costs can be expected for the next outing, barring any major change in Samsung’s strategy.
While we’re yet to see any truly convincing mock-ups of the Galaxy S23 line-up, the people making them may not have to work too hard: Twitter tipster Ice Universe has suggested the biggest difference between the S23 Ultra and S22 Ultra it replaces will be the radian of the curved sides. Thickness will reportedly be the same, and other design elements won’t stray too far either. That would line up with the rest of the phone world: Apple hasn’t mixed things up massively for the iPhone 14, and the Pixel 7 is a slight evolution of a design Google introduced the year before.
“Galaxy S23” pic.twitter.com/92czaLCKFc
The Galaxy S23 rumour mill gave us a potential glimpse of the future when Samsung officially announced its next-gen Universal Flash Storage 4.0 solution. UFS 4.0 will be roughly twice as fast as the company’s current UFS 3.1 storage, and with production by Samsung Semiconductor set to start in Q3 2022, it’s all lining up nicely for the new tech to potentially debut early next year on the Galaxy S23.
BREAKING: Samsung has developed the industry's highest performing Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 4.0 storage solution, which has received JEDEC® board of director approval. What is UFS 4.0 and what does it mean for the future of storage? Read on to learn more. pic.twitter.com/4Wxdu0J2PD
Also getting us psyched for next year’s Sammy flagship were industry reports that the Galaxy S23 Ultra could pack an upgraded 200MP camera. This would apparently come in the form of a new ISOCELL HP3 camera module, which should be pretty exciting given the existing HP1 lens can already do things like record in 8K and features advanced HDR.
According to Dutch rumour site Galaxy Club, we can expect the 10MP telephotos used in the current S22 range to make an appearance across the board for the new-generation phones. The S22 Ultra has a slightly different sensor (with larger pixels) to the ones used for the S22 and S22+, despite all three having the same pixel count, and that’s unlikely to change this year. There’s no word on whether the ultrawide cameras will also be recycled, or if Samsung has a different sensor planned. The S23 Ultra will apparently also get a 40MP front selfie cam.
The newest piece of camera info we can share also comes from Ice Universe. On 12 November, the leaker shared three images on social media site Weibo. These images have allegedly been taken on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy S22 Ultra and a Google Pixel 7 Pro.
The three images suggest that the Galaxy S23 Ultra will capture more detailed and richer images compared to the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Google Pixel 7 Pro. The Galaxy S23 Ultra also appears to saturate colours much more than the Google Pixel 7 Pro, but compared to the Galaxy 22 Ultra marks only a slight improvement.
Until we can get our hands on the Galaxy S23 Ultra it’s difficult to confirm whether the leak represents its final camera quality. That said, on first impressions, it’s easy to get excited about the potential upgrade.
The first major piece of gossip represented something of a bombshell: according to a Business Korea report, Samsung was mulling a switch to MediaTek’s next top-of-the-line processor for the S23 – a move which would see it ditch long-time chip supplier Qualcomm and its Snapdragon SoCs.
This report has subsequently been questioned by analyst Ming-chi Kuo, who has a stellar track record when it comes to tech leaks and rumours. Apparently Qualcomm is now the sole choice of SoC for the Galaxy S23 series, in part because Samsung won’t have anything home-grown to rival the upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset in terms of performance or power efficiency. Previous Exynos-powered devices have struggled with battery life and overheating issues – although Qualcomm’s current top-end chip hasn’t been immune from that either.
1. Qualcomm will likely be the sole processor supplier for Samsung Galaxy S23 (vs. 70% shipment proportion for S22) thanks to the next flagship 5G chip SM8550 made by TSMC 4nm.
The most recent rumour comes from leaker Ice Universe via 91Mobiles, suggesting Samsung has now settled on Qualcomm after all. The Galaxy S32 Ultra looks set for a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 CPU, which should arrive with eight cores and an Adreno 740 GPU, eclipsing anything else on the market. Qualcomm practically confirmed as such in a recent earnings call, saying it would have the “global share” of Galaxy S23 devices next year. It was responsible for around 75% of Galaxy S22 handsets in 2022, with the rest using home-grown Exynos CPUs.
We’ll have to wait for the final Galaxy S23 specs to break cover to see if this one turns out to be true – and whether Exynos will get a look-in at all.
Elsewhere, Twitter tipster Ross Young also claims to put to bed rumours that Samsung is set to debut a third foldable phone this year, with the Display Supply Chain Consultants CEO saying that the mystery device codenamed Project Diamond is in fact the S23.
We hear Samsung’s Project Diamond is the S23…Doesn’t look like a 3rd foldable device this year. But now we know what S23 is called internally…
The Galaxy S22 series was pretty impressive, with our 5-star Galaxy S22 Ultra review, in particular, running out of superlatives. However, there are a couple of tweaks Samsung could make next time out that would make a good product even better.
All of our Galaxy S22 appraisals were unanimous in saying that Samsung missed a trick by not including the option to expand storage in its latest Galaxy phones. With 5G rollout now gathering pace and large-display smartphones like the Galaxy S Plus and Ultra devices serving as a primary streaming device for many users, this need is only going to be greater next year.
The Galaxy S22 didn’t exactly lack a good battery – it was perfectly serviceable – it’s more that smartphones can never have a big enough battery, given the ever-increasing demands that are being placed on them. But shoving a bigger cell under the hood inevitably means making compromises on design, so what’s the modern handset hawker to do?
Super-fast charging is one solution, and at MWC 2022 we saw some pretty insane tech on display, not least on the Honor Magic 4 Pro, where 100W juicing allows it to go from flat to full in as little as 30 minutes. As far as compromises go, this is the best that’s on offer right now and we wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung had something similar in mind – at least for the more premium S23 Ultra.
Closely related to this, we’re getting a bit bored of smartphone manufacturers scrimping and refusing to bundle their fast-charging accessories with the handset. When you’re paying a grand or more for a new blower, you really shouldn’t need to buy accessories separately to use your device to its full potential.
It’s a pain in the arse at best, and just plain cheap at worst. Samsung’s far from the only guilty party here, but one of the big players needs to buck this unfortunate trend soon before it becomes another ‘new normal’ we suffer in silence.
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